The Chief Elder, also known as the Elder-in-Chief, presides over the government of Pangaea in Dinosaurs. The Council of Elders is often mentioned throughout the course of the series, but first appears in "The Golden Child." In this earliest appearance, the elders are a group of shrouded figures, who all speak with the same commanding voice and appear to have near mystical properties.
In subsequent appearances, though the robes occasionally resurfaced, the council of elders had been modernized. The council now seemed to be a closer analogue to the United States Senate or Congress, with the Chief Elder in a role akin to that of president, an elected official rather than a member of an ancient order, allowing for greater satirical relevance. Pangaea appeared to have a very high turnover rate regarding the position of Chief Elder. Played in all but one incarnation by a hand-puppet Unisaur, the earliest individual holder of the title appeared in "Nuts to War," parts one and two. A frilled and bespectacled dinosaur, the Chief Elder plunges Pangaea into war with the dinosaurs across the swamp over nut supplies, recanting his position only after casualties affect his popularity.
In "And the Winner Is...," the Chief Elder (a full-bodied green dinosaur) has regained some mystique, clad again in robes and presidng over the traditional infant-naming ceremony. His sudden death by heart attack while naming Baby Sinclair leads to an emergency election. Earl Sinclair and B.P. Richfield are the chief candidates, but commentator Edward R. Hero is elected instead. Hero's puppet, a crinkly almost humanoid Unisaur, would be recycled for all subsequent chief elders, with different voices and slight alterations in hue and costume. In "Baby Talk," a council of multiple elders, functioning in a manner akin to the Supreme Court, is seen, with no clear designation as to the Chief Elder.
A suited Chief Elder returns to the vitriolic politicking of his "Nuts to War" predecessor in "Green Card," blaming the slumping economy on the four-legged dinosaurs, and then on amphibians. This Chief Elder would return in "Working Girl." In "The Greatest Story Ever Sold," the Chief Elder is joined by two other elders, and debates the question of an established belief system for Pangaea, ultimately deciding in favor of The Great Potato as national deity. The Chief Elder's final "appearance" occurs off-screen, praising Earl's exposure of Georgie in "Georgie Must Die."
- George Gaynes (voice) and Steve Whitmire (puppeteer) in "From Nuts to War"
- Sam McMurray (voice) as the dying elder in "And the Winner Is..."
- Joe Flaherty (voice) and Mak Wilson (puppeteer) in "Green Card"
- Tim Curry (voice) and Allan Trautman (puppeteer) in "The Greatest Story Ever Sold."
- Flaherty and Trautman in "Working Girl"