Despite the myth’s prevalence, it is impossible that dinosaur remains led to oil deposits
A recent TikTok video states: “If oil is made from dinosaur fossils… and plastic is made from oil… then are plastic dinosaurs made from real dinosaurs?” You’ve probably heard that oil is made from the remains of dinosaurs buried millions of years ago becomes. This may lead you to think that you are putting remains of a velociraptor or tyrannosaur Rex in your car’s gas tank. But as widespread as this belief is, it is not true. Oil did not come from the decaying bodies of ancient dinosaurs.
Norwegian geologist Reidar Müller from the University of Oslo is fed up with this myth and has published an article (in Norwegian) debunking it. “Oil is created from billions of tiny algae and plankton,” explains Müller. The myth may have arisen because “we found skeletons of large prehistoric reptiles such as plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs in the same layer as the oil found in Svalbard, Norway.” However, these remains cannot explain the amount of oil present. “Some oil may come from them,” says the geologist.
When algae and plankton died tens or hundreds of millions of years ago, they sank to the ocean floor, where they accumulated and were buried by layers upon layers of sediment. Eventually, after millions of years in a high-pressure, low-oxygen environment, the algae and plankton were “cooked” into this sticky black oil that humans apparently can’t get enough of, despite the impending emergency. Climate. From there it seeps upward until it hits rocks it can’t penetrate, forcing humans to drill it (or some other natural disaster releases it again).
Although marine dinosaurs could end up at the bottom of the ocean after they died, it is unlikely that they were turned into oil. This is partly because converting organic matter into oil requires a low-oxygen environment. Once dead, they would have become food for smaller aquatic creatures, which would have ripped them to the bone long before they could be buried.