There were many depictions of dinosaurs in popular books, and scientific ones, wallowing in swamps, or squatting as if barely able to support their gargantuan bodies. Walking dinosaur costume Some particularly memorable examples, such as O. C. Marsh’s Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus, reinforced these conceptions. Both had enormous bodies and the tiniest of brains (even Marsh remarked in disbelief at the ‘walnut-sized’ brain cavity of his Stegosaurus). So lacking in brainpower was Stegosaurus that it was deemed necessary to invent a ‘second brain’, in its hip region, to act as a sort of back-up or relay station for information from distant parts of its body, dinosaur costume thus confirming the ‘stupid’ and ‘lowly’ status of dinosaurs beyond reasonable doubt.
While the weight of comparative evidence undoubtedly sustained this particular perception of the dinosaur, it ignored, or simply glossed over, contradictory observations: many dinosaurs, such as little Compsognathus (Figure 14), were known to be lightly built and designed for rapid movement. By implication they should have had rather un-reptile-like levels of activity.
Armed with this battery of prevailing opinion and Ostrom’s observations and interpretations based on Deinonychus, it is easier to appreciate how this creature must have been challenging his mind. Deinonychus was a relatively large-brained, animatronic animal fast-moving predator capable of sprinting on its hind legs and attacking its prey – common sense said that this was no ordinary reptile.