Are Dinosaurs Actually Chicken?

Without realizing it (atleast for me), our understanding of dinosaurs is highly influenced by Hollywood instead of paleontologists. A lot has been uncovered since the release of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster. From how they looked, behaved and even sounded.

So I decided, what better way to spend a Sunday than to answer some questions I’ve had about dinosaurs by doing very minimum research.

Little note, I am no dinosaur expert. I wasn’t the kid who knew every dinosaur species — and I still don’t. So please take in the information with a grain of MSG. All the information that you’re about to read was written by a guy who had nothing to do on a Sunday.

And because I really only know one species of dinosaurs, in this article, I’m talking more specifically about the big boy, Tyrannosaurus Rex a.k.a T-Rex a.k.a Tyrone a.k.a T-bone a.k… I should stop.

How did dinosaurs sound like?

Like every other kid, my favourite dinosaur was the T-rex. Yes, it had small arms and probably had no choice but to skip arm day at the gym, but it was the poster boy of dinosaurs. Tyrannosaurus Rex literally translates to “king of the tyrant lizards”.

How this question came about was when I read an article stating that chickens are the closest decendants to the T-rex. You read that right. T-rex are more closely related to chickens than other reptiles such as crocodiles.

So did the T-rex actually said “Rawr xD”? Did they go around clucking cockle-doodle-do before they ate their preys?

As amusing as that sounds, they didn’t. The original T-rex roar from the movies was made by Gary Rydstrom, a sound designer from Skywalker Sound. He decided to use real life animals making weird sounds and mashing them up. A baby elephant screaming AAAA and running away mixed in a pot with sounds from crocodiles and tigers mashed together became the iconic T-rex roar that we are all familiar with.

However, based on studies made, by studying the outline of hearing organs of the T-rex, researches discovered that the T-rex probably didn’t roar. Instead it was more of a low frequency, bassy hum that could be heard and felt. These researchers also stated that the T-rex might have sounded like, wait for it, the Jaws theme. Obviously not in terms of melody (although that would be funny and scary) but in terms of pitch.

In truth, no one actually knows how they sounded like and the only way to actually confirm this is probably by reverse engineering a chicken’s DNA. For me personally, I still think they cluck.

How did they actually look like?

Have you ever experienced a failure so bad that 22 years later you’re still thinking about it? I have. It was when attempted to colour a T-rex as a six year old. Grey was the obvious first choice. Then I remembered that it was also sort of brown, oh no wait, there was a hint of green under the sun and at sunset it was kind of purple-ish. What I ended up with was basically a black T-rex.

In the movies, Steven Spielberg purposely chose dinosaurs to be sort of greyish-brownish-greenish to make them look scary. In actuality, Jack Horner, the paleontologist adviser from all the Jurassic Park movies, said that this depiction was far from reality.

The real T-rex was more likely to be colourful and had feathers like their close relatives, birds. Some scientists even believed that an adult T-rex rocked a mullet of feathers on its head, neck and tail. I imagine they also listened to David Bowie on their days off.

“It’s possible that it had feathers, was pink, and danced to attract mates,” Horner once said in an interview. Reminds you of a certain dinosaur?

What did they taste like?

From questioning how they sounded like, I went down a rabbit hole which spiraled to the question, “When I’m eating my nasi lemak ayam goreng, am I basically eating nasi lemak T-rex goreng?”

Short answer, no but also yes.

Among the factors that determines the flavor of meat of an animal goes down to its eating habits and its behavior. Scientists speculate that T-rex tasted closer to poultry rather than beef. Though chickens are considered poultry, since T-rex are carnivorous, they would have tasted more like carnivorous birds — such as hawks. How does hawk taste like? I have no idea, but probably not as tasty as chickens due to their all-meat diet.

However! We CAN call chicken nuggets, dinosaur nuggets because basically all birds are dinosaurs but not all dinosaurs are birds. Although you can’t say that you’re eating nasi lemak T-rex, you can still say nasi lemak dinosaur.

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