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Dinobot Island is a small island located in the middle of Lake Erie. Once a military research facility, the island is now the home to the Dinobots, where they live in peace away from fossil feeders and Autobots and is also the (second) crash site of the Autobot ship.
Transformers Animated cartoon
Initially, Prowl took Bulkhead to the island to train him in martial arts. After the two Autobots liberated the Dinobots, they left them on the island, feeling that they would be safe and happier there.
When evidence arose that the Dinobots were responsible for the kidnapping of Sari Sumdac, Prowl and Bulkhead traveled to Dinobot Island, with Captain Fanzone following them. The three discovered that Prometheus Black had set up a base there and used his acid touch to enslave the Dinobots. Black was attempting to develop a method to create transformable humans, and the island provided privacy and security in the form of the Dinobots. When Captain Fanzone restrained Black in one of his own protective suits, the Dinobots extended their resignations to Black, and proceeded to beat the slag out of Colossus Rhodes and two earlier test subjects. Black and Rhodes were taken into custody, while the mutants' fates were unspecified. They may have been left on the island...or Grimlock is using their bones to pick his teeth.
When Optimus Prime learned that the Dinobots were alive, Bulkhead and Prowl took him to Dinobot Island to try and convince the Dinobots to help them fight off the Decepticons. Grimlock had a "frag off" kind of attitude toward the Autobots, saying that the Dinobots didn't need robots to fight, but would rather destroy robots. Prime reminded the Dinobots that they were also robots...which seemed to cause them to fight amongst themselves. When Grimlock gives an order, the Dinobots follow it to the letter.
When the Decepticons Megatron, Lugnut, and Blitzwing shot down the Autobots' ship, the vessel crashed into Dinobot Island's caldera. The Autobots were able to defeat the Decepticons, but the AllSpark was dispersed in the process. There was no sign of the normally territorial Dinobots. Maybe they were too busy beating each other up...
Later, Optimus led the suspicious Ultra Magnus and Sentinel Prime to Dinobot Island to prove that there had actually been a battle with the Decepticon's over the AllSpark. They quickly encountered the Dinobots. Optimus warned against provoking them, but Sentinel was eager for a fight. Grimlock proceeded to smack Sentinel around until Ultra Magnus interrupted Grimlock's fun with lightning from his hammer. However not long after the Dinobots withdrew, the merry band turned around to answer a call for help from the rest of the Autobots at the Sumdac Robot Plant.
When the Autobots discover that Meltdown escaped by the help of the Dinobots, Optimus, Bumblebee and Prowl go to investigate the matted on the island. However, Prowl and Bumblebee are attacked by Blackarachnia, who had wound up ashore on the island after the Autobot's fight with Megatron and was taken in (and worshiped) by the Dinobots, along with examining Meltdown's lab. Bribing Optimus with an antidote for her venom, she has Grimlock and the Autobot steal Meltdown's genetic modifier for her 'cure' to become machine again. After being double crossed by Meltdown (who wanted to make her all organic to experiment on her), Optimus manages to defeat Meltdown after the villain comes in contact with his genetic modifier and is reduced to a liquid state. After being rescued, Blackarachnia uses Optimus to make Grimlock jealous and attacks Optimus, while the sneaky spider manages to escape. When discovering that she has disappeared, Grimlock begs her to return and professes his love for her, but it is too late. Can't a Dinobot get any love around here?
After Bulkhead constructs another plasma dynamic thruster, he uses it on the Constructicons and the exploding oil tank and were teleported near Dinobot Island. The Dinobots witness the explosion over Lake Eerie from a safe distance, enjoying the the fireworks in the process.
After tracking Wasp to Dinobot Island, Sentinel orders Jetfire and Jetstorm to create a diversion to distract the Dinobots while he sneaks inside Blackaracnia's lab. After overhearing Blackarachnia's plan of using him as a guinea pig for her own personal experiments, Waspinator chases down the spider, all the while his unstable body sparks with transwarp energy. In the end, Blackarachnia sacrifices herself as she cocoons Waspinator in herself to save the Autobots from being destroyed. As a result, the transwarp explosion takes the caldera that was in the heart of the island and replaces it with a crater-like lake. Between that and being defeated by flying Autobots, Grimlock is unsure what to be more angry about...
When Soundwave brainwashes Detroit's civilians and the Autobots during Christmas, Sari Sumdac seeks help from the Dinobots to rescue her friends and family from the Decepticon's control. After a brief confrontation with them, the Dinobots (as usual) refuse to help the technorganic. When Sari notices that one of the Dinobots is missing, Grimlock mentions that he is not talking to him as he is a traitor for being someone's "pet". Sari later encounters Scrapper, who had been stranded on the island for 48 days while searching for his buddies, and his new "pet". After reminding him that he is a Constructicon, she finally convinces him to construct a raft to get off Dinobot Island and helps form the Substitute Autobots to stop Soundwave.
Although no real islands in Lake Erie are volcanic in origin, as Dinobot Island seems to be, one possible inspiration may be West Sister Island. Like Dinobot Island, it is an uninhabited wilderness preserve (except for a lighthouse), described as having a "jungle"-like environment, was previously the site of US military operations, has been used as a hideout by criminals and is notable for its resident birds defecating on visitors. Either the TF:Animated Writers are Dirty Jobs fans, or this is one creepy instance of life imitating art.