How Many Dino Fingers Do You See?

My son Alton is interested in dinosaurs, so he is starting to collect various dinosaur toys. Needless to say, as far as accurate representations go, most of them are far from being museum-quality models. But as a father I am fine with that; after all, they are toys.

However, there is one pet peeve that I just can’t leave alone and that is the gross misidentification of the large theropods. Never mind that there are several dozen kinds of them and that they lived in different times across a span of 150 million years, the most popular one has got to be Tyrannosaurus.

Now, out of my son’s dinosaur toy collection, he has five large theropods and they are all pretty much unidentified save one. That one is the one from Toy Story and his name is Rex. And, of course, he is supposed to be Tyrannosaurus rex. But is he really?

No, he is not. Rex is not a Tyrannosaurus rex because each of his hands has three fingersTyrannosaurus had only two fingers on each hand.

So I decided to play a game with Alton called Tyrannosaurus or Allosaurus? Now, I realize that Allosaurus lived in the Late Jurassic (about 150 million years ago) and that Tyrannosaurus lived in the Late Cretaceous (about 65 million years ago) and was heavier, but they are both roughly the same size and body type.

Tyrannosaurus or Allosaurus?
Three fingers. Allosaurus.

Tyrannosaurus or Allosaurus?
Three fingers. Allosaurus (even though his name is Rex).

Tyrannosaurus or Allosaurus?
Two fingers. Tyrannosaurus.

Tyrannosaurus or Allosaurus?
Two fingers, again. Tyrannosaurus.

Tyrannosaurus or Allosaurus?
Three fingers. Another Allosaurus.

If you are interested in additional information about dinosaurs, the Natural History Museum in London has a wonderful dinosaur website.