The 15 Coolest Dinosaurs Defining the Concept of Epicness

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 23rd September 2023

There are very few things as fascinating as dinosaurs.

They’re the true definition of coolness partly due to their sheer size but also because they come in several cool variants with very interesting attributes.

From giants that would have dwarfed buildings today to armored dinosaurs with better defensive features than military tanks, some prehistoric creatures look like they were custom-made with cool features intentionally built into them.

In this post, we list 15 of these epic dinosaurs and explain why we think they’re the coolest creatures to have ever walked the planet. 

Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Shirt Collection
Gage Beasley's Prehistoric Plush Collection
Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Plush Collection

How Do Dinosaurs Qualify For This List?

The concept of coolness is a bit subjective, so ranking for this list was a little tricky.

To curate this list of epic dinosaurs, we considered dinosaurs with unique physical attributes that made them quite fascinating.

From long necks to massive horns or strange-looking dentitions, these physical attributes had to be interesting enough to set the dinosaur apart from its other prehistoric relatives. 

coolest dinosaurs
Do long necks make you cool? / Daniel Eskridge via Istock

Some of the dinosaurs on this list also show interesting behavioral adaptations and complex habits that you probably wouldn’t expect in an animal that lived several million years ago. 

Read on to discover 15 of the most epic dinosaurs to have ever walked on the planet and discuss some of the attributes that make them so cool. 

The 15 Coolest Dinosaurs Ever Found


Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Dreadnoughtus Concept
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Dreadnoughtus Concept
Name MeaningFears Nothing
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Sauropodomorpha
Height6 meters (20 feet)
Length26 meters (85 feet)
Weight49 metric tons (108,027 lbs)
LocationArgentina (South America)

The Dreadnoughtus name translates as “fear nothing” or “fearless.”

But you’ll only start to realize how it got such a cool name when you discover just how big this dinosaur was.

This titanosaurian dinosaur which lived during the Late Cretaceous, is one of the largest dinosaurs ever found, and arguably the largest land animal to have ever lived. 

Dreadnoughtus weighed around 65 tons, which is equivalent to approximately 13 elephants today.

It also had a total body length of about 26 meters (85 feet) and was up to nine meters (30 feet) tall.

A colossal dinosaur by all standards, the Dreadnoughtus would have had nothing to fear since no carnivore dinosaur in its day was big enough to take down a full-sized adult.

It’s a good thing this massive beast was a gentle herbivore!

Dreadnoughtus was so big that it took four summers to excavate the fossils.

The bones had to be transported via an ocean freighter because of how massive they were.

But the Dreadnoughtus is just one of many dinosaurs in a family of giants.

Some of the closest relatives of this dinosaur, such as the Patagotitan, Argentinosaurus, and Puertasaurus, were massive as well.


coolest dinosaurs
Euoplocephalus 3D Render / CoreyFord via Istock
Name MeaningWell-Armored Head
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia, Ankylosauria
Height2.5 meters (8 feet)
Length5.3 meters (17 feet)
Weight2 metric tons (4,409.25 lbs)
LocationNorth America

Euoplocephalus belongs to the family Ankylosauridae – a group of dinosaurs that includes some of the most heavily-armored creatures to have ever lived.

Yet, this dinosaur manages to stand out in this group for its impressive defensive adaptations. 

The dinosaur’s name translates as “well-armored head,” a reference to its thick bony skull.

In fact, it is the only member of the ankylosaurid family of dinosaurs with such a bone-plated head.

But this dinosaur’s cool defensive armor does not end here. 

Euoplocephalus also had a series of bony plates running along its back and a massive clubbed tail that it could swing at predators.

The dinosaur’s neck was covered by two bony rings, and it also had bony plates to protect its eyes.

With virtually all its body parts protected from attack, Euoplocephalus would have been a formidable opponent for any prey that might be considering taking it on. 


Pachycephalosaurus 3D Render
Pachycephalosaurus 3D Render / CoreyFord via Istock
Name MeaningThick-Headed Lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & Pachycephalosauria
Height4.3 m (17.5 feet)
Length4.5–5 meters (15–16.5 feet)
Weight 370–450 kilograms (820–990 lbs)
LocationAsia & North America

The Pachycephalosaurus name translates as “thick-headed lizard,” a fitting name that refers to the distinct domed skull of this dinosaur.

The dinosaur almost looks like it has a helmet on, and the bony cap on its head probably served the same purpose as a helmet too.

The thick skull roof was up to 22 centimeters (9 inches) thick and helped to cushion the dinosaur’s brain. 

But why would a dinosaur need such a thick domed skull?

The answer to that question makes this dinosaur even more fascinating.

Scientists think Pachycephalosaurus participated in headbutting either as a form of mating ritual or a way to settle territorial disputes.

It’s a behavior seen in many herding animals today, like bighorn sheep, but one that you’ll probably not expect from a dinosaur.

Since they were herbivores with no other notable defense mechanism, it’s also likely that the Pachycephalosaurus used its skull for defense against prey too. 


3D rendering of Gigantoraptor isolated on white background
3D rendering of Gigantoraptor / Vac1 via Istock
Name MeaningGiant Plunderer
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda
Height3.5m (11 feet)
Length8 meters (26 feet)
Weight1.5 tons (3,306 lbs)

As its name suggests, Gigantoraptor was an enormous dinosaur.

While it wasn’t as big as some of the largest dinosaurs ever, this giant raptor is considered the largest in the oviraptor family.

It grew to lengths of up to eight meters (26 feet) and weighed around 1.4 tons.

But the massive size of this oviraptor isn’t the coolest thing about it.

What makes the Gigantoraptor special is the fact that it had feathers on its body.

While feathered dinosaurs were not uncommon during the Cretaceous, Gigantoraptor was arguably the biggest of them all. 

Imagine a multi-colored feathered dinosaur about the same size as a T-rex!

The Gigantoraptor’s colorful feather was not for flight.

Experts think the dinosaur used their feathers for camouflage.

But it was probably useful for mating displays as well. 


Chasmosaurus 3D Render
Chasmosaurus 3D Render / CoreyFord via Istock
Name MeaningOpening Lizard
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & Ceratopsia
Height2.5–3 meters (8–10 feet)
Length4–5 meters (13–16.5 feet)
Weight2 tons (4409 lbs)
LocationNorth America

The ceratopsian dinosaurs had the coolest look in the dinosaur world.

They were herbivores that fed entirely on plant materials, but that didn’t deter them from having the most menacing look of any dinosaur, thanks to the elaborate frills and long horns on their head.

The Chasmosaurus is one of the most impressive-looking members of this family. 

This dinosaur, which lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, had an elongated V-shaped frill.

The frill was hollow with a large opening that was probably covered by skin.

This opening, known as the parietal fenestrae, is seen in other frilled dinosaurs as well but was different for the Chasmosaurus because it was triangular instead of oval.

The dinosaur’s name, which means “opening lizard,”’ refers to this large opening in the dinosaur’s frill. 


Maiasaura 3D Render
Maiasaura 3D Render / leonello via Istock
Name MeaningGood mother lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia, Ornithopoda
Height2.3 meters (7.5 feet)
Length9 meters (29.5 feet)
Weight4 metric tons (4.4 short tons)
LocationNorth America

Unlike other dinosaurs that made it to this list because of their size or cool appearance, what made the Maiasaura special was its nurturing behavior.

Maiasaura has been nicknamed “the good mother dinosaur” based on fossil evidence that suggests that this dinosaur built nests and cared for its hatchlings. 

The Maiasaura is one of the few dinosaur fossils with conclusive evidence of herding behavior, nesting habits, and parental care.

Scientists have found fossil sites of this dinosaur with up to a few thousand adults, juveniles, and hatchlings living together. 

Another cool Maiasaura discovery was a well-preserved Maiasaura breeding ground known as “Egg Mountain.”

This fossil site found in Central Montana back in 1977 had at least 14 Maiasaura nests! 

The site had numerous eggs about the same size as that of a modern ostrich.

The discovery of the Maiasaura nesting site provided the first strong evidence that some dinosaurs actively cared for their young as modern birds do.

Scientists have suggested other complex behavior for this dinosaur, including the possibility that they returned to the same nesting site each year to lay their eggs. 


Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Kosmoceratops Concept
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Kosmoceratops Concept
Name MeaningOrnate Horned Face
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria,Ornithischia & Ceratopsia
Height2.5 meters (8 feet)
Length4–5 meters (13–16.5 feet)
Weight1.2 tons (2645.55 lbs)
LocationNorth America

While most animals today have one or two horns at most, one dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period had at least 15 horns on its elaborately decorated head.

The Kosmoceratops belong to a family of dinosaurs known for their elaborate head ornaments.

But even within that family, which includes popular dinosaurs like the Triceratops, none of them can match the Kosmoceratops in terms of the sheer number of horns and the complexity of its head adornments. 

The Kosmoceratops, which has been nicknamed “the horny-est dinosaur ever,” had at least ten horns on its frill.

It also had a pair of horns above each eye, one horn coming out of each cheek and a single large horn projecting out of the tips of its nose. 

What’s even more interesting is that the horn-like structures of the Kosmoceratops and other ceratopsian dinosaurs aren’t like the hollow keratin-based materials of horned animals today.

The 15 horns of this dinosaur are modifications of the dinosaur’s skull bones, which means they’re made out of solid bones.

In addition to the dozen-plus horns, this dinosaur also had one of the largest frills of all known ceratopsians.

The frill and horns of this dinosaur were likely used for display purposes, species recognition, or possibly as a defense against predators.


3D rendering of Deinonychus
3D rendering of Deinonychus / Vac1 via Istock
Name MeaningTerrible Claw
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia, & Theropoda
Height1.2 meters (4 feet)
Length3–4 meters (10–13 feet)
Weight70–100 kilograms (150–220 pounds)
LocationNorth America

Today, the theory that birds descended from dinosaurs is common knowledge among scientists and the general public.

But until the discovery of the Deinonychus in the 1930s and subsequent studies in the 70s, this idea did not exist.

American paleontologist John H. Ostrom was the first to propose this idea after studying fossils of the Deinonychus and noting numerous similarities between this dinosaur and modern birds. 

Some of the bird-like features seen in this dinosaur include its unusually long arms and a wrist that could flex sideways.

While these adaptations helped the Deinonychus grasp and hold on to prey, it is a precursor to the modern bird’s ability to generate an effective stroke while in flight. 

And if that isn’t cool enough, the Deinonychus also had unusually large, sickle-shaped talons on its hind legs.

The dinosaur’s name, which translates as “terrible claw,” is a reference to this massive claw that was likely used to capture and hold prey.

Deinonychus is also renowned as one of the most intelligent and agile dinosaurs to have ever lived. 


Dilophosaurus 3D Render
Dilophosaurus 3D Render / dottedhippo via Istock
Name MeaningDouble-Crested Lizard
EraMesozoic – Early Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda
Height2–3 meters (6.5–10 feet)
Length6–7 meters (20–23 feet) long
Weight400–500 kilograms (880–1,100 lbs)
LocationNorth America

The Dilophosaurus was one of the fiercest carnivores that roamed the North American continent during the Jurassic Period (195 million years ago).

But nothing says badass better than a fierce-looking dinosaur with a mohawk hairstyle. 

The name “Dilophosaurus” means “double-crested lizard,” a reference to this dinosaur’s unique headgear formed by two thin, bony crests that ran from its snout to the back of its eye socket. 

This headgear was covered in keratin (the same material rhino horns are made from), and scientists think they may have been brightly colored.

Just how cool is that! If this is true, then the Dilophosaurus’ crests probably served the purpose of impressing mates like the feathers of many modern birds. 


Carnotaurus 3D Render
Carnotaurus 3D Render / Elenarts108 via Istock
Name MeaningMeat-Eating Bull
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda
Height 3–3.5 meters (10–11.5 feet)
Length8 meters (26 feet)
Weight1.3–2 metric tons (2800- 4629 lbs)
LocationSouth America (Argentina)

Carnotaurus was a theropod dinosaur native to South America.

A lightly-built, medium-sized predator measuring just about 30 feet (9 meters) in length, Carnotaurus looked a lot like other theropod dinosaurs of its day.

But it did have one tiny detail that made it a lot cooler — a pair of prominent horns just above each eye. 

While there were numerous dinosaurs with horns, it is not a feature seen in any other predatory dinosaur species except the Carnotarus, which is what makes this dinosaur so impressive.

These horns and the overall skull structure of the Carnotaurus give it a distinct and intimidating appearance.

Although scientists are unsure of the exact function of the Carnotarus’ horns, the most popular theory is that males probably used their horns for intraspecific fights to establish dominance or as part of a mating ritual. 


Nigersaurus 3D Illustration
Nigersaurus 3D Illustration / Warpaintcobra via Istock
Name MeaningNiger Reptile
EraMesozoic – Early Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Sauropoda
Height2–3 meters (6.5–10 feet)
Length9–12 meters (30–40 feet)
Weight1.9 – 4 metric tons (4,188–8,818 lbs)
LocationAfrica (Niger)

What dinosaur had the most teeth?

Based on available fossil evidence, that title belongs to the Nigersaurus, a plant-eating dinosaur that lived in the present-day Sahara Desert in West Africa when the region was still a lush forest.

It has been nicknamed “the dinosaur with 500 teeth” because it had more than 500 replaceable teeth in its broad muzzle. 

The Nigersaurus was a herbivore adapted to feeding on tough plants that were available during the Cretaceous such as ferns and horsetails.

Herbivore dinosaurs with similar feeding habits often had their teeth wear down really fast.

However, this was not the case with the Nigersaurus, whose teeth were rapidly replaced as they wore down.

The Nigersaurus’ teeth were replaced with new ones every 14 days. 

The Nigersaurus’ mouth also faced downward instead of forward like that of other dinosaurs.

This suggests that it grazed on low-lying vegetation.

Scientists believe Nigersaurus was one of the first herbivorous dinosaurs known to have adopted this feeding strategy.


Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Micropachycephalosaurus Concept
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Micropachycephalosaurus Concept
Name MeaningTiny Thick-Headed Lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia & Ceratopsia
Height1 meter (3.2 feet)
Length1–2 meters (3–6.5 feet)
Weight2.3 – 4.5 kg (5–10 pounds)

When we think of dinosaurs, we probably think of massive beasts that shook the ground as they moved.

But if there’s anything the fossil record has shown, it’s the fact that dinosaurs came in different shapes and sizes.

One of the most bizarre ones discovered so far is Micropachycephalosaurus

This dinosaur’s name is a mouthful.

In fact, it has the longest generic name of any dinosaur. Interestingly, the dinosaur itself was a diminutive bipedal herbivore that grew to only about one meter (3.3 feet) in length.

It is the smallest dinosaur based on available fossil evidence. 

Micropachycephalosaurus lived in China during the Late Cretaceous Period.

The dinosaur’s name translates to “small thick-headed lizard,” referring to its dome-shaped skull.

Pachycephalosaurus (mentioned earlier on this list) is a close relative of this relatively tiny dinosaur. 


coolest dinosaurs
Stegosaurus 3D illustration / Warpaintcobra via Istock
Name MeaningRoof Lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Jurassic
ClassificationDinosauria, Ornithischia &  Stegosauria
Height4–5 meters (13–16.5 feet)
Length9–10 meters (30–33 feet)
Weight3.5–5 metric tons (7716 – 11023 lbs)
LocationNorth America

Stegosaurus looks like it stepped straight out of a video game, like one of those bosses you had to defeat to get to the next level.

This armored dinosaur had massive triangular plates and spikes all along its back all the way to its tail.

These gave the dinosaur a formidable look which would have served it well against predators because it was a harmless herbivore. 

But the plates on the dinosaur were more than just defensive features. They also served as thermoregulators, helping the dinosaur regulate its body heat in the harsh climate of the Jurassic.

There’s also a chance that the dinosaur used these plates for display purposes.

The distinctive array of plates and spikes makes the Stegosaurus one of the most instantly recognizable dinosaurs. 


coolest dinosaurs
Tyrannosaurus rex 3D illustration / Warpaintcobra via Istock
Name MeaningTyrant Lizard King
Pronunciationtie-RAN-uh-SAWR-us rex
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda
Height4–6 meters (13–20 feet)
Length12–15 meters (39–49 feet)
Weight6–9 metric tons (13227–19841.6)
LocationNorth America

It’s impossible to talk about cool dinosaurs without mentioning one of the most iconic dinosaurs of all, the Tyrannosaurus rex, or T-Rex.

As the poster child for carnivorous dinosaurs of the Cretaceous, the T-Rex had all the qualities of an apex predator.

This includes enormous jaws and sharp, serrated teeth capable of crushing bone.

In addition to being one of the biggest land predators to have ever lived, one of the coolest things about T. rex was its powerful bite force.

Scientists have estimated the bite force of the T. rex to be as much as 12,800 pounds, making it one of the strongest biters in history. 

Expectedly, the Tyrannosaurus rex was the ultimate apex predator of its time, capable of preying on a variety of herbivorous dinosaurs like Triceratops and Edmontosaurus.

Its combination of massive size, sheer strength, and powerful bite made it a formidable and efficient predator.


coolest dinosaurs
Spinosaurus roaring 3D Render / Warpaintcobra via Istock
Name MeaningSpine Lizard
EraMesozoic – Late Cretaceous
ClassificationDinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda
DietCarnivorous, possibly piscivorous (fish-eating)
Height5–7 meters (16.5–23 feet)
Length12–18 meters (39–59 feet)
Weight7–20 metric tons (15432–44092 lbs)
LocationAfrica (Egypt, Morocco, and Niger)

Dinosaurs with sails on their backs had the coolest looks, and the Spinosaurus is one of the most recognizable creatures in this category.

The dinosaur is known for the distinct sail-like structure on its back, formed by long spines that extended from its vertebrae.

The spines grew as long as 1.65 meters (5.4 feet) long and were covered by a layer of skin and fat.

The dorsal sail was probably used for thermoregulation or for a territorial display to intimidate rivals. 

Spinosaurus and deinonychus in the jungle 3d render - Fringe via Istock
Spinosaurus and deinonychus in the jungle 3d render – Fringe via Istock

The size of this dinosaur is another interesting thing about it.

With a length of up to 14 meters (46 feet), this dinosaur is the longest-known carnivore dinosaur, beating large dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus rex and Giganotosaurus.

Despite this massive size, the Spinosaurus was probably not a terrestrial predator.

Experts believed it lived a semi-aquatic lifestyle, swimming and hunting in the water for fish and aquatic reptiles. 


The dinosaurs on this list had some of the coolest adaptations you’ll find on any creature that has ever lived on the planet.

Although there are still some very cool animals living today, we doubt if there are any of them as cool as these prehistoric icons.

Do you know any fascinating dinosaur that deserves a spot on this list of cool dinosaurs?

Let us know in the comment section below!


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