World lifers indicated in bold
When I first birded in Central Park this year, Ryan asked me if, after he returned from Hog Island, that I would meet up with him and Jonah Benningfield, another young birder going to Hog Island that would be staying with Ryan the week after. The reason we decided to meet up on Monday is because we would be joined by two more young birders: Tucker and Baxter Beamer, the latter was also at Hog Island last week. (fun fact: I met both at the Black-backed Oriole stakeout last winter) We spent most of the time photographing baby terns at the eastern colony and getting dive bombed by the parents before I eventually had to leave the group.
I had no class today, so I spent the day working on algebra homework and trying the 4th of July Birding Challenge. For the challenge, participants have to try and see every species that begins with the word “American,” any species that begins with the name of a U.S. state, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey, the official birds of each U.S. state, and Red-tailed Hawk. Unfortunately, I did poorly because of poor planning in an effort to get to the coast for American Oystercatcher, and getting to a known Bald Eagle nest when the eaglets had most likely left the nest. I only managed to see 8 species and didn't get Red-tailed Hawk, a species I can under normal circumstances never seem to avoid, until the last minute.
The next day, I went to Robert Moses state park for a seawatch, where I got several shearwaters (including Manx), two Wilson's Storm-Petrels, and many terns.
As I had promised at the kickoff, I would be leading another field trip to Nickerson Beach this year. Some highlights included a continuing group of Common Eiders and two Gull-billed Terns.
My patch at Jones Beach is a peninsula. Most of my shorebird counts have been on the bay side, which I thought was easy, yet boring. I wanted to try a spot on the ocean side of the peninsula, which turned out to be no better than the bay side because I was attacked by swarms of mosquitos entering and exiting the beach.
As I was completing my new route, I got an alert about the presence of a Wilson’s Phalarope on the west pond at Jamaica Bay wildlife refuge. Finally, a bird I needed for this year! This was attempt two, as I had missed one at Heckscher State Park earlier this year. When my dad and I got to the pond, we were both swarmed by mosquitos again, forcing us to buy bug spray at the refuge visitor center. Since I had chosen to not bring a scope to the shorebird count, we had to stand on benches to get a better look through the foliage surrounding the pond. After straining, I got a glimpse of the phalarope near a group of Double-crested Cormorants. Since Wilson’s is surprisingly not flagged in summer, I didn’t need to add any more details, and then got out as quickly as possible. Worth every mosquito bite.
To be continued…
This part of my Paleobirding series will trigger you in one of two ways: either by giving away the entire plot of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom if you haven't seen it yet (I am posting this a month after the film was released to give people time to see it), or by ruining your childhood movie monsters for the 65 millionth time. If you haven't seen FK yet and don't want to know about major parts of the story-line, then don't read this post. I was originally going to give an entire summary of the plot, but due to some people saying that my post on feathers was too long, I've decided only to break down the inaccuracies of the major scenes that have specific inaccuracies I need to point out. At the end, I will rate the movie based on my honest opinion, not on rating the level of accuracy (which might be a factor). I may continue this format whenever I review movies on this site. Now that you've been warned, let's begin.
I had low expectations for Fallen Kingdom ever since I saw the first trailer back in December, and I was unfortunately right. Acting and cast was subpar (out of the cast, I was only familiar with Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and B.D. Wong who were in the previous film, and Wong played Dr. Wu in the first film). That's not what I'm here to review, I'm going to talk about the science of Jurassic World II, or more accurately, the pseudoscience of it. Hang on to your butts.
Fallen Kingdom takes place three years after the demise of the Jurassic World theme park on Isla Nublar, the dinosaurs roam freely and try to fight to survive on the island until a volcanic eruption from Mount Sibo threatens their existence. On Isla Nublar, a group of mercenaries are sent to recover the bones of the Indominus rex from the Jurassic World lagoon for at the time unspecified purposes. A submersible is sent down to retrieve the bones, and it sends them up on a buoy before it is attacked by the Mosasaurus. The people on land who opened the gate to the lagoon lose contact with the submarine pilots. The surface team has their own problems as well, as when Isla Nublar's veteran Tyrannosaurus rex attacks the group, they have to grab the I. rex fragment and get out as soon as possible. One man is left on the ground and their helicopter lets down a rope ladder. They escape the Tyrannosaurus but the man on the rope ladder is swallowed by the Mosasaurus after it jumps into the air, and the Mosasaurus escapes into the open ocean. I will address the anatomical problems with Rexy later, so for now, I will focus on the inaccuracies of the Mosasaurus. While commonly labeled “aquatic dinosaurs” by pop culture, mosasaurs are not dinosaurs, their taxonomic alignment is within Squamata, which includes lizards and snakes, more spefically, monitor lizards. In this model of the Mosasaurus, there are several problems with its anatomy: first being the the tail is wrong, a Prognathodon specimen had an impression that resembles a tail fluke like in other marine vertebrates. A tail fluke would allow a mosasaur to swim faster to catch prey, which includes whatever animals can fit in its massive jaws or cannot swim away. Second, because of their close relationship with monitor lizards (which have forked tongues to taste the air for traces of prey), Mosasaurus should also have a forked tongue for the same reasons. Third, melanosomes (pigment cells) in the scales on a Platecarpus specimen indicate that mosasaurs had countershading, which is a coloration pattern with darker color on top, and lighter on the bottom, making it harder for prey (and predators for smaller mosasaurs like Globidens and Cliadestes) to see them. Sharks, cetaceans, pelagic fishes, penguins, and Leatherback Turtles also have this coloration. The last anatomical inaccuracy I have to point out are the osteoderm ridges, which no living or extinct squamate has, the scales overlap.
The last inaccuracy about the Mosasaurus I have to point out is its size: while it’s common for pop culture to exaggerate the size of extinct animals, with common examples being Velociraptor (which I will discuss in this post), the Carnotaurus in Disney’s Dinosaur, the mammoths, saber-toothed cat, and possibly the terror bird in 10,000 BC, many of the “extinct*” animals in 1 Million Years BC, possibly Megalodon in The Meg (which comes out this summer, I may see this for fun), and most famously Ornithecheirus (now Tropegnathus) and Liopleurodon in the Walking With... series, among others. The largest species of mosasaur, Mosasaurus hoffmannii, has been estimated to be 60 feet long based on fossil remains. This mosasaur’s size exaggeration, however, is in a category of its own; one might call it a “kaiju,” or giant monster. Estimates given by other paleo-enthusiasts who’ve tried to fact check Jurassic World vary due to inconsistencies with the scaling when compared to the underwater viewing area seen during feeding sessions and when it drags the Indominus to its death (which is roughly the same size as the T. rex and would’ve grown to 50 feet when fully grown according to Dr. Wu), but one I’ve heard places it around 80-100 feet, roughly the size of a blue whale at the higher end and about the same size as the Liopleurodon from Walking With series at the lower end. In the few scenes where we see more of the Mosasaurus’s body, it appears to have gotten bigger. Unlike theropods and synapsids, which reach a maximum size upon achieving sexual maturity, fish and reptiles grow throughout their lives provided there is enough food and space to do so. This is why some of the biggest fish caught are estimated to have lived considerably long lives by the time they are caught, and how Walking With Dinosaurs justified the massive size of the Liopleurodon (plus estimates made based on Pliosaurus funkei aka “Predator X”. The Mosasaurus lagoon on Isla Nublar is nowhere as big as the Tethys or Western interior seaways, and without regular feeding from park staff, the Mosasaurus should not be able to have achieved its current size. In figure 6, I posted a comparison of scenes from the two most recent movies where the Mosasaurus’s head is seen in comparison to the monorail.
*most of the extinct animals in this movie were modern animals that were made to look bigger using camera angles and scaling issues, the "Tyrannosaurus" was actually smaller than it was in real life
"I need your team to bring me back this specific dinosaur
for shady reasons i'm not going to tell you about"
This has prompted a campaign to save them, because, gosh dang it, we can’t let the poor dears go extinct all over again. Genetically engineered abominations have feelings too. Claire (you know – high heels) is involved in the Dinosaur Protection Group, which is lobbying the US Congress to go and spirit the dinosaurs away to safety.After listening to a brief speech by Ian Malcolm, Congress rejects this idea as totally bonkers, and Claire goes into a sulk. InGen/Masrani’s creations are all consumed by lava, and everyone gets on with their lives. The end? Claire then meets Benjamin Lockwood, an old business partner of John Hammond, who agrees to fund the rescue mission and bring the dinosaurs to a new sanctuary island where they will be left to live on their own, safe from human interference (or so we think). Lockwood's assistant, Eli Mills, asks Claire to recruit Owen Grady, a former raptor trainer who worked at the park, to find and capture Blue, the last surviving Velociraptor. Mills doesn't give too many details on why he needs Blue, but Claire recruits Owen to help her rescue the remaining dinosaurs from the island. At first, Owen declines this offer, but he eventually agrees to go.
Claire and Owen then set off on a charter plane with Zia Rodriguez, a paleo-veterinarian, and Franklin Webb, an IT expert, both from the Dinosaur Protection Group. Once their plane lands, the group is surprised to find a large base camp has already been set up, and they are met by Ken Wheatley, a big game and trophy hunter (greaaat). They all set off along with a group of mercenaries to reactivate an abandoned radio communications tower that they will use to find the dinosaurs via their RFID chip implants. Along the way while passing through the Jurassic World main street, they encounter a Brachiosaurus. While this dinosaur's depiction has aged relatively well, I have a few nitpicks, the first being that the dinosaur InGen's brachiosaur has been reclassified as Giraffatitan, which used to be a species of Brachiosaurus named B. brancai (the only accepted species in Brachiosaurus is B. altithorax, as B. atalaiensis has been reassigned to Lusotitan). The other is that brachiosaurs would've held their necks at a 45-60 degree angle, not straight up. Sauropods had long necks to act as a counterbalance for their long tails. Lastly, I think it might be too skinny: It's common for paleoartists to go easy on sof tissue when reconstructing dinosaurs, and sauropods are no exception. Brachiosaurus might have had a nasal pouch on its head, however, this is all speculation.
Owen, Zia, Wheatley and some of the mercenaries go to find Blue. Owen suggests that he set out on his own to find Blue, and the others stay behind at the truck. When Owen comes upon the fallen Explorer 04 near the old Tyrannosaur Paddock from the first Jurassic Park, Blue jumps out and Owen tries to bond with her before she is tranquilized by Wheatley and his mercenaries. Angry, Blue tackles a mercenary before he draws his sidearm and shoots up at Blue, much to Wheatley's and Owen's dismay. Owen tries to attack Wheatley but Wheatley tranquilizes him and threatens to shoot Zia. Zia says that she is the only one who can keep Blue alive and Wheatley puts his weapons down. I know, it seems like I can't talk about Jurassic Park without complaining about how the Velociraptors are not even Velociraptors and that they should have feathers and inward facing hands, even though I devoted the first post in my paleontology to what feathers are and which groups of dinosaurs had them (seriously, if you haven't read it by this point, I suggest you do so NOW), so in the interest of not beating a dead Humminghorse, I will reiterate that from the incredibly well preserved fossil of Zhenyuanlong, we know that dromaeosaurs had a full tail fan of pennaceous feathers, contour feathers covering the body, and most importantly, pennaceous feathers on the arms to form wings.
Mt. Sibo erupts, causing the mercenaries protecting Claire and Franklin to panic and drive off, locking them inside the old communications center. A Baryonyx surprises them by crawling through an old tunnel, but is temporarily held at bay by falling lava. Franklin and Claire narrowly escape through an emergency ladder and lock the Baryonyx inside the communications center. On one hand, the inclusion of Baryonyx in the fifth film is in my opinion long overdue for the Jurassic Park series because of how prominently it appeared in companion books, websites, and games. On the other, the producers did NOT do this spinosaur justice. The first problem is in the hands, not only are they pronated incorrectly as is standard with Jurassic Park theropod reconstructions, it's missing the hook-like claw on the second finger which most spinosaurids would've used to spear fish with. On top of that, the name Baryonyx means "heavy claw," so you would thing it would have this feature. Another inconsistency with spinosaur anatomy is the jaws on this Baryonyx: they're too broad, like a caiman; all spinosaurids had long narrow jaws with a hook at the end to aid in catching fish, Baryonyx was the first spinosaur discovered to have this feature. Third is it's missing the raised neural spines on the back that are also common to spinosaurs. Lastly, it did NOT have crocodile-like osteoderms running down the back.
Hours after the DPG has darted Owen and taken Blue and Zia, we see that Owen awakes from his unconsciousness, but is still mostly immobile. He is surprised by a Sinoceratops, which plays with him for a little while before running away. Lava crawls toward him and he escapes just before he is burnt. He sees Claire and Franklin and the three run away from the lava and falling debris, while being chased by stampeding dinosaurs. I was honestly surprised to see Sinoceratops in this film, as it is a relatively new genus, when most taxa in the Jurassic Park series were described before 1993 (Sino received its name in 2010). It's also a fairly decent depiction of the genus with only one problem: the holes in its frill. It's clearly a reference to Patchi in Walking With Dinosaurs 3D, a Pachyrhinosaurus who survived an attack by the as yet undescribed Alaskan troodontid as a baby, escaping with an hole in his frill. All centrosaurids have two openings in their frill that would most likely have been covered up by soft tissue, but Jurassic World's Sinoceratops took the injury to a greater extent by having the holes present over both openings. The scene when the Sinoceratops licks Owen is actually more accurate than you would think. A study examining the hyoid bones (which anchor the tongue to the mouth) of 330 fossil specimens of extinct taxa, as well as the hyoid muscles and bones of 15 modern animals related to dinosaurs, found that most of the dinosaurs had short and simple tongues similar to crocodilians. Birds, by contrast, have very diverse and complex tongues. The researchers found that bird-like dinosaurs and pterosaurs also had complicated tongue bones, which led them to posit that the evolution of diversity and mobility in tongues might be connected to flight. When ancient creatures’ hands evolved into wings, they needed mobile tongues so they could better manipulate food. flight may have also allowed dinosaurs to access different kinds of food, which required specialized tongues and mouths. Ornithischians like ceratopsians also had complex hyoids because they needed to chew their food more than large carnivores, who could easily tear off large chunks of food to swallow whole.
Having survived the Baryonyx encounter, causing the island’s dinosaurs to stampede to flee the pyroclastic flow. The biggest problem I have with this scene is that in an attempt to escape the flow, we see multi-ton dinosaurs like Apatosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus galloping. Multi-ton dinosaurs GALLOPING! While we don’t have any living dinosaurs to use as a model to estimate speed, one way paleontologists estimate how fast dinosaurs could move is by using equations based on the distance between footfalls and the size of the feet as well as estimates based on the morphology of an animal. Using the trackway method, the fastest speed of a dinosaur is about 12 meters per second or 27 mph. Paleontologists make predictions about functional morphology from anatomical features such as muscle scars. There are at least two ways to estimate speed after looking at morphology: one is to simply compare dinosaurs with living animals whose motion we understand better, and make assumptions based on the similarities and differences between the two. This can be called the morphological paradigm. Many hadrosaurs and theropods had skeletal structure that was similar to that of some modern cursors (animals that are good runners, like horses and ostriches): long legs, digitigrade stance (walking on one's toes), etc. So we might think that some of those dinosaurs were “cursorial,” or specialized for locomotion, but because their locomotory features are not as specialized as those of many of the faster extant runners, we think that it is unlikely that any non-avian dinosaurs ran incredibly fast. Similarly, many sauropods, thyreophorans (armored dinosaurs), and ceratopsians were similar to modern graviportal (non-cursorial, heavily-built) animals like elephants, so paleontologists think that such large dinosaurs were less speedy. In general, big land animals use less strenous activities than their smaller relatives. Therefore, those galloping herbivores is unfortunately inaccurate. A pyroclastic flow (the cloud of gas and volcanic matter emitted from a volcano during an eruption), on the other hand, can reach speeds of 700 km/hr (430 mph) and temperatures of 1,000 C (1,830 F), so if this movie was to be accurate, it would’ve ended here because anything on the island would have been cooked alive with the possible exception of the Pteranodons that could fly away, and even they can't fly with the way their wing membranes are attached to their tail and pointed wings
Owen, Claire, and Franklin take shelter behind a broken gyrosphere (the orbs ridden in Jurassic World to get a better look at the dinosaurs) when they are approached by a Carnotaurus, an abelisaurid that many fans have wanted to see in the JP series (including myself). Surprisingly, the Carnotaurus actually looks fairly accurate for a change. Only one relatively complete specimen of Carnotaurus has been found, and from that specimen, we know this was a medium size theropod with two horns on the skull, long legs for sprinting, tiny backward-facing arms like all abelisaurs, and mostly scaly skin with osteoderms (one of the few dinosaurs we have extensive scale impressions from). Jurassic World’s Carnotaurus has all of these features, so it passes my accuracy test (although they could’ve given it less spikes). Another Sinoceratops (or possibly the same one from before) appears and challenges the Carnotaurus to a fight. The centrosaurine wins, causing to turn the attention of the Carnotaurus back to humans. Just as it is about to attack, Isla Nublar's Tyrannosaurus appears and chomps down on the smaller carnivore's neck, killing it.
Rexy's intrusion gives the DPG enough time to make their escape. Owen is slowed down a bit by the ash, but Claire and Franklin fall off the edge with several other dinosaurs. The magma bombs break the Gyrosphere, and Claire and Franklin almost drown, but are able to survive when Owen opens one of the doors
It was all a lie!"
Crawling up on the beach, they see how several of the dinosaurs, such as the Baryonyx and T. rex are all being captured. The ship begins caging all of the captured dinos, Owen, Claire, and Franklin use a truck to drive on the ship, which is leaving the island, they only barely make it, and watch the island burn up in the background. A trapped Brachiosaurus calls out to the departing ship before being engulfed by the ash and dying.
Back at Lockwood Estate, we learn that Eli and Gunnar Eversol plan to sell the dinosaurs for money. Eli takes Gunnar to a lab, where he reveals that they are creating a new dinosaur, called the Indoraptor. With the current one being a prototype, and their plan to use it for militaristic purposes. Lockwood's apparent granddaughter Maisie overhears their conversation and learns of their plan, who attempts to tell Benjamin, but he seemingly believes she misheard them and sends her to bed.
Zia believes they need Blue for something, so in order to save Blue’s life, Zia informs Claire and Owen that they need to give her a blood transfusion. The only problem is that Blue was the only member of Owen’s raptor pack to survive the battle with the Indominus rex, so Zia suggests they take blood from another tetanuran on board the ship, specifically the T. rex. They find the rex and successfully get her blood but are locked in by some of the guards as she wakes up. As the agitated animal begins to thrash violently, Claire escapes through the top and opens the main doors of the cage. Could you actually give a dromaeosaur blood from a tyrannosaur? Surprisingly, you can, but it can only be done once. Cross-species transfusions, or xenotransfusions, are possible, but they’re incredibly risky because the immune system of the animal your giving blood will recognize the blood for the transfusion as foreign and protect the body from invasion. According to Dr Katherine Queensbury, an exotic animal veterinarian who has performed about 50 xenotransfusions in birds, “Whenever you go across species, the red blood cells are destroyed, and it varies how long they last. It can be as short as half a day, or five to six days, but what that gives you is time to stabilize the animal and provide other life-supportive measures. Once the foreign matter is introduced into the body, it produces antibodies to reject that. When you use the same species, you might not get that reaction, but when you do dog to cat or pigeon to parrot, their bodies recognize those blood cells as foreign, and the next time you transfuse the animal will go into shock.” The second time you attempt a xenotransfusion, there is a 60% chance the patient will die because “you would expect more complications, like the red blood cells breaking apart or severe allergic reaction,” according to veterinarian Lauren Witter. Zia is correct by referring to T. rex and Velociraptor as tetanurans, but Blue and Rexy are much more closely related than that. Tetanurae is the clade that includes carnosaurs, tyrannosaurs, maniraptorans, and megalosauroids. A further division of Tetanurae is Avetheropoda, a branch that can be divided into carnosaurs (allosaurs, carcharodontosaurs, neovenatorids, and megaraptorans) and ceolorusaurians (tyrannosauroids, compsognathids, and maniraptoriforms). As I mentioned in my blog post on feathers, maniraptoriforms include ornithomimids, alvarezasaurs, therizinosaurs, oviraptorids, scansoriopterygids, dromaeosaurs, troodontids, and avialans. Claire and Owen could’ve taken blood from one of the Gallimimus Wheatley's team had captured or even better, from a bird if one happened to land on the ship to save Blue, but there would still be the same risk of an allergic reaction if the procedure was repeated.
Franklin is caught is forced to help transfer the dinosaurs to Lockwood Manor. Owen and Claire sneak into a truck, but are discovered by Wheatley and imprisoned in the basement of Lockwood Manor.
Maisie, having observed Mills entering the entrance code for the mansion's elevator the previous day, secretly enters the laboratory and watches several clips of Owen training the Velociraptors on Isla Nublar. This is where we see the famous scene from the first trailer of Owen and Blue bonding. Even as a baby, Blue has all the anatomical problems that are standard for Jurassic Park raptors such as pronated hands and the lack of feathers, but that's not my main problem with Blue: she has too many teeth in this scene! Her teeth extend all the way back to a bone in the skull called the lacrimal, which no dinosaur, or any vertebrate for that matter, has teeth on.
Another thing is all the babies have adult skull anatomy. Vertebrates do not start out life resembling the adult form in miniature, and dinosaurs are no exception. Theropods would've started out with gracile skulls with large craniums and gracile jaws that eventually strengthen to give the animal more strength. An interesting if drastic example of how an animal's ontogeny changes throughout its life stges is Tyrannosaurus, which started out with thin crocodile-like jaws and long legs for pursuing fast prey that eventually develops into thicker legs and bone-crushing jaws perfect for hunting large ornithischians. I will talk about another example of unique dinosaur ontogeny when I get to the auction
Maisie's exploration is interrupted by Mills and Dr. Henry Wu; the latter is extremely stressed about Blue's condition. Maisie, in an attempt to escape the two men, backs into a corridor and encounters the Indoraptor, who startles Maisie, alerting the attention of Mills, who angrily escorts her upstairs and locks her in her bedroom.
Lockwood confronts Mills about the latter's true intention of selling the dinosaurs in an auction, angered that Mills has crossed him and used his own mansion as the auction's venue. Ordered by Lockwood to call the police himself, Mills instead murders Lockwood by smothering him with a pillow. Bidders soon arrive for a dinosaur auction and place their bids on various species of dinosaurs captured by the team on the island, including an Ankylosaurus, a juvenile Allosaurus, a Baryonyx, and multiple others. The final dinosaur Eversol and Mills show the crowd the prototype Indoraptor, emphasizing that the animal is not for sale.
After being captured by Wheatley, Owen attracts the attention of a Stygimoloch, causing her to break through the wall and eventually break through the doors of Owen and Claire's cell allowing them to escape. While the Stygimoloch looks decent anatomy-wise, there is one big thing about this dinosaur I have to criticize Jurassic World on: it doesn’t exist. I’m not saying it was a fictional genus like Indominus or Indoraptor, it’s really a subadult Pachycephalosaurus. Jack Horner, the scientific advisor for the entire Jurassic Park franchise, determined in 2009 that both Dracorex and Stygimoloch were not mature adults by examining the internal bone structure of skulls of each pachycephalosaur; both exhibit bone texture and composition consistent with juvenile and subadult age, respectively. They further found that pachycephalosaurs "employed metasplasia to rapidly grow and change the size and shape of their horns, cranial ornaments and frontoparietal domes, resulting in extreme cranial alterations during late stages of growth." Other paleontologists found that other known "domeless" pachycephalosaurs are juvenile individuals which develop domes as they reach adulthood, and can likely be synonymized with previously named taxa. In 2016, Goodwin & Evans described remains of juvenile Pachycephalosaurus significantly smaller than "Dracorex", and also confirmed that the characteristic horns or studs at the rear of the skull were present even at a very young age. Goodwin & Evans also give us a term (originally coined by Dr. Denver Fowler and adopted by Horner and others) to describe the very distinct growth stages that many ornithischians and some theropods exhibit over their lifetimes: ontigimorphs. To add to this, Horner advised director J. A. Bayonna against putting Stygimoloch in Fallen Kingdom, but the latter unfortunately ignored Horner.
Owen and Claire encounter Maisie, who has escaped her room and discovered her dead grandfather, and the three enter the auction room as the Indoraptor is being displayed. Understanding that the Indoraptor is far too dangerous to be sold, Owen disrupts the auction's proceedings with the aid of the subadult Pachycephalosaurus and wreaks havoc among the spectators, causing Mills and Eversol to end the auction.
A creature of the future, made from pieces of the past! Ladies and gentlemen, please be warned! This is the perfect hybrid of the two most dangerous creatures that ever walked the Earth! We call it...the Indoraptor!"
I know what you're going to say when I reveal I'm going to try and break down the inaccuracies of the Indoraptor: "Josh, the Indoraptor is not a real genus, so it gets a pass for being inaccurate. Shut up." My response is that I will be examining it as if paleontologists have discovered the remains of a theropod and described the new genus as Indoraptor, similar to how I examined Mosasaurus, Giraffatitan, Baryonyx, Sinoceratops, Carnotaurus, and Pachycephalosaurus/Stygimoloch. In doing so, I will speculate other creatures that are included in the Indoraptor's genome. We already because since it is a modification of the Indominus rex that Indoraptor has the DNA of Tyrannosaurus, "Velociraptor," Giganotosaurus, Majungasaurus, Carnotaurus, Rugops, various anurans (frogs and toads), an unidentified pit viper, and cuttlefish, but anything else is open for wild speculation.
Overlapping scales on the back: I already stated when I talked about the Mosasaurus that archosaurs didn't have overlapping scales. This has to be a product of squamate DNA. These could also be enlarged osteoderms like those on the back of a notosuchian called Armadillosuchus, but any crocodilian could be used to explain the osteoderms.
Dentition: I'm guessing the tusklike teeth of Indoraptor are a holdover from Indominus rex, and since no dinosaur had teeth like that, I'm guessing it's an artistic liberty. An alternative explanation is it could have pliosaur DNA, but since that was not in the genome of Indominus, it's very unlikely and a fringe theory at best.
Quills: Since Bayonna and Trevorrow are pretty much anti-feather, I wouldn't be surprised if the feathers were just miniscule quills (the Mononykus diorama in Lockwood's personal museum also had a few quills on the tail) like the male raptors in Jurassic Park ///. This is not enough in my opinion, you either need give the dinosaur correct feathers (tail fan, wings, full coat of feathers stopping at the mouth and feet), or don't give it feathers at all. It could be the result of DNA from an ornithischian called Tianyulong, which I talked about in my feather post (read it, it's worth it)
Quadrupedal stance: Now this is my main problem with the Indoraptor: no theropod has any adaptations for walking on four legs. There is precedent for this however, as when Megalosaurus, the first dinosaur ever known to science, was first discovered, it was initially depicted as a gigantic lizard walking on four legs. Flash forward to late 2014, after most intellectual people have accepted that dinosaurs had feathers, a paper was released that proposed Spinosaurus had short legs adapted for a semiaquatic lifestyle. The researchers concluded that Spinosaurus would have to walk on its knuckles like a gorilla (insert fanboy backlash here). There was a problem with this reconstruction, as Spinosaurus, like other theropods, could not rotate their wrists like primates can, ruling it out as a source of DNA. The only other possible source of this DNA is from an ornithopod, which could walk on four legs and run on two when they need to, but I have an even crazier hypothesis that I'll reveal after I continue the plot summary.
Lastly, this thing is skinny as hell, I was wondering why nobody fed it before its debut at the auction.
Later in the evening, Wheatley enters the deserted auction room and notices the Indoraptor. Having never seen the creature before and wanting one of its teeth for his necklace, Wheatley shoots the Indoraptor with two tranquilizer darts and enters the cage after the Indoraptor appears to be sedated. In reality, the Indoraptor is unaffected by the tranquilizer darts; he smiles and distracts Wheatley by waving his tail in the air before severing Wheatley's arm and devouring him. Another nitpick is the shock and loss of blood from the Indoraptor ripping Wheatley's arm should have killed him immediately though. The Indoraptor then exits his cage and pursues Eversol and other executives taking refuge in an elevator. Eversol successfully closes the elevator before the Indoraptor reaches them; however, the hybrid uses its tail to cut off power supply to the auction room, which automatically reopens the elevator door. The Indoraptor then devours Eversol and the other executives. Owen reunites with Claire and Maisie and the three encounter Mills and two security guards in the mansion's basement. After unsuccessfully coaxing Maisie to come with him, Mills angrily reveals that Maisie is actually a clone of Lockwood's beloved daughter who had perished in a car accident many years prior. As Owen, Claire and Maisie process this revelation, the Indoraptor suddenly appears and kills the two security guards, prompting the others to flee. Owen, Claire and Maisie take refuge on the main floor of Lockwood's mansion, in the skeleton and replica display room. They notice a human corpse on the ground near a Triceratops skull; as they approach it, the Indoraptor reveals himself and pulls the corpse farther behind the skull. The three protagonists take refuge against one of the walls of the skull's casing, but the Indoraptor successfully locates their vantage point by tracking their scent and climbing on top of the Triceratops skull. The Indoraptor chases Owen, Claire and Maisie up a spiraling staircase before the three escape into a power supply room, where Owen turns off the entire mansion's power. Zia and Franklin discover a hydrogen cyanide leak near the laboratory, which will kill all of the dinosaurs if it spreads to the encaging area. Franklin resets the control system in order to restore power to the mansion. At this time, Owen, Claire and Maisie are hiding behind a diorama of a Velociraptor and Dilophosaurus engaged in battle near a glass wall. Maisie soon realizes that she is staring into the face of the Indoraptor through the glass wall and shrieks in terror; the Indoraptor breaks the wall and pursues the group once again, injuring Claire's leg with his toe claw in the process. The Indoraptor chases Maisie up another staircase and down a hallway until Maisie escapes up to her bedroom, where she takes refuge in her bed. Owen is urged to take care of Maisie by the injured Claire; the two share a passionate kiss before Owen leaves to search for Maisie. The Indoraptor, who by this point has ascended to the mansion's roof, lets out a demonic screech and descends the building until he reaches the windows leading to Maisie's room. Hanging upside down, the Indoraptor opens one of the windows and enters Maisie's room, slowly approaching her bed as she begins to shiver and cry (for those who saw the trailer that premiered during the Super Bowl this year, this is the scene where we only see the hand and mouth of the Indoraptor that I saw on YouTube the next day during the events of Chapter 5). Basically, a hand position like that is impossible for any theropod. All theropods have special bones in their wrists that keep the hands pointing inward like the dinosaur is clapping. In order for the Indoraptor to move its arm in this positon, it would either have to dislocate its shoulder or the arm would have to be in its mouth. Another possible, but crazy idea (hey, if we've got streaker dromaeosaurs, kaiju Mosasaurus, Harryhausen ripoffs, living dinosaur toys, escaping pyroclastic flows, and GMO monsters, I might as well go all out with crazy ideas) is that the Indoraptor has human DNA in its genome, which would also support its hyper intelligence.
The Indoraptor fends off Blue and traps Owen and Maisie on the glass roof of the display room. Just before the Indoraptor pounces, Claire appears and coaxes him into attacking Owen with the laser and acoustic signal on the same gun used in the auction demonstration. The Indoraptor charges towards Owen and falls through the glass roof; however, he manages to grab ahold of a rafter connecting the glass panes together and pulls himself back atop the roof. Blue suddenly appears and jumps onto the Indoraptor, causing both to fall down into the display room. The Indoraptor falls directly onto the Triceratops skull, which impales and kills him, while Blue lands on top of the hybrid's corpse and escapes. Franklin and Zia enter and reunite with Owen, Claire and Maisie, and the five protagonists escape the battleground.
However, a new issue looms; the dinosaurs are trapped in a room that is flooded by noxious hydrogen cyanide. Earlier, while Zia and Franklin were tending to Blue in Wu's laboratory. Zia revealed to Wu that she had given Blue a transfusion of T. rex blood, infuriating Wu, as it would now be impossible to create an Indoraptor with Blue's pure genome. As Zia and Franklin flee to safety, Blue kills the two gunmen and escapes the laboratory before a massive explosion occurs - the brief battle had caused damage to several tanks of hydrogen gas within the laboratory. Claire releases all of the dinosaurs’ cages one by one. Claire puts her hand on the red button that would release all of them from the entire building, but Owen discourages Claire to do so, thus making Claire resist because she does not want the dinosaurs to destroy the world. However, Maisie pushes the button anyway, allowing the dinosaurs to escape to the mainland. As Mills is about to put the Indominus rex fragment into the car, a stampede sound can be heard. As one of the men goes to investigate, a Pteranodon snatches and drops him onto Mills’ car, killing him. The now free dinosaurs begin to stampede out of the mansion, trampling another guard. Mills immediately takes refuge under the car, which is quickly destroyed in the stampede. As Mills gets up from his wrecked car and picks up the I. rex fragment, the T. rex approaches and bites him, brutally shredding him before splitting the meal with a Carnotaurus. The T. rex then knocks over the Carnotaurus with her head and the Carnotaurus gets up and runs off. The T. rex roars and walks away, crushing the I. rex fragment in the process and ensuring that no carnivorous hybrid can ever wreak havoc upon the world again. Owen, Claire, Franklin, Zia, and Maisie all exit through the entrance of the Lockwood Manor, where Blue reunites with Owen, and even touches Owen’s hand. Owen instructs for Blue to accompany him; however, Blue denies him, as she would rather run free on her own than be kept in a cage again. Ian sums up his speech, as a sequence of shots are displayed such as the Mosasaurus attacking surfers, the T. rex roaring at a lion in a zoo, Owen, Claire and Maisie are seen driving down the highway to an unknown destination, and Blue climbing onto top of a cliff with a suburban setting below and calling out into the sunset. While Malcom makes it seem like the humans are the ones in danger, more people think its actually the dinosaurs. Paleontologist Dr. Thomas Holtz thinks the animals that escaped are in for a bad time, claiming that humans are very dangerous when threatened on their own territory. I guess we'll have to wait for Jurassic World 3 to find out what will happen to the dinosaurs...
These creatures were here before us and, if we're not careful, they're gonna be here after. Life cannot be contained. Life breaks free. Life... finds a way. We've entered a new era. Welcome to Jurassic World."
As always with the Jurassic Park series, there are lots of sloppy mistakes with the animal designs such as that the Pteranodons should not be able to fly with the way their wing membrane is attached to the body or how one picks up Lockwood's business partner with its feet like a reptilian eagle (I will cover pterosaurs as a whole in my next paleontology post), all the theropods having wrists that are broken, T. rex roaring all the time when it probably would've sounded similar to modern ratites (I've heard captive rheas boom, that sound goes right through you), incredibly boring color schemes, the absence of a "boss" on Apatosaurus, and, of course, the blatant lack of feathers when many of the dinosaurs in the movie have relatives with direct evidence of feathers. So yeah, JW2 completely butchered paleontological knowledge as always. Anyway, I'm going to wrap it up here, because I don't want to anger too many fanboys. I really want to review The Big Year in this fashion, but I'm not sure what I'll do about movies after that, and will probably check the results of the survey I linked to in Chapter 14. I'm definitely going to talk about The Big Year, though, you can't change that.
This is where I will give my opinion of the movie without any of the scientific talk, then give my final verdict on the movie by adding up the number of gold stars and divide by the number of criteria
Plot consistency: ⭐⭐✰✰✰
Taxa represented: ⭐⭐⭐✰✰
Scientific accuracy: ✰✰✰✰✰
Computer graphics/practical effects: ⭐✰✰✰✰
Jeff Goldblum screen time*: ⭐⭐✰✰✰
Final score: ⭐✰✰✰✰. Low. VERY low.
*this criteria is exclusive to the Jurassic Park series. I may use a different category if I review other movies in this fashion.
All copyrighted images shown in this post belong to Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment unless otherwise mentioned. Please notify me if I neglected to credit your work. All copyrighted images in this post are protected under FAIR USE for reasons of Commentary, Education, Criticism, Parody, and Social Satire.
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