Specialists analyze dinosaur Barney’s makeover

Specialists analyze dinosaur Barney’s makeover

(Unique illustration by Mark Pernice)

“Tell us should you want an actual dinosaur professional.”

That is what a revered establishment advised us once we had been in search of a board-certified paleontologist to border Barney — you recognize, the purple dinosaur from the youngsters’ present Barney & palsThe place Selena Gomez And Demi Lovato have their beginnings—the next its controversial makeover forward of a brand new animated present, film and merchandise this month. We did not care a lot in the event that they discovered the brand new cartoon iteration of the Tyrannosaurus rex lovable, which it’s, or terrifying, which it’s. However how does it examine to an genuine dino?

The classic PBS version of Barney alongside his Mattel makeover.  (Photo: Everett Collection/courtesy of Mattel)

The basic PBS model of Barney alongside his Mattel makeover. (Picture: Everett Assortment/courtesy of Mattel)

Lastly, a number of courageous consultants did Settle for this query, which admittedly is something however scientific.

The primary, dr. Jingmai O’Connor of the Chicago Area Museum, famous that the unique Barney is barely extra correct than the brand new one, however the T. rex usually “was one of the fearsome predators of all time — not precisely kid-friendly.”

Las Vegas Pure Historical past Museum dinosaur professional volunteer Jadon Davis stated he would not even attempt to make a realistic-looking Barney as a result of it is for a kids’s present, in any case. Good level!

However usually, the scientists we contacted had been good athletes, and so they supplied some professional opinions on the beloved character’s new look.

legs and ft

“T rex would have had comparable legs to a hen. New Barney has legs like an elephant,” O’Connor tells Yahoo Leisure. “Each Barneys lack the bird-like toes.”

Davis famous that dinosaurs stood “in a horizontal posture with their tails off the bottom,” which is certainly totally different from Barney’s depiction.

Kiersten Formoso, a graduate scholar at USC and visiting scholar on the Pure Historical past Museum of Los Angeles, agreed.

“His angle, that is a giant one. As we all know from our fossils, like a T. rex, theropods had a horizontally oriented posture, so their spines had been held horizontal to the bottom and their tails poked simply above it,” Formoso stated. “Not the sort of large, erect tail that drags on the bottom stance of old-school dinosaurs in motion pictures and whatnot.” An actual Barney would have “three distinct, elongated toes, with the center toe being longer than the 2 subsequent to it.”

arms and arms

Miranda Shealy, an educator and volunteer supervisor at Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Pure Historical past, stated the arms are clearly improper — once more, on the subject of accuracy.

“T rex are identified for his or her very quick arms, which solely had two fingers on every hand,” Shealy stated. “Other than the proportions of the arms, Barney’s physique plan is fairly correct.”

Rating one for the artists!

However Anthony Maltese, curator of the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Useful resource Heart, who himself excavates fossils, noticed that the brand new Barney has too many fingers.

“I do not even know the place to start out with this. Tyrannosaurus rex ought to solely have two fingers,” Maltese stated. “It is fairly well-known for simply being these two with claws on them. So it is simple to have twice as many fingers in your arms. … it is a good invention.”

In real life, Barney would have had wild teeth.  (Original illustration by Steve Caplin)

In actual life, Barney would have had wild enamel. (Unique illustration by Steve Caplin)


Our consultants agreed on most issues, together with the truth that Barney’s enamel could be so much wilder in actual Cretaceous life.

“The one factor I wish to see — and individuals are continuously blown away by it once I discuss to them and present them the fossils — is that the commonest fossils we discover are shed dinosaur enamel,” Maltese stated. “Dinosaurs are like sharks. They continue to grow new enamel and so they hold falling out.”

Nonetheless, Barney at all times had a pair of sharp biters to chew on meat.

“He ought to have extra blackened enamel or extra of a snaggletooth factor [from] Tooth are falling out,” added Maltese.

As Formoso put it, his “very comfortable, cute wanting enamel” would not exist.

“Dinosaurs, like fashionable crocodiles, have dentures all through their life cycle, in order that they have staggered areas of tooth development,” Formoso stated, “with some enamel shorter than these subsequent to them when the subsequent one comes alongside.”


As O’Connor put it, “Coloration choice can be problematic. When taking a look at residing, non-feathered reptiles, purple is a really uncommon scale shade.”

It is much more doubtless that inexperienced, which Barney makes use of as an accent shade, is the dominant shade.

“Inexperienced,” Formoso stated, “is a shade you may get in regular reptile pores and skin. There are lots of inexperienced reptiles. Purple, alternatively, tends to manifest on the reptilian aspect of the tree of life as what known as a structural shade in one thing like feathers. And that mainly implies that the colour itself would not come from pigments like melanin, however relatively from the precise molecular construction of the feather itself, which displays blues, shiny greens, and purples. So birds that you simply see they’ve bluish purple feathers it is not a pigment that is inflicting that. That is the precise, bodily construction of the feather that occurs to mirror these colours in our eyes.


Talking of feathers, a lot of our dino consultants thought Barney had them.

Davis and Maltese famous that it might be a really mild coat.

“At the least little fluffy ones or little fibrous ones, like an emu or one thing,” Maltese guessed. “Possibly not after they’re totally grown or perhaps not throughout their our bodies.”

A realistic-looking Barney would likely have feathers, some of our experts said.  (Original illustration by Simoul Alva)

A sensible-looking Barney would doubtless have feathers, a few of our consultants stated. (Unique illustration by Simoul Alva)

singing voice

Whereas birds, the residing species most intently associated to dinosaurs, have a specialised vocal organ known as the syrinx that permits them to sing, the fossil report suggests so Tyrannosaurs don’t. Sadly their vocalizations would have sounded extra like them Hissing and grunting of a crocodile as a catchy song about love, hugs and happy families.

Right or not – largely not – Barney will likely be in all places later this yr. Dino consultants, be warned.

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