This page is about the island and its culture. For other uses, see Dinotopia (disambiguation).
“All that once lived, here ever lives” — A Pelledrine poet
Dinotopia was a large island containing several diverse environments including great jungles in the west, sparse plains in the north and dry canyons in the east. Sealed off from the rest of the world by storm-lashed reefs surrounding the island, Dinotopia hosted a wide array of dinosaurs whose ancient wisdom inspired the humans that were shipwrecked on the island over millennia.
Dinotopia consisted of a large main island, a smaller island called the Outer Island and numerous smaller islets and reefs. Dinotopia's capital city was Sauropolis. The "main island" was approx. 240 miles (385 kilometers) in length, and approx. 260 miles (420 kilometers) in breadth. In the center of the "main island" was the Rainy Basin, which with the Great Desert made up most of the island. These two land-marks were separated by the Forbidden Mountains, a huge range that intersected a smaller mountain range called the Backbone Mountains. A truly spectacular place was Waterfall City; It was built in the middle of the Polongo River, a large river that held all the water from the Rainy Basin.
The World Beneath
- Main Article: World Beneath
A vast collection of caverns lie beneath Dinotopia. The dinosaur citizens of Dinotopia used these to survive the world-wide extinction of the dinosaurs on the rest of the world. The World Beneath also was where Sunstones are mined. Arthur Denison goes into the World Beneath through The Portal, in Red Rapid Canyon, which is near Canyon City.
- Main Article: Timeline
Dinotopia originally broke away from Asia and was carried into isolation by continental drift millions of years ago during the Mesozoic era. The dinosaur population of the island survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction that ended the Mesozoic by seeking refuge in the World Beneath some 65 million years ago. During the Ice Ages, a land bridge formed that allowed a vast menagerie of large mammals to cross over and colonize the island, mainly the uplands and the Forbidden Mountains which were inhospitable to the dinosaurs. The first humans arrived on the island nearly 6000 years ago.
4000 years ago, during a period of time known as the Age of Heroes, four major civilizations had formed in Dinotopia; the two Empires of Poseidos and Chandara and the tribal confederations of Pelledrine and Armakia. The Age of Heroes would see the Empire of Poseidos attempt to exert dominance over Dinotopia, warring against Pelledrine and the Saurian Knights. In the final days of the Age of Heroes, the city of Poseidos collapsed under its own weight and sank into Sapphire Bay.
By the time Arthur Denison arrived in Dinotopia roughly 4000 years after the Age of Heroes, national identities such as "Pelledrine", "Armakian" and "Poseidian" had all but disappeared, replaced by the unifying identity of "Dinotopian". The only true cultural traditions and identity remaining other than "Dinotopian" was that of Chandara, which had remained intact as an Empire since the Age of Heroes.
- Main Article: List of Dinotopian fauna
Dinotopia was home to a vast array of animals from numerous different geological periods of the Earth. Many, but not all, of these were dinosaurs and most were sapient.
"Dinotopian" was the name given to a citizen of Dinotopia. The Dinotopian culture was made up of many, many cultures from people of all corners of the globe. Ever since there have been shipwrecks there have been humans living on Dinotopia.
Behind the scenes
When creating Dinotopia, James Gurney considered several different names, such as "Icland", "Volcanda", "Volcaneun", "Canyon Padulong", "Pantopia", "Dinotolia", "Belterra", "Saurotopia", "Poseidos", and "Pelagion", before settling on "Dinotopia". Some of these names came to be recycled as names for locations within Dinotopia, such as Volcaneum and Poseidos.
- Traveler's Map of Dinotopia
- Traveler's Map of Dinotopia
- Dinotopia: First Flight: 20th Anniversary Edition, Backstory Notes