How would cultures adapt to having to deal with large predatory dinosaurs being a part of their ecosystem? Specifically, cultures that are less technologically i.e. without metal.

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    $\begingroup$ Avoid when possible or when actively hunting them, gang around one with spears and torches and drive it into some sort of trap (like a large pit covered in sticks forming a lattice over which leaves are placed. $\endgroup$
    – AngelPray
    Jul 12, 2017 at 0:50
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    $\begingroup$ I'm disappointed that I don't know enough about dinosaurs to answer this question. $\endgroup$
    – ATaco
    Jul 12, 2017 at 0:52
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    $\begingroup$ I like Raquel Welsh's answer. $\endgroup$
    – user25818
    Jul 12, 2017 at 3:34
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    $\begingroup$ Do you mean real dinosaurs or Jurassic World fantasy stuff? Do you mean real dinosaurs that wouldn't be able to survive or do you mean what would happen if humans lived in the Jurassic period? Do you mean birds or those things we find skeletons of? Do you mean by "without metal" that people are farming and making pottery or do you mean levallois level tools? Also it would be nice to know what you think is the main difference between your dinosaurs and current predators. I personally would be most scared by a rhino - a completely different animal - and those even exist in my home town $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Jul 12, 2017 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ I'm imagining feeling vaguely guilty about eradicating all the the tyrannosaurus to make bags, and velociraptor conservationist would be working hard to re-introduce them into the forests. $\endgroup$
    – Nathan
    Jul 12, 2017 at 9:58

6 Answers 6


Take a look at the wikipedia on Lion Hunting, with reference to the tribes people who undertake solo lion hunts with a single spear. A google search on 'lion vs velociraptor'(!) suggests that Lions are more powerful than these intelligent pack hunters.

Also, it seems that Mammoth hunting was commonplace in the stone age. Mammoths are roughly t-rex size.

Conclusion? Stone age man could take down any predator that the dinosaur age had to offer. The really big herbivores may have been harder, simply because of the difficulty of killing something that big (although we hunted whales to near-extinction with pretty basic technology). But their young and eggs would have been easy pickings. Remember that stone age man is not some grunting savage; these are intelligent, planning people who train in the use of their tools and weapons from a very young age.

No doubt some people would have been killed by dinosaurs, but it would have mostly been the other way around. And that's with stone age technology. Once you bring hunting bows and iron tools into the picture it becomes even more one sided.

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    $\begingroup$ @Nzall - I don't think a comparison of humans vs most dinosaurs is appropriate, considering humans are smaller than most dinosaurs. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2017 at 11:07
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    $\begingroup$ To hunt whales to extinction needed cannon mounted on powered boats. Spears from rowing boats were very successful, but didn't they weren't an existential threat. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2017 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ The only predator that gives humans sustained competition is other humans. And insects. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Jul 12, 2017 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget the fossilized humanoid footprints found in Australia. Analysis estimates put the fellow at something like 4' tall, 250 pounds, and running up the beach at over 35MPH if I remember the article about it correctly. Even without weapons that's not someone I'd want to pick a fight with. $\endgroup$
    – Perkins
    Jul 12, 2017 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ "Remember that stone age man is not some grunting savage; these are intelligent, planning people who train in the use of their tools and weapons from a very young age." +1 for pointing this out. Humans are humans. We aren't more intelligent than back then. We just have more outlets to productively use that intelligence in a lasting manner. Granted, I suppose whatever clever man invented bows and torches was probably a real prodigy. Those aren't trivial weaponry/hunting ideas. $\endgroup$
    – user64742
    Jul 12, 2017 at 20:43

Human hunted nearly the vast number of megafauna to extinction, why would dinosaurs be any different, dinosaurs will fear fire just as much as anything else does and fire was our primary weapon. The few predators we did not kill of we drastically reduced the range of, smart trumps nearly any other adaption. Of course thats assume human were actually able to evolve on a savannah with dinosaurs on it. Big predators tend to only survive by avoiding humans either intentionally or accidentally.


Well, considering that Homo evolved in an environment full of predators like lions, wolves and sabertooth tigers, I would say that dinosaurs and men is not a big no no.

First, let's consider that for big bad fellas like T rex and the like, a single human would be just like an olive in a Martini: not enough to grant a sufficient energy intake, as we are not fat enough. They could try to attack a group of humans, but a group is always stronger than a single individual (usually the hunting strategy is to isolate a member of a pack). Definitely not worth the effort, unless the only alternative is starvation or an opportunity meal (like a wounded/elder individual).

Having seen that humans are not worth a systematic effort for the big hunters, let's give a look at the smaller ones. They would be more of a concern, as a single human would be a valuable meal and also could not massively rely on hiding in places where size matter for access. In such a case the ability to control fire and to act as a group would prove useful, again. Not a clear superiority, but enough to make humans and small hunting dinosaurs avoid each other as much as possible.

To summarize, developing in a world with dinosaurs would strengthen the group culture and the social binding.

  • $\begingroup$ The strengthening of group behavior and culture is the natural response to the selection pressures of co-existing with dinosaurs. Listening to a recent talk on tyrannosaurs convinces they would be more formidable and terrifying. If our species survived & thrived in such an environment, we'd have to worj together both hard and well. Plus one. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jul 12, 2017 at 7:09
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    $\begingroup$ Humans would hunt, kill and eat Tyrannosaurs, and any other large carnivore you can think of. No creature has ever been as deadly a killer as our stone age ancestors; except our gun-owning selves. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Jul 12, 2017 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ @kingledion, I looked at it more from the pray side. But also the predator perspective would work in the direction of strengthening the group culture, having to kill a T Rex with stones and sticks... $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Jul 12, 2017 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ indeed, bears are strong enough to kill any human today except an experienced hunter with a gun who catches the bear unaware, but bears still don't actively hunt humans, and actively try to avoid us if possible. They only ever attack a human when cornered or startled. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Jul 12, 2017 at 15:45

Some of these dinosaurs are social, so I would definitely try to tame them. Instead of hunting dogs, one might get hunting velociraptors. The herbivorous ones could become awesome beasts of burden. I would make a big lance out of a hard tree, tie it to my brontosaurus and charge against my enemies or prey.

Or I could use my tame dinosaur to make sling three traps or dig holes for the T-Rexes.

As others pointed out, small dinosaurs can be dealt with spears, the way Maasai hunters deal with lions. The main problem in this world is that humans would have too much meat to eat, so we'd all end up tall like the basketball players.

  • $\begingroup$ Down Dino! Good boy. $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2017 at 9:42

These answers are seriously delusional in my opinion. There's a very good reason the only mammals around at the time of the dinosaurs were small shrewlike things that were only able to survive by hiding in holes.

Yes obviously modern humans would easily wipe out dinosaurs with the type of firepower we have today, but if you're talking about humans being able to co-exist with dinosaurs in the stone-age equivalent, there is absolutely no chance. We would have just been a tasty hors d'oeuvres to a hungry T-Rex. Doesn't matter if you have spears or arrows against a beast as big and savage as that, he's gonna get you. Thinking we could cope because we managed against lions with spears and fire is just crazy. Lion= 190kg, TRex = 8 tons. So that's something 42 times bigger, still think humans have a chance?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding.SE Jynn! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Jul 13, 2017 at 9:56
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    $\begingroup$ The difference in size between an T-rex and a human make the human not a good prey for a not starving T-rex (a T-rex really starving might hunt human but only if it's desperate, if not, there is not enough food on a human) . On the other hand a T-rex would feed a lot of human and we hunt (and drove to extinction) a lot of big animals during prehistory. $\endgroup$
    – nefas
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ I don't like "enough said" answers, but here it is: sciencemag.org/news/2016/01/… $\endgroup$
    – user9981
    Jul 13, 2017 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ So that's his walking speed which is a marathon runners speed, doesn't say anything about his running speed. I'm not sure the point you're making? $\endgroup$
    – BMills
    Jul 13, 2017 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Jynn 4.5-8km/h is not a marathon runner's speed. It's my speed when I go to work or do my morning jog. $\endgroup$
    – user9981
    Jul 17, 2017 at 18:57

Assuming your world has a climate similar to earth's, I would think the humans would congregate in areas avoided by dinosaurs, such as the colder regions in the poles. Additionally, they would avoid permanent, large communities because they would be unable to defend them. Even well-fortified castles, I would think, wouldn't work because large predators would just wait outside for a snack. I doubt your humans would actually hunt dinosaurs because killing one would then force them to defend the carcass against more dinosaurs. I would think they would be scavengers who also hunted smaller animals. To survive, your humans would have to copulate like mad, in the way rabbits do, to overcome the tremendous losses they would suffer. Finally, I would think their culture would stress the value of protecting the group and focus less on individual worth. One last thought, it might be that they would be so busy fighting for survival that they would not have the time or the energy to develop a complicated culture.

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    $\begingroup$ Nah. We hunted Mastadon and sabre-tooth tiger to extinction. Elephants and whales were hunted by stone-age man. We'd hunt the dinosaurs, not the other way round. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2017 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ Dinosaurs would not lay siege to a well-fortified castle and just be able to "wait for a snack". Medieval defenders could last years even in the face of well-organized, well-provisioned besiegers. A hungry dinosaur will find food elsewhere. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2017 at 13:50
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know if the world you describe is over populated by dinos, or Jumanji.. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2017 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ I agree stone-age man is perfectly capable of hunting and killing large beasts. I only suggest that those in this particular world might be forced to become scavengers -- in the same way, for example, hyenas are primarily scavengers -- because I anticipate them being driven away from such kills by numerous and well-distributed large meat eaters. Perhaps I am over estimating the number of meat-eating dinosaurs one could expect in such a world. $\endgroup$
    – Adam Orth
    Jul 13, 2017 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ You've fallen prey to the "Ultra-Persistent Predator" trope. Actual predators will lose interest in a prey that's hard to reach rather quickly, especially if they have another option. This is even stronger when the predator in question needs to expend a lot of energy to maintain the "hunt" - cold-blooded predators (e.g. snakes) can afford to be a lot more patient than bears or dinosaurs, just like waiting in ambush affords you more time than actually running after a gazelle. And that's assuming humans will patiently sit and wait for it to leave, rather than, say, throwing rocks at it. $\endgroup$
    – Luaan
    Jul 13, 2017 at 9:17

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