Science Fiction Round 54: Your Very Own Pet Triceratops
I’ve been playing a game called ARK: Survival Evolved lately, and I have some thoughts as a result.
The basic premise of the game is that you’re dropped, all-but-naked and initially alone onto an island… which is teaming with extinct fauna.
Which, naturally, includes dinosaurs. I’ve been enjoying the game a lot, but getting repeatedly eaten by giant vulture isn’t for the faint of heart.
A note of warning: the game has intensely good graphics… which can barely run on my computer, with all the quality properties turned all the way down. (Hardware note: my laptop is about three years old, so newer machines may do much better.)
Why Is Everything So Big?
On the plus side, at least they acknowledge in the dossiers that the animals they use aren’t exactly what the real ones would have looked like. For example, the triceratops is a cross with another ceratopsian species, so that it can have both the horns and a fancy, spiky frill.
But, in my opinion, the biggest stretch is just how big many of the creatures are. Some (such as the pteranodon and giant frog) have been enlarged in order to make them rideable. Which I can understand, I suppose; it’s kind of fun to be able to fly over the island.
Worse, they’re planning to add a titanosaur that’s even bigger than the brontosaurus. I just… wow. Wow. Why? They’re already huge. Sure, you want to build stuff on top of them, to turn them into mobile fortresses, but you can already do something like that with an elephant-sized animal. There’s really no need to super-size the sauropods.
Your Very Own Pet Triceratops
You can actually raise a dinosaur from an egg.
I have found this altogether too entertaining. (In case you are wondering, my growing triceratops is named Piker. Aw, isn’t she cute? No, no, don’t poke me…)
This led me to consider: what would it be like to have a triceratops for a pet? As a baby, I’m sure it would be small and cute. A lot of animal allergies are reactions to saliva, dander, dust, or other material caught in fur or feathers, so they might be good for avoiding allergens. I haven’t found anything that indicates for sure whether triceratops had feathers or not, but they probably weren’t as fluffy, or sneeze-inducing, as kittens are.
They would eat a lot, though — lots and lots of plants. From the Wikipedia description, it’s a bit uncertain what they actually ate, but they had so many teeth that the groups of teeth are referred to as “batteries”. The teeth themselves remind me of those of elephants.
And then, of course, the triceratops gets bigger… about 8 meters, or 25 feet, in length. I don’t think that will fit in my apartment.
In short, unless you’re on an island teeming with dangerous animals, or you’ve managed to genetically engineer a miniature triceratops, it probably wouldn’t be a good pet unless you’re living somewhere with lots of space.