Top Ten Most Annoying Things People in the Paleontology Community Say

These statements are either poorly supported, outdated, taken out of context or just wrong. Yet they appear in too many documentaries and are used by too many people.
The Top Ten
1 Flightless birds are downgraded dinosaurs

Flightless birds like phorusrhacids are too often viewed as a short-lived evolutionary experiment destined to be outcompeted by mammals. Multiple groups of flightless birds (e.g. phorusrhacids, bathornithids and dromornithids) successfully competed with mammals for millions of years. Extant ratites clearly show that flightless birds and mammals can coexist. Interestingly, some birds (Patagopteryx, Hesperornis, Gargantuavis, etc.) already evolved to become flightless even before the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct.

2 Carnivorans outcompeted other Cenozoic carnivores

Carnivorans are too often portrayed as super predators that outcompeted all other types of carnivores. Hyaenodonts, entelodonts, etc. were able to coexist with carnivorans for quite a while. Even today, monitor lizards live alongside carnivorans.

3 Reptiles and birds that laid their eggs on the ground went extinct because mammals ate their eggs

A quick reminder: several species of reptiles and birds laying their eggs on the ground are still present. Neither oviparous nor viviparous animals are superior, they merely use different strategies with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Rather surprised most of these are things people in the Paleontology community say. I mean I'm not even close to being a paleontologist but I knew 8-9 of them as false.

4 During the Great American Interchange, South American animals were outcompeted

The narrative that superior North American species replaced their South American counterparts during the GABI is highly questionable. South American clades like Sparassodonta and Sebecidae became extinct before the interchange occurred, while clades like Xenarthra expanded northward.

5 Feathered dinosaurs are not scary

First of all, this is not true. Just look at a cassowary. Also, dinosaurs were/are real animals, not movie monsters.

Yeah, I mean, tons of theropods we know, like Velociraptor, Nanqusaurus, and Utahraptor were killer dinos.

6 Crocodiles are living fossils

In the past pseudosuchians were much more diverse and crocodilians differ significantly from their ancestors and distant relatives. Crocodilians are descended from terrestrial, warm-blooded ancestors. I would also like to mention Mekosuchus: a crocodilian that became fully terrestrial again and lived until 3,000 years ago.

7 Every extinct large reptile is a dinosaur

Not every dinosaur is extinct and not all dinosaurs were/are large. Additionally, other prehistoric reptiles such as pterosaurs, mosasaurs, ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs are not dinosaurs.

8 Prehistoric animals were bigger because of higher oxygen levels

The only geological period with an exceptionally high concentration of oxygen was the Carboniferous. Only land-based arthropods with a fairly inefficient respiratory system were much bigger during this period. Other giant animals evolved for other reasons. It should also be mentioned that the extant blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever existed.

9 Tyrannosaurus had an infectious bite

The infamous myth spread by Jurassic Fight Club is far too popular. It is based on the disproven idea that Komodo dragons have special bacteria in their mouths. So there is no evidence that Tyrannosaurus had deadly bacteria in its mouth.

10 Giant animals went extinct because they were too big
The Contenders
11 Placentals are the most advanced mammals

The notion that placentals are superior to monotremes and marsupials is controversial. Rodents appeared in Australia in the late Miocene and did not displace marsupials or monotremes. And marsupials (and other metatherians) have coexisted with placentals in the Americas for millions of years.

12 Mammals ate dinosaurs eggs
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