Tinder for dinos

Love app-tually in the Flirtaceous Period

The moment I read the sentence, "Tyrannosaurus rex was a sensitive lover, new dinosaur discovery suggests", I thought it sounded like the opening line to a dinosaur's Tinder profile.

Turns out, it was just the headline on a Guardian article covering new research suggesting that T. rex dinosaurs had hypersensitive snouts that could have been used in mating.

But I rather like the idea of a dating profile for a dinosaur. So, in a fit of caffeine-induced absurdity, I decided to write one myself.


T. REX

Hell Creek Formation, last active 66 million years ago.

Likes: Snout-rubbing and raw Edmontosaurus steak dinners.

Dislikes: Triceratops, asteroids. I might be big, but I'm light on my feet; these bones are hollow. Don't let my tiny hands fool you - I've been called a sensitive lover.

Ms Sarah Kaplan, writer for The Washington Post


But a dating app is no use to a lonely dino if he is the only one on it. So I e-mailed some paleontologists and asked whether they would be willing to create a profile for their favourite dinosaurs. Turns out, crafting a profile that would charm a dinosaur is even harder than trying to date a human. There is a lot that scientists do not know about dinosaur lifestyles - whether a given species lived in herds or alone, how often they mated and with whom and whether they cared for their young - so it is hard to tell what would appeal to them. But paleontologists are a pretty resourceful, not to mention hilarious (and surprisingly raunchy) bunch. Here is how they would attempt to woo a dinosaur mate. Which would you swipe right on?



IMAGE: COURTESY OF JON HOAD

DREADNOUGHTUS SCHRANI

One of history's largest land animals, this gigantic South American sauropod was discovered in 2014.

Full-bodied sauropod, enjoys standing and eating. Turnoffs: Interrupting me while I'm eating; gravity. If you're into doing terrible things to ferns, drop me a line and we'll defoliate together.

Dr Kenneth Lacovara, paleontologist at Rowan University


PARASAUROLOPHUS WALKERI

A North American duck-billed dinosaur that may have produced a swan-like honk and an elaborate head crest used for resonating. I'll sing you a song of the dinoland. Applying for Julliard next year.

Ms Carrie Levitt-Bussian, paleontology collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Utah



IMAGE: COURTESY OF BOB WALTERS

ANZU WYLIEI

A gigantic oviraptor species also known as "the chicken from hell". Snacks on fruit, lizards, mammals and Triceratops eggs. Likes flashy wing and tail plumage. 2.2m tall, so you must be tall. No comparisons to poultry. LOL.

Mr Matthew Lamanna, assistant curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History



IMAGE: AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

OVIRAPTOR

A genus of small bird-like dinosaurs that lived in Mongolia during the late Cretaceous Period. Looking for my partner in crime. Love to run, hunt and currently working on some mating rituals. I consider myself a feminist - I have no problem brooding eggs while you're out.

Dr Eric Gorscak, paleontologist at Field Museum of Natural History


VELOCIRAPTOR

A genus of small, swift, probably feathered dinosaurs. Looking for a "clever girl"? I'm small but fierce and on the hunt for a mate. Serious applicants only. Mess with me and I'll bring out the claws.

Mr Brian Cleveland, copy editor for The Washington Post



IMAGE: WORD OF MOUTH COMMUNICATIONS

TYRANNOSAURUS REX

Fitness-minded apex predator with plenty of "rex" appeal looking for a tyrant lizard queen. Let's grab Triceratops tacos and watch the sunset. Love travel and working out; biceps looking great but have some trouble with push-ups. Can't run faster than 16kmh but, then again, neither can you.

Dr Sarah Werning, paleontologist at Des Moines University

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2017, with the headline 'Tinder for dinos'. Print Edition | Subscribe