The Land prior to Time was never ever intended to be a scientific document. Yet as a foundational message of dinosaur fanatics everywhere, that doomed to perpetual scrutiny. Currently that the original trilogy of movies is top top Netflix, former five-year-olds who have, friend know, learned stuff due to the fact that then will see the stories through fresh eyes, and hopefully catch some wild inaccuracies that regulated to slip with Universal Studios’ certainly intense fact-checking virtually three years ago.

You are watching: Is littlefoot a boy or girl spoke with two former youngsters — now skilled dinosaur professionals — about what the movies acquired wrong around the land prior to time. (It need to be noted that, while each of them could certainly write a list of factual missteps as lengthy as a titanosaur’s tail, lock both to be of the opinion that informing a great dinosaur story that youngsters can attach with beats the hell the end of gaining all the small details simply so.)


Littlefoot would certainly Never have actually Known His Mother

‘The Land before Time’ divides pets into types, and also our protagonist Littlefoot is a longneck, or in the scientific parlance, a sauropod. The totality premise of the franchise is the Littlefoot loses his mom to a fight with a sharptooth and his grandparents in one earthquake, leave him to fend for himself in one unfriendly world. The trouble is, sauropods weren’t great parents. “These pets probably laid them and also left them,” states Mike Habib, Ph.D., a researcher v the college of southern California. “In reality what would occur is the he would wake up and there would certainly be hundreds just like him, and also they’d it is in scattering into the brush, and also they wouldn’t even know that their parents are, and also they wouldn’t understand them if they saw them.”

A Sharptooth Would never ever Pick a Fight with Littlefoot’s Mom

In popular music culture, adult sauropods are erroneously stereotyped as targets, or sacrificial lambs, claims Habib. “In reality, in their environment they’re the heavy. You nothing mess through the 30-ton animal,” that says. “That’s stupid; it will damage you. One hit from the tail and also you’re decapitated, or close enough — her neck is shattered.”

Littlefoot’s genus is officially classified as Apatosaurus, although he has actually been named in different way on various occasions. The battle between the sharptooth and Littlefoot’s mom is unrealistic no only due to the fact that their varieties lived at really different time (more on that later) but additionally because the sharptooth — if he were clever — would have actually none that it. “If friend did placed a rex and also a big apatosaur in the exact same room, it’s an extremely unlikely that the rex would desire to make a walk for the animal,” states Habib.

Ducky couldn’t Swim

Ducky, Littlefoot’s plucky young friend, is a hadrosaur who is, indeed, very duck-like — experienced on land but at home in the water. In the movies, the hadrosaurs are recognized as “swimmers,” “bigmouths,” or “duckbills.” but in reality, hadrosaurs to be land pets with beside nothing in usual with a duck. “They were not really duck-like pets at all,” Habib says. “In fact, castle were probably some of the worst swimmers among dinosaurs, yet they just had actually this broad beak that sort of looks favor a duck beak, if you squint.”

Hadrosaurs earn this ill-gotten call as part of a larger myth, which was dispelled long before the Land prior to Time movies. The idea held that herbivorous dinosaurs must have actually either had actually physical defenses, like horns or spines, or stayed in the water, whereby sharptooth predators couldn’t reach them. It transforms out that making numerous babies and also having them prosper to huge proportions an extremely quickly functions OK as a life strategy, too.

Petrie never Couldn’t Fly

A second plotline of the very first film is that Petrie, a spastic pterosaur, is too nervous to discover to fly. Actually, choose sauropods, pterosaurs most likely fended for themselves indigenous birth. The fossil evidence says that they could fly instantly upon hatching, or shortly after. There is no parents around, a grounded pterosaur is a dead pterosaur.

Although the film never clearly calls Petrie a dinosaur, it’s worth mentioning, for the record, the pterosaurs aren’t dinosaurs however related reptilian cousins. (Birds, ~ above the various other hand, are dinosaurs.)


Sharptooth Would have actually No interest in Littlefoot and Friends

Littlefoot and also his merry band of hatchlings would have actually made fantastic snack for all sorts the hungry predators, however the big sharptooth that eliminated his mommy would have turned increase his nose. “Why a big rex would be trying come eat a hatchling is past reason. He would neglect them. They wouldn’t be precious the effort. It would cost more to bite them and also swallow them 보다 it would certainly get energy out,” Habib says, hyperbolically. “It would not it is in chasing hatchlings.”

Making a living in the people of the dinosaurs to be all about getting enough food, but also appropriate food. Predators find out to go after things tiny enough the they room sure to win the fight, but big enough that they space worth the effort.

The Timeline Is Screwy AF

Consider the five main characters of the Land before Time franchise. Littlefoot is one Apatosaurus, a genus that live 151-150 million years ago. Cera is a Triceratops, which live 68-66 million year ago. Ducky is a Parasaurolophus, which lived 76-74 million years ago. Petrie is a Pteranodon, which live 88-80 million year ago. Spike is a Stegosaurus, which lived 155-150 million years ago.

To the franchises’ credit, every one of these animals have been uncovered in the American West, although the can’t be said for every one of the types portrayed in the films. And yet, several of these creatures are separated by 80 million years or much more of evolutionary time. Geologically speaking, the animals alive today are closer come Cera 보다 Cera is come Littlefoot. “There’s less time between a human and also T. Rex than in between T. Rex and also stegosaurus; yes sir an problem there,” Jordan Mallon, a research paleontologist in ~ the Canadian Museum the Nature, tells

The pets Just nothing Look Right

Sure, the pets of The Land before Time room cartoonish, but they’re additionally just wrong. “I’m looking in ~ a picture of Cera here, and also she’s got too countless claws on her forefeet — too plenty of hooves,” states Mallon. “That’s simple thing to fix. It would certainly be nice, ns guess, if they got it right.” yet besides nitpicking the details, there have actually been significant advances over the past 30 year in exactly how we think around the method dinosaurs looked.

In 1986, Robert Bakker published The Dinosaur Heresies, which suggested on the communication of their similarities v birds that countless dinosaurs to be warm-blooded and also covered in feathers. The fossil record later on proved the right, mirroring a wide range of feathered dinosaurs and also a clear link between the prehistoric beasts of our imaginations and modern-day birds. Pterosaurs, which again were no dinosaurs, were spanned with a kind of fuzz made of what have actually been referred to as pycnofibers.

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The dinosaurs the The Land prior to Time are, predictably, featherless. However there is one exceptional minute of clinical prescience: in the early on scenes of the an initial movie, a pair the elderly, vulture-like pterosaurs attend Littlefoot’s hatching, covered from head come shoulders in a frill that white hair.