The moment I read the phrase, “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. I managed to talk Emily Chow, one of The Washington Post's top-notch designers, into making it look like a real Tinder profile.
But a dating app is no use to a lonely dino if he's the only guy on it. So I emailed a bunch of paleontologists and asked whether they would be willing to create a profile for their favorite dinosaurs.
Turns out, crafting a profile that will charm a dinosaur is even harder than trying to date a human. There's a lot scientists don't know about dinosaur lifestyles — whether a given species lived in herds or alone, how often they mated and with whom, whether they cared for their young — so it's hard to tell what would appeal to them.
But paleontologists are a pretty resourceful bunch. Not to mention hilarious (and surprisingly raunchy). Here's how they would attempt to woo a dinosaur mate. Which would you swipe right on?
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; things I can’t eat; gravity. If you’re into to doing terrible things to ferns, drop me a line and we’ll defoliate together.
— Kenneth Lacovara, paleontologist at Rowan University
Anzu wyliei: A gigantic oviraptor species unofficially known as “the chicken from Hell.”
SD > ND > MT. Snacks on fruit, lizards, mammals, and Triceratops eggs. Likes flashy wing and tail plumage and a great head crest. Daddy to 22 beautiful chicks. 7' 5" so you gotta be tall. No comparisons to poultry please. :) LOL
— Matthew Lamanna, assistant curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Parasaurolophus walkeri: A North American duck-billed dinosaur with nasal passages that may have produced a swan-like honk and an elaborate head crest that could have been used as a resonating chamber to magnify the noises.
I’ll sing you a song of the dinoland. I am the best tooter on my block. Applying for Julliard next year. Although some of my best work may sound like farting noises, I think I just have a new sound that is too fresh for some. I am just misunderstood. But I promise if you let me mate with you, I will help watch the eggs 20% of the time.
— Carrie Levitt-Bussian, paleontology collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Utah
Oviraptor: A genus of small birdlike dinosaurs that lived in Mongolia during the late Cretaceous.
I am new to Mongolia and I'm looking for my partner in crime. I love to run, hunt, and currently working on some mating rituals — perhaps you can critique my mating dance and feather displays ;) I consider myself a feminist — I have no problem brooding eggs while you're out with your friends or at work! And yes, I do preen my feathers regularly!
— Eric Gorscak, paleontologist at the Field Museum of Natural History
Tyrannosaurus rex: Looks like my T. rex has some competition. (Who are we kidding? This dude is definitely out of my league.)
Fitness-minded apex predator with plenty of “rex” appeal looking for a tyrant lizard queen. Let's grab Triceratops tacos and watch the sun set over the Western Interior Seaway.
About me: love whiskey, travel, and working out. Biceps looking great but have some trouble with pushups. Can't run faster than 10 mph, but then again, neither can you. Eggs in the picture are my sister's.
The asteroid is coming so I'm not looking for anything serious. Basically just DTF (Down To Fossilize), but I'm cool to hang out and rub snouts afterwards. Not into vegetarians, smokers, drama, middle-age women (under 14 ok). Please be under 5 tons.
13 feet tall because apparently that's important to you ladies...
— Sarah Werning, paleontologist at Des Moines University
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.
— Brian Cleveland, copy editor for The Washington Post
Do you know an extinct species in need of someone special? Send us your best dinosaur dating profiles and we'll share them here.