2010: the year of the rock dinosaur

They are known for their growling and lizard-like skin but in rock, it seems, it pays to be a dinosaur. A new poll reveals music's biggest earners this year were practically prehistoric.

According to Pollstar, the concert trade publication, seven of the 10 acts with the highest-grossing tours in 2010 had an average age of over 40.

The rich list was topped by 48-year-old US rocker Jon Bon Jovi, whose band's Circle tour grossed $201.1m (£130.1m). There were dinosaurs of another kind in the live stage version of the BBC's documentary series Walking with Dinosaurs, which took $104.1m, beating Sir Paul McCartney, The Eagles and Roger Waters.

"In general, the international concert business was stronger than in North America, where overbooked and overpriced shows at outdoor amphitheatre venues made it an especially difficult year," Pollstar editor-in-chief Gary Bongiovanni said.

It is good news for Bon Jovi, whose last album failed to reach silver, gold or platinum status in the US, although when his band played 12 nights at London's O2 Arena in June, they grossed $18.2m.

Walking with Dinosaurs, featuring costumed and animatronic dinosaurs, has been a roaring hit since launching in Australia in 2006. It toured North America between 2007 and 2010 and is currently playing venues in Europe. In total, it has taken $350m at the box office, breaking takings records in the US and Australia.

At 24, Lady Gaga is the youngest artist to feature in the poll, grossing $133.6m, but she had to work harder for her money, performing 138 shows compared with 80 for Bon Jovi and just 32 for U2.

1. Bon Jovi, Gross ticket sales (2010): $201.1m; Average age: 52.8

2. AC/DC, Sales: $177m; Average age: 58.4

3. U2, Sales: $160.9m; Average age: 49.5

4. Lady Gaga, Sales: $133.6m; Average age: 24

5. Metallica, Sales: $110.1m; Average age: 47

6. Michael Bublé, Sales: $104.2m; Average age: 35

7. Walking with Dinosaurs, Sales: $104.1m; Average age: Prehistoric

8. Sir Paul McCartney, Sales: $93m; Average age: 68

9. The Eagles, Sales: $92.3m; Average age: 62.75

10. Roger Waters, Sales: $89.5m; Average age: 67