Dinosaur Day

Throughout history, dinosaur bones have been discovered by humans, although they weren’t often recognized for what they actually were. To the ancient Chinese and other cultures around the world, these bones were viewed as the remnants of large dragons or other mythical creatures.

It wouldn’t be until the 17th century that dinosaurs would receive the scientific attention they deserved. This is when dinosaur bones were first officially collected, examined, and cataloged, marking the beginning of the world’s fascination with dinosaurs.

This fascination is evident in our popular movies, culture, and the holidays we observe. One such holiday is Dinosaur Day — a day that falls on June 1st and allows all of us to tap into our inner love for dinosaurs.

The History of Dinosaur Day

Robert Plot is credited with discovering the first dinosaur bone, although people had been finding these bones for thousands of years. Plot, however, did not identify the bones as belonging to a dinosaur. Instead, he thought they were the remains of a giant humanoid, which is certainly not the case.

What he actually found and described was the lower end of a thighbone that belonged to a Megalosaurus. So, no, Plot didn’t find a giant. It wasn’t until William Buckland, an Oxford University professor of geology, that someone correctly identified a dinosaur fossil for what it was.

In 1819, Buckland found some fossils, and five years later, he described them scientifically and named them. Throughout the 19th century, paleontologists searched for fossils, leading to what is now known as The Bone Wars.

Between the 1870s and 1890, Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope had a rivalry to uncover dinosaur bones that eventually led to their ruin. However, the Bone Wars were not a complete loss because they fueled the public’s love affair with dinosaurs—a love affair that exists to this day.

Some Amazing Facts About Dinosaurs

Before we discuss how Dinosaur Day is celebrated, let’s take a moment to list some amazing dinosaur facts.

  • Dinosaur fossils have been found on all seven continents.
  • Currently, there are over 700 known species of dinosaurs, all of which are extinct.
  • Modern birds share a common ancestor with non-avian dinosaurs.

Observing Dinosaur Day

Our recommendation for anyone wishing to observe Dinosaur Day is to visit a museum or other scientific institution where dinosaur facts can be learned. Some of our favorites include the Dinosaur National Monument on the border of Colorado and Utah, the American Museum of Natural History, Dinosaur State Park in Connecticut, the Natural History Museum of London, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.

Of course, not everyone observing this holiday is seeking scientifically accurate depictions of dinosaurs. Some people just want the thrill of dinosaurs. If that’s the case, then the Jurassic World movies are a good place to start. Other movies include The Land Before Time, The Dinosaur Project, and The Good Dinosaur. For everyone celebrating this holiday, we encourage them to spread their love of dinosaurs around the world using the hashtag #DinosaurDay.

When is it?
This year (2024)
June 1 Saturday
Next year (2025)
June 1 Sunday
Last year (2023)
June 1 Thursday