From time to time, paleontologists discover dinosaurs so strange that some of them seem like a bad joke. Evolution has really tried different development paths, and giant lizards turned out to be a dead-end branch. But that’s fine because today, professional paleontologists can dig them up and make educated guesses about feathers, scales, and all that cool stuff. While 90% of the discovered species probably all looked badass, there were also the “ugly ducklings,” so to speak.
There are the top 8 weirdest dinos that had ever roamed the world:
This baby lived in the late Triassic period — the time when there were more deadly animals on Earth than in Australia and the Middle East combined. That’s why small dinosaurs and reptiles had to learn to hide in order not to be eaten. Although, being stealthy with such a contraption on the back is very problematic. Scientists suggest that the spikes allowed the Longisquama to glide through the air, jumping from trees, but let’s be honest — going downwards is not the best way to escape the predators.
The Halszkaraptor, named after the Polish paleontologist Halszka Osmólska, really looks like a goose or a duck who had some fun time with a lizard. This funny-looking hybrid was able to live on land and in water, further confirming my theory about a time-traveling goose.
Discovered in China, this small raptor had the strangest set of front limbs. Nicknamed “Hu Yao Ming’s dragon,” Epidexipteryx’s arms had these elongated fingers, which the dino probably used to scoop out bugs from the ground.
This small death-chicken from China lived in the Early Cretaceous period, 125-120 million years ago. Microraptor was one of the tiniest and possibly cutest-known dinosaurs, reaching 50-70 cm in length and weighing about 1 kg. It is also one of the most common non-avian dinosaurs found in Liaoning province. Well-preserved Microraptor fossils provide important evidence for an evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.
Sinornithosaurus is the first-ever discovered dinosaur with a venomous bite. Based on the peculiarities of its structure, the Sinornithosaurus was a feathered predator who most likely hunted medium-sized representatives of the ancient fauna.
We finally have a Jurassic boy, and it’s a weird one. Camptosaurus was a herbivorous, peaceful dinosaur, usually walking on two hind legs. This bulky fella had short arms like he’s trying to touch the ground all the time but can never reach it.
The Saurornithoides were a group of smart birdlike dinosaurs. Their brain size seems to indicate that they were almost as smart as modern emus and definitely smarter than today’s reptiles. They used their big brains to coordinate actions during the hunt, especially when tracking small and agile animals such as Mesozoic mammals. This also could mean that these clever reptiles could take care of their offspring by grazing them as ostriches and emus do today.
8. Dracorex hogwartsia
Dracorex hogwartsia lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous era. As you can see, that’s no ordinary dino name. The name Dracorex hogwartsia was given to the fossil by a group of schoolchildren who noticed the resemblance of the Dracorex’s skull to dragons and remembered the famous school of magic from the Harry Potter series — Hogwarts. And besides, it looks crazy!