The Origin Story Of Iconic Dino Chicken Nuggets

dino chicken nuggets
dino chicken nuggets - The Image Party/Shutterstock

Anyone born from the mid-1990s to the present won't remember a time before dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. From inception, these themed plate toppers have been a popular choice with both children and adults. But what do dinosaurs have to do with chicken, and how has this particular shape of nugget stood the test of time? After all, the breaded goodies have been a freezer staple for over 30 years now.

The story of how dino chicken nuggets got their start is a bit hazy, but one thing we know for sure is they firmly launched onto the scene around the same time the original "Jurassic Park" movie hit theaters. Coincidence? Maybe. But then again, probably not. Let's face it: Humans have always had a fascination with the extinct archosaur inhabitants. So, it's no surprise the iconic prehistoric creatures made their way from the toybox to the dinner table. Perhaps it's more of a surprise it took so long.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

History Of The Dino Chicken Nugget

Jurassic Park sign
Jurassic Park sign - Ishootphotosllc/Getty Images

Search the origin of the product, and you'll find some conflicting information. For example, the Museum of Natural History in New York announced the upcoming addition of dino-shaped nuggets to its "Dinersaurus" cafe in June of 1993. This was the same week the original Jurassic Park film was released, ushering in a flood of dino-related products. It's easy to imagine this combination of events was the launching point for the iconic treat, but in reality, the history goes back further.

More than two years earlier, Perdue Farms Incorporated filed a trademark for an image that "consists of a three-dimensional dinosaur-shaped configuration of a breaded chicken nugget." This was during an era when Perdue was already producing fun-shaped nuggets, so the question really becomes whether the decision to delve into dino-shapes was a natural progression or a foreshadowing of the popularity of the movie, which wouldn't be released for a couple more years. Talk of the movie was well underway due to the success of Michael Crichton's book, released in 1990, and Universal Studio's instant purchase of the film rights. However, Perdue hasn't placed a hard claim on the invention of dino chicken nuggets, so it leaves much up to interpretation.

The Joys Of The Nugget

Stacked chicken nuggets
Stacked chicken nuggets - SerPhoto/Shutterstock

While the history of dino-shaped nuggets is somewhat murky, the invention of chicken nuggets themselves is generally credited to Cornell University agricultural scientist Robert C. Baker in 1963, although he didn't patent his pressed-and-breaded creation. Instead, he mailed the recipe to hundreds of food production companies, many of which saw its value and were handsomely rewarded monetarily. In hindsight, it's easy to see their contribution today, especially when you consider how versatile a package of frozen chicken nuggets can be. Of course, chicken nuggets are also a popular fast food item, which we happily tested and ranked from worst to best.

Although dinosaur-shaped nuggets are now commonplace, and perhaps the top choice of youth, chicken nuggets can, of course, take many shapes. Whether you prefer stars, cartoon characters, animals, round, oval, or sticks, nuggets are a dunkable treat that aren't going anywhere. While there may be debates around the best shape as it pertains to texture, surface area, crispy edges, meaty center, or dunkability, perhaps the winning argument simply goes to the dino fun factor. Plus, challenge any kid to a game of name that dinosaur, and you'll likely lose due to the educational value of this iconic gem. If you're up for another challenge, consider competing for the Guinness World Record for the most chicken nuggets eaten in one minute.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.