Dinosaur Day and International Dinosaur Day - The Mysterious Origins - Fossil Crates

Dinosaur Day and International Dinosaur Day - The Mysterious Origins


Origins of Dinosaur Day and International Dinosaur Day

Origins of the 3rd Tuesday of May and June 1st as Dinosaur Days

Dinosaurs are so cool they have TWO days set aside for their awesomeness, June 1st and the 3rd Tuesday of May, seemingly by decree of the public. I think I've figured out the origin of the 3rd Tuesday of May Dinosaur Day (aka International Dinosaur Day) and have a strong hypothesis for the origins of the June 1st day.  Let's dive into what I was able to discover.

Third Tuesday in May International Dinosaur Day

The 3rd Tuesday of May was seemingly first celebrated in 2016 by what appears to be an elementary school teacher named Duane McDonal of Florida.  I have found no "International Dinosaur Day" before 2015.  No social media hashtags, no internet forum posts, nothing.  However, the websites that talk about all the fun, not-government-official holidays share the same origin story, which actually has nothing to do with the origins of the day but rather simply reswizzle the words from an October 8th, 2015 post about the word dinosaur's origin on a Facebook page dubbed International Dinosaur Day.

Here is the oldest appearance I was able to find on it:

From the page, International Dinosaur Day on October 8th, 2015 (the day of the page's creation):

"Beginning on May 17th, 2016 the first International Dinosaur Day will be celebrated. Our goal is to encourage student interest in Science, all things Fossilized and certainly all things Dinosaur. Join in your own capacity and help promote this new celebration to help students all over the world develop a deeper interest in Dinosaurs and the peripheral fields of Scientific Endeavor."

On March 18th, 2016 the page posted: 
"This date was selected by Teachers to encourage student interest in Dinosaurs and the peripheral fields of Science over the summer break. The 3rd Tuesday is after all the high stakes testing and before the summer break from school." 

April 17th, 2017, from the aforementioned Facebook page:

"Please encourage your staff/administrators to put International Dinosaur Day on the calendar!
I hear often that U.S. students are not where they should be when compared to students of the world. The goal of International Dinosaur Day is in part to encourage TEACHERS and Parents to instill a love of the various fields of Science via those fantastic creatures that once roamed the earth. As students are thinking about summer fun, field trips wouldn’t it be nice if they wanted to visit museums and libraries and planned field trips? Remember that International Dinosaur Day is the third Tuesday in May. In 2017 it is on May 16th! Spread the Word"


And this gem, from a man named Duane McDonal responding to an error in an article:

Thank you for your posting on International Dinosaur Day, which is tomorrow. The only uncorrected error in your posting is that the day is celebrated on the third Tuesday in May, not always on the same date. Here is the official synopsis: International Dinosaur Day is an annual event celebrated on the third Tuesday in May. It was started by teachers to generate interest in Dinosaurs and the related subjects of Math, Science, Reading and the related subjects as well. Art, creativity, speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Music and even Physical Education can be enhanced with Dinosaurs as the subject matter. Students on the Autism Spectrum are very often keenly aware of Dinosaurs. The third Tuesday in May was selected as it is after all the high stakes testing and just before all of the End of the School Year hoopla. Celebrating International Dinosaur Day prior to summer break will also spur an interest in visiting museums, libraries and natural areas as students seek to know more about these fascinating creatures and all extinct animals. These endeavors will in turn help to promote conservation of our remaining natural resources."

My conclusion is that, from the minds of a teacher and his colleagues in Florida (as best I can tell), a holiday has taken off!  After all, who doesn't love to celebrate dinosaurs and why argue?  :-)


June 1 Dinosaur Day

The earliest I can find of June 1st being a "Dinosaur Day" is a June 1, 2016 post at Joe Wos' Mazetoons.com site (now defunct). I believe this is the beginnings of the June 1st date here. The link no longer works, but the text content can be read via Internet Archive here.

Looking at his other posts, his format was “catchy title, date.”



It doesn’t appear he was looking to create a June 1 day of dinosaur celebration. Rather, June 1 was simply the day he posted his blog about dinosaur mazes, a date that made sense for his schedule.

His first blog post, on October 25th, 2015, was entitled “Theme Park Maze Toons.” Though only 17 days after "International Dinosaur Day" was proclaimed, I suspect he started blogging as a way to market his books and was unaware of the Florida teachers push for International Dinosaur Day. Alas, I have been unable to locate Joe to collect his recollections.

His blog title, “Happy Dinosaur Day,” is the kind of fun title I would write, not thinking about any possible downstream repercussions such as the creation of a holiday to be forever commemorated on the internet a few years later. The title celebrates the blog’s content, which was about his history with creating dinosaur mazes.

So how did June 1 become a dinosaur day of celebration? I suspect search engine results pages combined with a universal love of dinosaurs requiring no reason to celebrate creates the day literally out of thin electrons :-).

Oversimplified, search engines consider a blog’s full title and accompanying metadata when providing results. Presuming he added SEO metadata, (likely the case), then searching “dinosaur day” would yield a top hit for his blog post, which would read something like “Happy Dinosaur Day! June 1” in the results. Most seeing that would assume June 1 was a “holiday,” not read the entire article, and the. share their love of dinosaurs, all without verifying anothing. Cynical I know, and a reason search engine AI synopses terrify me (I digress…).

Searching for hashtags on social media sites doesn't produce any kind of concerted use of #DinosaurDay before 2019. The first use of any #dinosaurday#### that I could find appeared on June 1st, 2018 in the form of #dinosaurday2018. The hashtag appeared in but a single post that year and is two years after his blog. Even in 2016, if one wanted to “push” something, hashtags on social media platforms were the way to go, yet there is but a single use of that hashtag through 2018.

However, individuals searching for “dinosaur day” or “International Dinosaur Day” likely would have been offered his blog post as a result on the first page as people weren’t bidding for the phrase “dinosaur day” via the auctions.

Seeing “Happy Dinosaur Day! June 1” I believe would cause most readers to presume that was the official date for a “holiday”. I haven’t been able to prove it but I presume a search engine marketeer optimizing website traffic noticed people searching for "dinosaur day," did a quick search themselves, saw both dates, then wrote an article to lead to people to click on their site. One of the “holiday” sites may even embraced it as a way to garner more clicks! I haven’t found “blog zero” yet, though.

I'm open to any info should someone know its origins.  For now I'm going with Joe Wos’ blog post celebrating his mazes with a title that a non-critical eye could interpret as a day to celebrate dinosaurs. 

Thank you kindly!


(updated June 1, 2024)

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