Dinotopia is an isolated landmass somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The mainland is a large island accounting for roughly 90% of Dinotopian topography. A smaller landmass called The Outer Island houses the rest of Dinotopia's inhabitants, while a series of reefs and islets dot the coastline. This series of coral reefs and islets makes traditional maritime navigation next to impossible, effectively trapping the island's inhabitants.
The World Beneath
About 65 million years ago Dinosaurs used a vast network of caverns beneath Dinotopia to escape extinction. Over time these Dinosaurs evolved into highly intelligent creatures (to varying degrees) and came to call these caverns The World Beneath. Holding a high place in Dinotopia's myth and history, the caverns are where many Dinosaurs go to die because the sun is said to sleep there at night. The total discovery of the caverns is the obsession of Arthur Denison. Legend says that a half-man half-ceratopsian being called Ogthar climbed down to the caves and stole pieces of the sun, creating the sunstones. With their power he created the empire of Poseidos and populated it with mechanical dinosaurs. However the sea became angry with Ogthar and his artificial city and dragged it down beneath the waves. Arthur has postulated that this could be the origin of the Atlantis myth.
Climate and Ecosystem
Dinotopia is home to an extremely diverse ecosystem given its relatively small surface area. Each ecosystem is carefully monitored and protected by a pairing of humans and animals. These "Habitat Partners" are responsible for the well being of each region in question. The monitors are as follows:
Aerial: Oolu and Lightwing watch weather, rainfall, pollen, and dust.
Forest: Bracken and Fiddlehead watch the renewal of woodlands and jungles.
Alpine: Moraine and Bigtusk watch glaciers, tundra, high meadows and sulfur vents.
Desert: Dorsolith and Seco watch sand dunes, erosion, and water management.
Freshwater: Magnolia and Paddlefoot watch swamps, lakes, and rivers.
Savanna: Draco and Highjump watch grasses, reeds, insects, and soils.
Beaches and Bays: Dolphins are responsible for watching the coastline and bringing any shipwrecked humans to shore. In fact Dinotopia's human population is descended from a dolphin rescue in one way or another. Newcomers to the island are called "Dolphinbacks".
The majority of the island is made up of something called the "Rainy Basin". This is where carnivorous dinosaurs live and hunt. They are cut off from the rest of Dinotopia due to their instinctual need to hunt. However they are also highly intelligent and respectful of life, often waiting for prey to die of natural causes before consuming it.
Dinotopia's human inhabitants are all either shipwrecked newcomers rescued by dolphins or descended from such arrivals. The human population often falls into cultural regions based on their ancestral circumstances. This creates highly diverse regional sensibilities linked together by dinosaur culture. Denizens are often described by their ancestry and previous generations to live on the island. For example the first human Will and Arthur were able to converse with on coming to the island was a man named Alec Orchardwine. He described himself as "fifteen mothers English" alluding to the fact that fifteen generations ago his English ancestors arrived on the island. The generational gap and cultural mixing have blended together numerous languages into one common tongue on Dinotopia. Written language is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Dinotopian culture as it was adapted by Dinosaurs to enable inter-species communication and eventually a common human/dinosaur language.
Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Mammals
The majority of the island's inhabitants are descendants or prehistoric dinosaurs, hence the name Dinotopia. After surviving the dinosaur cataclysm in the World Beneath, the islands population slowly evolved over millions of years. However instead of physical or mechanical changes Dinosaurs slowly gained higher intelligence even going so far as to develop their own cross species language. With the arrival of humans some hundreds of years ago, dinosaurs managed to harmoniously sync with human culture and industry. The result was a total equilibrium in human dinosaur relations. Virtually every species of dinosaur know to the fossil record survived and thrived on Dinotopia as well as a few unknown species.
Dinosaurs aren't the only prehistoric fauna to be found on Dinotopia. in the Forbidden Mountains ice age mammals can be found serving in a similar role to their cold blooded counterparts below. Woolly Mammoths, Saber-Toothed Tigers, Giant Ground Sloths and more live in the higher and considerably cooler regions of Dinotopia.