View Full Version : Primitive humans vs dinosaurs

06-03-2012, 12:38 PM
I am designing a world where there are huge animals, both in the oceans and on land. For ease I'm just refering to them as dinosaurs, but obviously they aren't... They're a fictional class of animals. But for the purposes of this thread they are like dinosaurs. The civilizations in this world are primitive... their heaviest weapons being catapults. But I don't think catapults are fast enough to take down large fast moving predating dinosaurs. Their skins are too thick and strong for spears. They need effective ways to take down dinosaurs... what could they invent?

I can think of a few ways to take them down, like luring them off a cliff or a pit with tree sized spears, burning down a forest with them in it. Heavy ballistas. They take time to deploy though. They aren't very effective if you run into a pack of t-rexes in the field though. Research shows even huge dinosaurs hunted in packs. Ropes between trees could fell them if they're small enough like t-rexes (they'd fall hard and if that isn't enough into huge spears). The huge slow ones can be felled with catapults.

As for the defense of settlements, moats with water or filled with spears and mounted ballistas could come in handy. Settlements bordering on the wilds would need to be effective at repelling or killing them.

Can you guys think of any other ways?

06-03-2012, 12:43 PM
Semi-domesticated herd dinosaurs. They have their own defenses against the predators, and when the T-Rex comes around, it would prefer the larger prey to the bite-sized, stinging humans.

06-03-2012, 02:55 PM
If I were living in that world, I would want to travel in kind of a wheeled landship with its own mounted ballistas, because that's the only thing I can think of that would be any use against a t-rex-type beastie.

06-03-2012, 04:16 PM
Baiting traps would be the most likely way to hunt them... self defense would seem to come down to communities creating spaces too small for large creatures to get through. Poison of extreme efficacy might be the best bet, really, for typical hunting, strike wound and track the dying and ailing dino. Smoke and fire tend to be universally respected by predator and prey alike, but would be more defense. If I were a primitive man looking for a village site I would seek out: caves (obvious), tar pits and/or next to a source of naturally occurring flammable substance, preferably oil. I might even use fat from downed dinos to create an oil that could be pitched onto an attacking critter and set ablaze. Natural sources methane could also be used for fear effect and potentially as defensive weapon. Methane gas contained in, say, a sack created from the intestine of a dino and fused might also prove a form of explosive?

Hand to hand options (so to speak) would be to have several combatants with very long pikes to hold the point, a jab and dash attention getter while striking with atlatl or other projectile to slowly weaken the beast through bleeding or to eventually drive it away. That's not the preferred fight, but in a pinch you try what might work. Critters can be extremely dumb when facing such a situation. A pack of dinos on the other hand... run faster than your neighbor, heh heh.

A fun question!

06-03-2012, 04:21 PM
If the critters are egg-laying ones, then it would be fairly straightforward for intelligent beings to target nests of problematic species. After a hundred years or so, those species just wouldn't be a problem locally.

06-04-2012, 01:14 AM
Poisoned caltrops, whoppin' big ones?

Since *I* don't want to loot T-Rex or velociraptor nests, I'd rather domesticate whatever modest-sized species that already likes big-dinosaur eggs, and help their lives. Maybe paint them some better cammo, or teach them some pack-type or diversionary-attack tactics. They'd make dandy guard-dogs and attack-pets in any human-vs-human conflict as well.

Noise. Everybody knows carnivorous dinosaurs HATE the sound of fingernails (or claws) on a chalkboard, so amp that up with simple parabolic leather-and-stick reflectors and you have a repeller-method. Once you can get them on the run, it is simple work to bison them off a cliff, or lemming them into the ocean. Or even to Brea them into a tarpit, which might have the side effect of making them stick around for dinner (yours instead of theirs).

Catapults too slow? Nope. Even swift carnivores are stationary when feeding (or sleeping). Easy to predict where they will feed, if the feast is a bait animal...

06-04-2012, 12:29 PM
Vietcong armpit trap (those holes with spikes that trap your leg when you step in them).

China had gunpowder at an early date, making explosive warheads a possibility ... Mortars are fairly simple to make once you come up with the basic idea and a need for one.

Greek Fire - (like napalm ... jellied gasoline).

I would check up on the power of a crossbow (they punched through some tough steel armor).

When Hannibal attacked with elephants, hammers with large spikes were used to puncture the skull if the animal panicked (threatening friendly forces).

06-09-2012, 02:03 AM
Yeah, I was gonna suggest Greek Fire and the crossbows, too. =]

Jacks, or Jax. Ever play that as a kid? Anyhoo, I believe it was Alexander the Great who created some really big ones with four points (so one is always facing up) to stop a charge of enemy cavalry. The spike went through the softer bottoms of the horses' hooves. If your beasties didn't break their necks from the fall, they still wouldn't get very far and the people could finish them off. Or they'd probably die of starvation, since hunting would be difficult.

Sorta depends on what type of civilization you have, but sacrificial offerings could be a good alternative to egg smashing. Poisoned, of course.

06-09-2012, 01:30 PM
Greek fire and crossbows aren't primitive. They're the product of advanced, though pre-industrial, societies. How did advanced societies appear in a dinosaur-haunted landscape? How did the dinosaurs survive organized extinction efforts if they were successful in controlling the dinosaurs long enough for humans to become advanced? I think it needs to be postulated that either the dinosaurs or humans are recent immigrants.

06-10-2012, 02:26 AM
Greek fire and crossbows aren't primitive. They're the product of advanced, though pre-industrial, societies. How did advanced societies appear in a dinosaur-haunted landscape? How did the dinosaurs survive organized extinction efforts if they were successful in controlling the dinosaurs long enough for humans to become advanced? I think it needs to be postulated that either the dinosaurs or humans are recent immigrants.

Well, my idea was that humans and more species evolved (intelligence) partly to help them develop methods to combat the megafauna. Also, the continent has some large peninsulas with convenient chokepoints where civilizations started and slowly ridded the peninsulas of the megafauna. The megafauna survives because of the huge amount of them over a huge lush fertile expanse that supports plenty of herbivore prey. Eventually human civilization will expand into "the wilds" behind the chokepoints but only when it is convenient for them because of technology advances, and there has to be a good reason for them to do so, like when they discover useful natural resources. It is currently impractical because they take too much effort to kill, after which one of millions of others will simply take its place. Plus there are many other hazards. Imagine swarms of small land animals that exhibit behavioral patterns similar to hungry piranha.

06-11-2012, 05:26 AM
I was living in world, whitch was almost similiar. Sorry for my bad english, but it is not my national language. Ad rem: We hide and hunt with big hole, where this creatures fall, and we kill it with stone. After that we make balist. but for long time we just hide. It was survival. More hidden survive.

06-15-2012, 08:05 PM
Hello. I'm new here and was perusing the forum, saw your thread, and was fascinated by the idea. This is a similar situation with a world that I was developing a concept for a while ago, although it never got off the ground. I might have a few suggestions for you, though.

There was an old Saturday morning fantasy series once called Land of the Lost, about a family that got sent to a pocket dimension full of dinosaurs, among other things. They took refuge and lived in a cave that was high enough to keep the animals out. Maybe something along this basic concept would work. If there are big and tall predators, just go higher. Perhaps something along the lines of native American tribes who built cliff-side cities, only higher up. Or perhaps there are mega-flora to go with the mega-fauna in your world, like the giant redwoods and sequoia trees, and the humans who lived there remained largely arboreal. There could be tree-house cities above where any of the giant predators could get them. Defense, if necessary, is as easy as dropping rocks, although more complex gravity-propelled weapons could be developed. Large spears with heavily weighted heads dropped from banks of downward-pointing racks. Weighted nets dropped from above to ensnare prey walking underneath.

If you don't like the "elven tree city" route, there might be widely scattered plateaus, like in the American southwest, with communities built on top of them.