The 5 Spikiest Dinosaurs (and why they are jerks)

art by Will Moore

art by Will Moore

Everyone who knows what a dinosaur is has some knowledge of how much dinosaurs loved spikes. Hell, I’ve already covered one of the spikiest jerks of all time, Kentrosaurus, on this site. However recent research into the field of dinosaur jerkology at the Conservative Institute for Dinosaur Readiness (now at a new address in my mother’s basement) has shed light on this predisposition for spikes among certain dinosaurs.

It seems that evolution favors life forms that are difficult to eat, and even more so if the life form actively kills whatever tries. This led to dinosaurs evolving who where so spiky that they had no fear of predation, and instead began growing even longer and pointer spikes for their own vain and sinful purposes (and stabby, ouchy purposes).

These are the top 5 spikiest jerks of the dinosaur empire, presented in order of how much I hate them.

5. Stygimoloch

art by Ryan Martin

art by Ryan Martin

Stygimoloch sounds like it should be one of the bad guys from X-Men. The truth is actually worse. Instead of being a misguided teenager who has fallen prey to Magneto’s slick marketing, Stygimoloch was in reality a dinosaur with spikes instead of a face.

Aside from the head, Stygimoloch looks sort of wussy. You look at it from neck to tail, you’d be all like, “Oh, that’s just a punk ass Hypsilophodon, I’d better hit it with my Chevy.”

But then you look at the face and you’d be all like, “By MOSES what happened to THAT FACE??”

Seriously, spikes instead of a face. Instead of eyebrows? Spikes. Instead of a snout? Spikes. Where it should have a forehead, Stygimoloch had a bludgeon. Why would anything need these things on its head? Any rational person would hold a spike or a bludgeon with their hand, if such an object was necessary. How these things are useful enough that Stygimoloch might permanently evolve them GLUED TO ITS FACE is beyond me. You know what my guess is? They weren’t useful. They were there only for grinding up baby mammals, mortar and pestle style, on the Cretaceous ground. That sounds a lot like what a dinosaur would be about.

4. Stegosaurus

art by Ryan Martin

art by Ryan Martin

Stegosaurus is the state dinosaur of Colorado because Denver couldn’t think of anything else that was scarier than its crazy Bronco sculpture.

Kentrosaurus was covered in this blog, and it certainly had a taste for spikes, but Stegosaurus, the larger and more famous cousin, takes the jerk-cake. Stegosaurus was such a freaking jerk with its tail spikes that the spike structure on its tail has its own specific name. It is called a Thagomizer.

Scientists used to argue over whether the Stegosaurus used its spiked thagomizer in combat. This was until an Allosaurus tail was found with a thagomizer sized chunk missing from it. Some scientists commented that it may have just been for sexual displays. Those scientists were then slapped and fired after being stripped of their credentials. Other scientists then followed those fired scientists home, and shouted insults at them while they wept in bed.

Because seriously, if a dinosaur has four giant spikes on its tail, they are going to serve as a bit more than thunder lizard lingerie. ‘I’mma Hit You With My Thagomizer’ will soon be the #1 gangster rap single as well as a legitimately feared threat on internet forums.

Stegosaurus didn’t evolve a large brain cavity because it only processed concepts in terms of how many times they could be hit with spikes. Stegosaurus was like the tough high school jock who you know is kind of stupid but who is so successful that you envy them anyway. Sometimes I duct tape a gardening rake to my pants and pretend I have a thagomizer, but only when I am experiencing decreased self esteem.

3. Sauropelta

art by Ryan Martin

art by Ryan Martin

If you are like a warrior or a football player or something, you probably understand the value of shoulder pads. Some good, hard shoulder armor can benefit any person or animal that might be engaged in tackling or getting charged at. Yeah, I mean you don’t want to break your shoulder like some ignorant rugby player, right?

Yeah obviously dinosaurs were going to take this concept too far.

Sauropelta was one of these armadillo looking dinosaurs, the ankylosaurs. Except instead of normal, bony shoulder armor like normal animals sometimes have, Sauropelta had gigantic spikes. Seriously. Huge spikes. Longer than your forearm. So at that point you can basically rule out self defense, because you don’t need two foot long spikes to convince people not to eat you. Obviously they were for the violent interruption of personal affairs.

For example:

You are a prehistoric mammal, kind of like a shrew except not as cool. You and your proto-shrew family are trying to build a nest out of mud and tinder and a little bit of poo, but not enough to sacrifice classiness. Then your proto-shrew husband looks at you and he’s like, I totally heard something over there. And you’re thinking, wow, I hope that isn’t a Deinonychus, but just as you’re starting to get your shrew babies together–

*BOOM* A pair of two foot spikes on the front of a 3,300 pound organic tank smashes through your den, your tiny ass proto-shrew den which is like four feet long, tops. You look out from the rubble, and Sauropelta isn’t even trying to eat you. He’s an herbivore. He just fucked up your house because, whatever, he had spikes.

You can see how this would be an equally troubling scenario at your hipster bar on Vegan Taco Tuesdays. Dinosaurs seem to think that having spikes gives them license to be a douche.

2. Edmontonia

art by Ryan Martin

art by Ryan Martin

Edmontonia took the basic concept of being a giant spiky armored bully like Sauropelta and then started doing steroids and cocaine. Edmontonia was roughly twice the size of Sauropelta, had more armor, a tail mounted mace, and OF COURSE MORE SPIKES.

As a little kid, did you ever have that jerk friend who would try out all of his karate moves on you? And he would learn a sweep kick or something, and that’s the only way he would interact with you for like a week? Now imagine that kid had the brain the size of a quarter (as in Edmontonia’s brain, adjusted to scale). This is basically how Edmontonia functioned in real life.

And boy, did Edmontonia have spikes. There is not an angle one could approach Edmontonia without walking into spikes. You may compare that experience, for humor’s sake, with a trip to the DMV, but please try to keep serious. Dinosaurs are not something to joke about.

Every time I read up on Edmontonia, scientists try to explain the ridiculous weapons and spikes as legitimate ways to protect Edmontonia’s “defenseless underbelly”. NEWSFLASH, SCIENTISTS: LITERALLY EVERY OTHER NORMAL ANIMAL HAS A DEFENSELESS UNDERBELLY. It’s just called a belly. The rest of us do fine having normal, unspiked hides and we all have bellies. I don’t walk around with spiked knuckles and a glock to protect my belly (unless I am in Florida where such behavior is apparently required by law). Edmontonia did not need an Irish Republican Army’s worth of shivs to protect its totally normal belly, Edmontonia had those things because it was a spiky jerk.

1. Styracosaurus

art by Ryan Martin

art by Ryan Martin

This is an average conversation between Styracosaurus and Edmontonia.

Ceratopsians were spiky bastards, but most of them kept things more or less under control. Three horns, maybe five, tops. Alright. I can almost buy that as a self defense thing. There were theropods in the Cretaceous, I get that. But then you get a freaking nut job like Styracosaurus into the conversation.

Styracosaurus had at least nine spikes on its face. Styracosaurus’s face spikes were like three feet long and arranged around its skull frill like the petals on a particularly violent sunflower. Oh, except for the broadsword sized one on its nose. Imagine if the only way you could walk toward something was by pointing nine bowie knives at it. Imagine you EVOLVED OVER MILLIONS OF YEARS based on this behavior. No wonder Styracosaurus was such a jerk.

The Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement cites Styracosaurus’s frill as one of the most obvious examples of dinosaur biology tending towards needless aggression. Scientists theorize that the giant spiked frill of Styracosaurus might have helped it shed heat, which makes a lot of sense. It’s perfectly rational to evolve a Ginsu set on your face because you get hot sometimes. Yeah, in fact, I’m feeling thirsty so I guess I will evolve a war hammer on my leg. Dinosaur evolutionary logic makes no goddamn sense unless you side with the Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement’s assumption that every dinosaur evolution was specifically intended to maim and kill tax paying Americans. And probably also tax paying Aussies and Bulgarians.

Anyway, stay tuned next week for a major site update (hint: it will involve pajamas). Next week’s article will be “6 Lies Told to us by The Land Before Time”, so subscribe (or just come back next week of your own volition) and send me emails about any particular Land Before Time details you would like to see explored.

2 Thoughts on “The 5 Spikiest Dinosaurs (and why they are jerks)

  1. I bet Junior High was awful for the Stygimoloch.

  2. Dino Might on May 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm said:

    Why is T-Rex considered such a tough guy when we know these guys were around? Instead of spikes he had… tiny arms? T-Rex: “Rawr… I’m gon’ gitchu wif my tiny arms… rawr.” Every other dinosaur: “Bwahahahahaha”

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