The song features a tight, funky sound, punctuated by horns and a cowbell, along with what sounds like cavepeople chanting in the background.
When released in the UK in 1987, the song reached no. 10 on the singles chart, becoming the group's first UK top 10 hit. The music video featured four scantily clad 'cavewomen' dancing to the song while a Flintstones style TV played clips from Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur. Modern people danced to the song in the "Everybody kill the dinosaur" part. The video received heavy rotation on MTV. The song reached no. 7 on the US chart in 1989, two years after its UK success. The song became the band's biggest hit single in their home country.
According to an interview with co-writer Randy Jacobs, it "was an infectious sing-along with a Flintstonesque video that probably got played on MTV way too much. But even that seemingly good-time anthem had a dark side. [...] The song’s about nuclear Armageddon. It became a dance (anthem) because of the video. They connected it with the girls in the little Pebbles and Bam-Bam outfits. All the sudden it became, like, 'do the mashed potato' or 'the twist.'"
This song appeared on the trailer of the 1996 film Theodore Rex.
This song appeared on the TV spot of the 2000 film Dinosaur.
There is a famous shock site called walkthedinosaur.com which plays this song in an endless loop as a pornographic gif of two dinosaurs play out.
In 2011, a cover of Walk the Dinosaur was included in the animatronic show at Chuck E. Cheese's[clarification needed]. The band members poked fun at the ambiguity of the name Was (Not Was).
Queen Latifah recorded a version of the song for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009). The lyric "slave" was replaced in her version with "friend" to make the song more family-friendly. However, It was not included on the official soundtrack. It was produced by Cool & Dre.
A popular prank on the 4chan internet message board sees users post long-winded, seemingly true stories, only to end abruptly and unresolved with the out-of-context lyrics, "Open the door, get on the floor/Everybody walk the dinosaur" (similar to a shaggy dog story).