The best and worst dinosaur names

Because I was thinking about it while trapped in traffic, here’s a totally objective list of cool and not-so-cool dinosaur (and assorted other prehistoric animal) names.


The Classics: I’d imagine that part of the reason these are so well known is because they sound awesome and/or mean awesome things.

Tyrannosaurus rex (Tyrant lizard king)

Triceratops (Three horned face)

Deinonychus (Terrible claw)

Velociraptor (Speedy thief) 

Archaeopteryx (Ancient feather)

“Brontosaurus” (Thunder lizard)

They roll off your tongue and into your heart: Slightly deeper cuts that also have a nice ring to them.

Suchomimus (Crocodile mimic)

Suuwassea (First spring thunder)

Mojoceratops (Mojo horned face)

Atrociraptor (Atrocity thief)

Euoplocephalus (Well armored head)

Stygimolch (River Styx demon)

Dracopelta (Dragon shield)

Brontotherium (Thunder beast)

Caudipteryx (Tail feather)

Quetzalcoatlus (For Aztec god Quetzalcoatl)

Anything ending in “venator”:

Sinovenator (Chinese hunter)

Neovenator (New hunter)

Microvenator (Tiny hunter)

Afrovenator (African hunter)


Names that should not be: These super-vague names were given to fragmentary or largely non-diagnostic remains, and it shows.

Allosaurus (Other lizard)

Apatosaurus (Mystery lizard)

Dyslocosaurus (Hard-to-place lizard)

Corporate names: Named for the company that funded the research, apparently. Or somebody was gaming for free airline tickets. Either way, these seem kind of cheap.

Quantassaurus (Quantas Airways lizard)

Atlascopcosaurus (Atlas Copco lizard)

Zero-effort names: You’d think they’d be a little more excited about naming a dinosaur.

Gasosaurus (Gas lizard)

Drinker (for Edward Drinker Cope)

Irritator (Irritator)

Megapnosaurus (Big dead lizard)

Awesomebro names: Unsubtle names possibly named by six year olds.

Raptorex (Thief king)

Megaraptor (Big thief)

Gigantoraptor (Giant thief)

Tyrannotitan (Tyrant titan)

Consonant mush names: These are rough to pronounce without considerable effort.

Gigantspinosaurus (Giant spine lizard)

Futalognkosaurus (Giant chief lizard)

Troll names: I have to wonder if these were done on purpose. No pity or remorse for the poor folks who have to say these out loud.

Pantydraco (Spring/well dragon)

Fukuiraptor (Fukui thief) 

Vagaceratops (Wandering horned face)