What The Jurassic Park Movies Got Wrong About Dinosaurs

Jurassic Park Movies

Will the dinosaur crave ever die out? No, Jurassic World, it won’t. If we really had a real and proper zoo dedicated to the ancient giants, there are zero chances that we’d ever grow bored of them. Just think of how old normal zoos are. Regardless of how many times we see zebras and lions with our own two eyes, there’s still some excitement bubbling at the back of our heads. Can you imagine what it’d be like if we could really have an open and functioning Jurassic Park?

Well, if there’s anything the Jurassic Park movies taught us, it’s that this is a very bad idea. Dinosaurs went extinct before the first humans appeared and, therefore, we don’t belong to the same timeline. It would be only a matter of time before a T-Rex or an Indominus Rex breaks free and wreaks havoc in its wake. “Reviving a dead wild species is bad,” we get it, movie makers. You’ve got your message across. But you know what you also got across? Some scientifically wrong facts about dinosaurs.

The first movie came out in 1993, so we can’t expect for scientists then to possess as much information over twenty years ago as they do now. In fact, we must give credit where credit’s due – Spielberg went out of his way to hire a bunch of dino experts on the set to make sure everything was as accurate as possible. And it was, but for that respective time period. What exactly did the Jurassic Park movies get wrong, then? Read on.

Jurassic Park Movies

They’re the Distant Ancestors of Chickens, Remember?

When we first heard that the closest thing we have to a T-Rex today is a chicken, we all cracked a chortle. Denial won’t get us anywhere because it’s true. Years after Jurassic Park hit the theaters, paleontologists discovered solid evidence (in the form of fossils) that dinosaurs were, in fact, covered in feathers. Everyone, from the gigantic T-Rex to the infamous raptor, was allegedly coated by layers of colorful feathers. They seem to have been useful for a variety of things, including keeping warm, mating rituals, or even flying (in the case of flying dinosaurs, please don’t imagine a flying T-Rex).

So, Jurassic Park definitely gets a pass for this, given how the knowledge wasn’t available at the time. But what’s Jurassic World’s excuse?

Jurassic Park Movies

(Un)Flattering Size Changes

In the Jurassic Park movies, the velociraptors were some of the biggest threats, making recurring appearances in all of the four movies up to date. That’s understandable when you remember that they’re 6-feet tall carnivores with enough intelligence to turn doorknobs. We’ll get later to the last part, but we do know that their size was greatly exaggerated. In reality, paleontologists have estimated that velociraptors were no bigger than a chicken of a slightly-above-average height.

The opposite happened too, with several dinosaurs having their sizes considerably downplayed in the movies. For instance, the venom-spitting dilophosaurus was actually a 23-feet tall giant. The good news is that it didn’t actually possess any frilling or venom-spitting abilities. Even the T-Rex’s size was (admittedly, unknowingly) downgraded. Recent discoveries have proven that the king of dinosaurs was actually roughly thirty percent bigger (or, better said, fatter) than its movie portrayal.

Jurassic Park Movies

The Intelligence of a Dinosaur Hannibal Lecter?

So, about the intelligence of the velociraptor. Paleontologists seriously doubt that it was able to turn doorknobs or be as easily trained as Owen Grady made it out to be. There is a scientific consensus that the velociraptor was, truly, smarter than the average dinosaur, but that would only put it on par with your average modern bird.

Jurassic Park Movies

The T-Rex’s Predator Senses

One of the most iconic (and chilling) scenes in the Jurassic Park movies was the famed jeep chase scene. Not only was it the source of many children nightmares, but also of scientific controversies? Was the Earth’s greatest predator truly fast enough to catch up to a speeding car? Probably not, as recent studies have estimated a T-Rex to reach a speed of maximum 25 miles per hour. On a good day, Usain Bolt might be able to outrun a T-Rex on foot.

However, same discoveries have revealed that the T-Rex had a hunting arsenal that wasn’t at all loyally portrayed in the movies. Remember how Alan Grant said they have bad eyesight and that they can’t see you if you don’t move? Well, they seemingly possessed eyesight that could put even eagles and vultures to shame. Combine that with an acute sense of smell and the most powerful bite force of any animal that’s ever lived (roughly three times bigger than a tiger’s or a white shark’s) and you’ve earned yourself a nightmare-inducing predator.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

About Anne Burwell

Daughter, sister, wife, mother and writer. I spend half of my free time writing and the other half reading contemporary literature. I like to start my day with half an hour of yoga and then I head over to my desk with a cup of green tea to start working on my sci fi novel. On weekends I like to head over to the country side for a breath of fresh air and to catch up with my mom.

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