In honor of March, the bracket-iest month of the year, The Wire decided to go all out and create a tournament for everything. Every weekday for the rest of the month, we're presenting a different tournament to determine the very best (or worst) thing in a given field. And we're doing it the way that God intended: Bracket showdowns.
We picked the field, but you vote for the winner. Fill out our interactive bracket, round-by-round, to determine the people's champion, then read through our choices to find out who we think is the best of the best. Each day is a new champion!
If you didn't have a favorite dinosaur as a kid, then you were clearly never actually a child. From the T-Rex to the Iguandon, dinosaurs are all pretty much great. But which one is the best? Do you objectify their bodies and choose the one that looks the most badass? Do you ignore the ones that aren't movie stars? No. Like the greatest paleontologists before you, you take the task very seriously indeed.
T-Rex — Look at her teeth before making fun of her tiny arms. Are you sure you want to piss off a Tyrannosaurus Rex?
Ankylosaurus — Name means "fused lizard." A living tank.
Therizinosaurus — One of the strangest dinosaurs you'll ever hear about, the "scythe lizard" is what would happen if Tim Burton remade Edward Scissorhands in the late Cretaceous Period.
Iguanodon — The Iguanodon's spiked thumbs meant that this dino was always giving you a thumbs up.
Apatosaurus — This guy has been living in the shadow of the (FAKE) Brontosaurus thanks to paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh, who frankly wasn't very good at his job. After discovering a much more complete Apatosaurus skeleton than the one he'd seen when he ID'd it, Marsh decided that he'd found a whole new species, and gave it the sexier, "thundering lizard" Brontosaurus name. I'll save my thoughts on Othniel Charles Marsh for when The Wire's editors finally approve my "Best Paleontologist" bracket.
Triceratops — Another classic childhood favorite.
Utahraptor — These American raptors might have grown as large as a polar bear, making them substantially larger than certain other well-known raptors.
Stegosaurus — The Stegosaurus's distinctive double rows of plates on its back made it famous and beloved. But its low brain-to-body ratio suggests that the herbivore was not a particularly intelligent dino.
Spinosaurus — So far, the Spinosaurus is believed to be the largest-known carnivorous dinosaur — bigger than the T-Rex and the Giganotosaurus. It may have fed mainly on fish. But if not, it could probably take on anything.
Pteranodon — So when we proposed the dinosaur bracket here at The Wire, certain staffers couldn't stop suggesting the names of winged reptiles, or pterosaurs. Pterosaurs were not dinosaurs (nor were most marine reptiles, for that matter), but we have graciously made an exception today. Pteranodon was heavily lobbied for in particular, even though it is a lie. Cool head sails, though.
Archeopteryx — Unlike some creatures on this list, the Archeopteryx 1) has wings and 2) is generally classified as a feathered theropod dinosaur and not a pterosaur. Yes, feathered. It's believed to be an early transitional link between modern birds and dinos. Vote for Archeopteryx if you like wings AND truth.
Littlefoot — if we're going to allow winged reptiles onto the list, we might allow fictional dinosaurs as well. Littlefoot is one of the best of the bunch.
Torvosaurus gurneyi — This carnivore is the newest dinosaur we've discovered. He's kind of terrifying: four inch teeth probably mean that the guy preyed on large herbivores.
The Sinclairs — Earl, Fran, Robbie, Charlene and Baby Sinclair get the remaining fictional spot on this list.
Parasaurolophus — The "near crested lizard" herbivore is indeed defined by the distinctive crest on its head.
Velociraptor — Jurassic Park was so great, right? Comedian Dan Telfer, who has his own opinions on the best dinosaur, speaks for all dinosaur nerds when he angrily calls the velociraptor the "Tonya Harding of dinosaurs," and for good reason: the real velociraptor was much smaller, probably up to the knees of an average adult. And it had feathers, not horrible claws. When you picture the terrifying Jurassic Park creature, you're actually thinking of something closer to the Deinonychus. The filmmakers took the good "velociraptor" name, and Frankensteined it with the better body. But society, you've made your bed on this one, and you you have to lie on it. Vote for velociraptor, if you want. Ha ha.
Your vote: Triceratops
The Wire's vote:
T-Rex vs. Apatosaurus. : This one is tough. The Apatosaurus could really use a boost after all of that Brontosaurus nonsense, but the T-Rex is so well-known that you don't even have to use its full name. T-Rex will advance in our bracket.
Ankylosaurus vs. Velociraptor: Velociraptor? NO. Therefore Ankylosaurus moves to the next round.
Utahraptor vs. Torvosaurus: Torvosaurus, we hardly know you, and now is not the time to become better friends. Utahraptor wins.
Archeopteryx vs. Pteranodon: Only one of these is a real dinosaur. Sorry, Wire lobbyists, the Pteranodon will fly off into the sunset while the Archeopteryx faces its next challenge in our bracket.
Triceratops vs. Therizinosaurus: Therizinosaurus's giant scissor hands are no match for the classic elegance of a Triceratops.
Spinosaurus vs. Stegosaurus: The classic loses out this time. Sorry, thebestdinosaur.com, the best dinosaur is not the stegosaurus. Spinosaurus wins this round.
Iguanodon vs Sinclairs: I personally do not like commands from extinct creatures, so the Sinclairs and their "gotta love me" baby will not be advancing.
Littlefoot vs. Parasaurolophus : Littlefoot, proceed.
T-Rex vs. Ankylosaurus: This could be a tough fight for the T-Rex, and for dinosaur fans: between its armor and club-like tail, the Ankylosaurus would likely be capable of delivering some vicious blows to the predator. And the Ankylosaurus is such a cool herbivore, you know? But while a T-Rex might end up with dangerous injuries, a determined predator could succeed. T-Rex.
Utahraptor vs. Archeopteryx: The Archeopteryx is simply too small, and missing the universal appeal of a good raptor. Utahraptor advances.
Triceratops vs. Spinosaurus: If it was inclined, a Spinosaurus's sheer size could make it the easy winner in a physical fight between these two. But Hollywood has been perhaps too generous to Spinosaurus's fighting ability. Let's balance things out and give Triceratops the win.
Iguanodon vs. Littlefoot: We're so sorry, Littlefoot. But the Iguanodon deserves to advance here for its success as a non-fictional creature.
The Final Four
T-Rex vs. Utahraptor: Everybody is going to hate me, but I have my reasons for eliminating Utahraptor. Plus, size would matter in this fight.
Triceratops vs. Iguanodon: Horns > thumbs. Triceratops is our herbivore finalist.
T-Rex vs. Triceratops: Oh what, you expected this to be full of the cool ones you haven't heard of? In a popularity contest, we think these two classics will end up in the final fight, and it's actually a good thing. Unlike many herbivore/carnivore match-ups, evidence has shown that these two did probably meet in the wild, and that Triceratops were capable of surviving these encounters. The Triceratops is our winner.