1. Regular Joe: Apatosaurus
Your typical middle-of-the-road good guy. He’s not the biggest sauropod (see Argentinosaurus) but he’s the respectable combination of nonaggressive vegetarian who is still big enough to defend himself. He’s peaceful and slightly hippie-ish: he eats leaves all day and gets along well with other dinosaurs. He’s basically the Jurassic equivalent of Nickelodeon’s Doug, or Cory from Boy Meets World.
2. School Bully: Allosaurus
Allosaurus was big, fast, and mean. He was at the top of the food chain and ate pretty much everybody else. Fossilized tracks show Allosaurus hunting alone or feasting in packs on carcasses, so it isn’t clear if he got along with others or not. The solitary bully is not competing against his peers. He is usually either dealing with his feelings of inferiority by taking them out on someone who would rather play World of Warcraft 72 hours in a row than brush his teeth or getting himself some Stegosaurus crunch to last him a couple of days.
3. Second-String School Bully: Tyrannosaurus Rex
Although Tyrannosaurus Rex was much bigger than Allosaurus and used to be thought of as an aggressive predator, it seems likely that he spent a lot of time mooching off everyone else’s kills. That’s because the poor T-Rex had comically short arms: so short that I was inclined to think someone put them there as a joke (“hey Al, go dig up Uncle Ernie and put his arms on this skeleton here, nobody’s going to notice until about 150 years later.”) He could have been the loser who hangs out with the big baddies and feasts on their scraps like one of those fat frat guys who tries to rail awkward chicks at parties because he can’t convince any of the Delta Zetas to fuck him. Scientists are still debating on whether T-Rex was primarily a hunter or a scavenger. But he did have one of the most powerful bites of any creature that ever lived, so there’s that.
4. Track Team: Struthiomimus
Struthiomimus was like a regular Joe but with a little more initiative. He’s an ornithomimid: one of the dinosaur types most closely related to birds. He’s a carnivore, and while he isn’t the biggest or the meanest he won’t miss his prey because he’s one of the fastest dinosaurs that ever walked the earth. These guys wouldn’t mess with you if they didn’t have a reason to, but they still have significant pull on the food chain.
5. Freshman: Archaeopteryx
This small, agile creature was halfway between a dinosaur and a bird. It was considered a dinosaur because it had dinosaur characteristics such as a long tail, but it also had feathers and obvious wings that would have been used to fly or at least glide. In technical terms, Archaeopteryx was one of the first pieces of evidence that dinosaurs are direct descendants of birds. But in this piece he was an 80s teen movie era freshman like Anthony Michael Hall: scrawny and obvious bully bait but who’d developed enough wit to deflect many of his potential ass-kickers.
6. Gangs: Raptors
Raptor (bird of prey) is the popular name for a type of dinosaur called the dromeosaur. The most famous of these are Deinonychus and Velociraptor.
Deinonychus was only about the size of a person. But these would have been the big bad bitches of the school. They hunted in packs and, like other raptors, had sickle-shaped claws used to hack their prey to shreds. Their human equivalent has pointy acrylic claws and travels in groups to rip out your earrings and wrap your skinny belt around your throat. Their male equivalent would either be the Velociraptor (small, hunts in packs, tears you up) or the Utahraptor (big, hunts in packs, tears you up). Raptors were among the most intelligent dinosaurs and, if you believe Jurassic Park, the most creative hunters. They probably also had feathers.
7. Pervert: Oviraptor
Oviraptor was a small dinosaur that had a beak instead of teeth. Its skeleton was discovered in a nest of eggs, so scientists assumed it was looting. (Oviraptor means “egg-taker” in Latin.) They later discovered that it was probably just guarding its own nest. But for the sake of this article, Oviraptor is that pedophile who hangs around high schools flashing the girls or in real creeper grounds maybe trying to convince them that he’ll buy them a Prada tote bag if they spend 45 minutes with behind the football stadium with him.
8. Gamer Nerd: Stegosaurus
Stegosaurus is kind of dopey-looking and has plates running down his back that may have functioned as temperature-regulators. He looks slow, even though that doesn’t necessarily mean he was. He also had one of the lowest brain-to-body ratios of all dinosaurs. I imagine him as the guy who’s been playing Call of Duty in his room for so long that his body starts to develop its own temperature regulator because he sure isn’t getting up to turn on the AC. His brain has also atrophied from being used in no other capacity than to continually knock Adolf Hitler off a pile of pixellated ruins.
9. Wrestling Team: Ankylosaurus
Ankylosaurus was a large, armored herbivore with a giant club attached to the end of its tail. It is said to have traveled in packs. It also had a very small brain relative to its body. I picture Ankylosaurus as the wrestling team: slow, not too bright, and not particularly aggressive unless they’re provoked.
10. Bros: Triceratops
These are the cool guys. They were herbivores, but believed to have been aggressive amongst themselves: using their horns to fight for mates like modern-day bucks. Triceratops was surprisingly agile. It also had a high brain-to-body ratio, implying that it was one of the smarter dinosaurs. I know you nerds don’t want to hear this, but organizing a social structure like that exhibited by bros generally means you’re pretty clever.
11. Homecoming Committee: Parasaurolophus
Parasaurolophus and other hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs) had elaborate crests on their heads. The crests may have been used for show or to regulate temperature. They were once thought to aid in communication through a resonating chamber inside the crest, but scientists don’t think they had the appropriate tissue for that. For the purposes of this article, however, hadrosaurs were using their crests to bark out directions to cover the gym ceiling in one more layer of purple streamers to ensure the appropriate mood was set to grind with Triceratops to Chris Brown.
Hadrosaurs were herbivores. They liked to hang out in herds, as shown by groups of Parasaurolophus tracks near watering holes. They were also pretty big. The Homecoming Queen would have been a Parasaurolophus or a Deinonychus, depending on the school.
12. School Newspaper: Pterodactyl
Pterodactyl is the most commonly known pterosaur, but there were a lot of them. (If you’re in NYC, I strongly recommend the Pterosaurs exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. It runs until January 2015.) Pterosaurs flew like birds and could see everything going on all throughout the prehistoric land. They would have made the perfect journalists. In fact they would also have made the perfect politicians, or executives, or in any sort of bureaucratic position that involves knowing more about people than skills.