Who Would Win in a Dinosaur Battle Royale? | #parenting

For a recent series on the state of play, we asked Nicholas St. Fleur, a science writer and dinosaur lover, for a guide to playing with dino-obsessed kids. As an added bonus, he gave us this handy cheat sheet to just how all our children’s toys stack up against each other.


If you need pointers for how to conduct a toy dinosaur battle, I have provided subjective ratings for how deadly some popular prehistoric combatants from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods might be. Of course, the ultimate weapon is your child’s imagination, but here are some tips to help you have fun with the fights.

PREHISTORIC power level: 10/10

With its razor-sharp teeth and muscular body, T. rex reigns supreme in the dinosaur battle ring. Its powerful bite could generate between 8,000 to 12,000 pounds of force, said Evan Johnson-Ransom, a vertebrate paleontologist completing his master’s degree at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. Bones exploded between its powerful jaws and so would many of its foes. T. rex would win most of its matches against foes like Triceratops and could eat smaller dinosaurs, like Velociraptor, with ease. But it would struggle against large herbivores like the sauropods and probably didn’t try to mess with the armored Ankylosaurus.

PREHISTORIC power level: 10/10

No one could mess with the largest group of these long-necked dinosaurs, the titanosaurs. Some were more than 80 feet long and could weigh more than an estimated 60 tons. You could imagine a giant swing of its tail sending would-be predators flying.

PREHISTORIC power level: 9/10

The definition of a tank. Most predators would be hard pressed to penetrate its thick, spiky hide. “Some of them evolved a tail club, this sort of ball of bone at the end of a very stiff tail, kind of like a sledgehammer,” said Victoria Arbour, Ph.D., a paleontologist at the Royal B.C. Museum in Canada.

PREHISTORIC power level: 8/10

The classic rival to T. rex, this prehistoric beast could gore an attacker with its three sharp horns. It would have given T. rex a challenge and bully most other dinosaurs that stood in its way.

PREHISTORIC power level: 7/10

This chunky herbivore grew to more than 20 feet long and some weighed more than 3,500 pounds. It had plates lining down its back, but what made it a lethal adversary were the spikes on its tail, collectively known as a thagomizer.

PREHISTORIC power level: 5/10

This dinosaur is famous for its bone-hard dome. Some paleontologists think it used its spiky head to smash into rivals, like a prehistoric ram. Others say it was used to attract mates. It was much smaller than T. rex and would probably lose in a battle.

PREHISTORIC power level: 5/10

Counter to what you saw in the films “Jurassic World” and “Jurassic Park,” velociraptors were probably around the size of a Thanksgiving turkey. The movie raptors more closely resembled Deinonychus, which were larger and shredded prey with their sickle-shaped claws. For the purpose of playing with your kid, let’s say these scrappy feathered carnivores hunted in packs, which is debatable, too. With agile bodies and sharp claws, a group of them could probably overwhelm larger herbivores. But they would probably get clobbered by ankylosaurs, titanosaurs and T. rex.

PREHISTORIC power level: 4/10

These big, duck-billed plant eaters were the cows of the Cretaceous. They will probably be the easiest prey for your kid’s carnivores. Though sometimes during skirmishes with T. rex, they made it out alive, for paleontologists have found a T. rex tooth lodged in a healed wound on a hadrosaur’s tail.


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