The Jurassic Films: Fact or Fiction

Dinosaur Interview

In 1993, Steven Spielberg created a film that is still inspiring sequels today. Children and adults alike are going to the cinema to see Jurassic World: but how accurate actually is it? Well the team here at KCA have done some research to find out!

Jurassic Park

The original Jurassic Park film was praised for its accuracy. Spielberg even brought in American Paleontologist Jack Horner - renowned in his field - as an expert consultant. It was commented that the film brought Dinosaurs to life in the eyes of the viewer, showing them as complex beings with specific behaviours and personalities - not just one-trick killing machines. This complexity resulted in a box office success and the beginning of a franchise which became ingrained in pop culture.

With the film’s success came a growing interest in the study of dinosaurs. Steve Brusatte - Paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, even said:

“The film led to more people studying paleontology, more funding for the field and more jobs. So many of my colleagues who are 25-35 years old were hooked into dinosaurs by Jurassic Park.”

You can hear more from Stephen, who also featured in the BBC’s “Walking with Dinosaurs” series by clicking here.

Stephen Brusatte

 

So how accurate were these films, now we have reached 2018 and science has expanded its knowledge of these magnificent creatures? We’ll let’s take a look.

  • Jurassic Park … or Cretaceous Park? It turns out many of the starring dinosaurs, such as the T-Rex and the Velociraptor, were actually from the Cretaceous period. But this title doesn’t have the same ring to it.
  • As we heard from our interview with Stephen, many dinosaurs did, in fact, have feathers. But did you see any feathered dinosaurs in the films? Nope? Neither did we. It seems cinema stuck to the stereotypical scaly, lizard-like creatures. Not entirely accurate.
  • Velociraptors were actually much smaller in real life. In the Jurassic films, they are made to be human-sized killers. This was not the case. They were, in fact, the size of poodles. But they were still very dangerous (so maybe not entirely similar to Poodles).

Velociraptor

Velociraptor Blowing Bubbles

  • Mosasaur: the dinosaur of the sea. This giant sea monster was shown to us in the first Jurassic World. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite as big as the film made it out to be. And it wasn’t even a dinosaur - being more closely linked with a Komodo Dragon.
  • Angry Ankylosaurus: fiction. In the trailer, we see the park parameters being bashed by some aggressive Ankylosaurus, however, these animals were in fact friendly herbivores. Eating plants, they were unlikely to use their tail clubs to kill prey or compete for food. They were even quite social creatures, with many of their skeletons found together.
  • Replicating dinosaurs is also unlikely. To clone these creatures, as shown in the films, you would need the whole genome. Unfortunately, modern scientists haven’t even been able to find a single bit of dinosaur DNA (yet).

But the film, as mentioned previously, should be credited on its ability to show dinosaurs as characters rather than props. And, here at KCA, we understand it must be difficult to create scientifically-accurate storylines when you haven’t ever seen the creatures. So, what it does achieve, is the ability to show people all around the world how interesting dinosaurs really are! So congratulations! As we also love them, here are some of our favourite designs from our dinosaur range:

Parasaurolophus bowling

Parasaurolophus Bowling

Ankylosaurus

Ankylosaurus Playing Baseball

T-Rex

T-Rex Running Man


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