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'Dinosaurs' star Justin Long: I was a lot smarter when I was 7 and 8

Justin Long may be voicing a dinosaur in the new film "Walking With Dinosaurs 3-D," but his Patchi character — a young pachyrhinosaurus — isn't exactly a mighty, looming figure. That's OK with the actor, who told TODAY anchors Wednesday that he identifies with being the runt of the litter.

"I was really tiny, I was 4'9" going into high school at 89 pounds," he confessed. "I was a really small little fella."

But he had advantages at a young age that had nothing to do with size — brain power.

"I was a lot smarter, too, when I was 7 and 8," he said, noting that he was a "huge" fan of dinosaurs. "I knew all of their scientific names, I knew where they came from. I was really into Charles Darwin."

Long popped up on TODAY several times throughout the morning, and at least twice discussed how he prepared for the role of a young herbivore ... a little graphically. "The parents used to chew up their food, chew up the plants and spit them, puke it back into the kids' mouths," he said of dinosaur survival. "So I found myself asking friends if they would masticate food and spit it into my mouth."

"Lost a lot of friends in the process," Natalie Morales suggested.

"Yeah," he admitted. "I don't have any."

"Walking With Dinosaurs 3-D" will be in theaters on Dec. 20.