How accurate are the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park/World? Part 5
We're finally back with the penultimate instalment of the accuracy of the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World! Continuing in chronological order, the dinosaurs being scrutinised are Carnotaurus, Baryonyx, Dreadnoughtus, Oviraptor, Nasutoceratops and Moros. Let's not stand on ceremony and begin.
Well, here I have a choice between two very different renditions of Carnotaurus. Normally, the dinosaurs in the movies somewhat resemble their counter-parts in the original novels. Carnotaurus is very different though. In the novel Jurassic Park: The Lost World, the Carnotaurus superficially resembles the real life dinosaur and hunts in pairs. The big difference though is that Carnotaurus has the chameleon-like ability to camouflage into its surroundings. It's quite a scary scene in the book, but one they left out of the movies.
Carnotaurus didn't appear in the movies until Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, when the protagonists and dinosaurs are all trying to escape the erupting volcano. Chris Pratt's character Owen Grady comes face to face with a Carnotaurus sastrei.
Carnotaurus in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom suffers from the same issues that any Carnotaurus does in most forms of media: it looks like a 'generic' theropod with horns on its head. Let me tell you right now, Carnotaurus sastrei was weird. Like, really weird. So weird that I would have been less mad with the camouflage ability if they showed off how weird it was. Firstly, the Carnotaurus in the film has a fairly short skull, but it isn't nearly short enough, nor is it skinny enough when viewed from the front. Carnotaurus was the pug of theropods, with a skull so incredibly short it looked like it ran straight into a tree...just...look:
Another point I want to bring up while we're on the skull is its articulation. See how the lower jaw doesn't quite connect at the mandibular fenestra? Its lower jaw was actually hinged with a high degree of flexion in the cranium to boot, much like a snake. So, despite the tiny skull, Carnotaurus was capable of eating some pretty big chunks.
Then we move a little further down. For a start, I would lengthen the neck slightly, but I guess I could let that slide. It did also have rather large cervical ribs, much like Allosaurus in the last instalment of this series, meaning that (as I explained in that post) Carnotaurus' neck was thick with muscle. The next biggest annoyance for me is the arms. I'm about to say it: they're too big. I know, what am I thinking? T.rex always gets a tough time about having tiny arms, but it didn't come close to Carnotaurus sastrei. As a matter of fact, all abelisaurid arms are comically small. The arms on this dinosaur would barely have been visible, consisting of a shoulder...and a hand. They didn't even have an elbow, just a singular, tiny bone for an arm. They did technically have 4 digits, but only 2 of them was even big enough to warrant a claw.
It has been hypothesised that these actually served a purpose, believe it or not. The only movement these tiny arms were capable of were flapping in and out, so what if they were part of a mating dance? Perhaps they were brightly coloured with some feathering?...
Lastly, we get to the legs. Carnotaurus had the face of a pug but the legs of...well, it had long legs, ok? In fact, Carnotaurus had such long legs that it has often been nicknamed the 'cheetah of the Cretaceous', given that legs this can only be built for speed. Don't try to outrun this guy.
Actual depiction of the animal:
This was a pretty cool scene, not gonna lie. I was really excited to see a dinosaur from my home country get its own awesome sequence, but was, again, disappointed that it looked like a 'generic' theropod with a slightly crocodilian face. Why won't they embrace the dinosaur's weirdness? Surely it would stand out more, right?
Anyway, Baryonyx walkeri is one of my personal favourites, mostly for the childhood memories of seeing this guy every summer at the Natural History Museum of London:
Hopefully you can see the issues. To be fair, it wasn't a bad effort, but they could have better shown how long that skull really was. Another famous thing about Baryonyx they could have capitalised on is big ol' juicy claw! The first thing found from a Baryonyx was its front limb claw, thought to have been used for fishing, which is understandable when you see how huge this thing is:
Other than that, that skull looks a little too robust. Spinosaurids in general were quite dainty and spindly for large theropods, with a skull long and thin enough to get those juicy fish in rivers.
Actual depiction of the animal:
Now, I have my issues with Jurassic World: Dominion, we all did, but I can't deny how happy it made me that they were clearly making such an effort with scientific accuracy, with sequences like the prologue showing how much the cloning process changed the dinosaurs (the T.rex had quills!).
One of the dinosaurs in the aforementioned prologue was Dreadnoughtus. We don't see them for too long, nor do we get a great idea of how big they were made to be through much comparison. But...I can't think of anything to complain about! I know, right? They're not suffering from the usual 'noodle necks' of sauropods in media and look pretty in proportion.
For an accurate depiction of the dinosaur, for once you can look to the film!
This one also made me very happy. In fact I was smiling like an idiot and actually said out loud 'finally'. We have full on feathers people! Oviraptor philoceratops was a dinosaur long misunderstood. Named 'egg thief', Oviraptor was originally found on a nest and was interpreted as a dinosaur who fed mainly on eggs. However, it was found that this original specimen was actually a mother brooding over her own nest. That's not say that they definitely didn't partake in this sort of behaviour, but that robust beak was also hypothesised to have been used to feed on molluscs.
Despite the effort of feathering, the Oviraptor does have its flaws. One thing I'm willing to let slide is the head crest. While the head crest on the actual skull of Oviraptor didn't quite look like what we see in the film, I suppose there's no way of saying for definite that the bone supported some sort of more ornate crest in life, so it gets a pass. What doesn't get a pass is the feathering and placement in the scene. I know I said I appreciate the feather effort, but it did have a bit more covering on it than that, namely on the front limbs, forming a 'wing'. Another one is that this scene all appears to take place at the same time, same place. If that is the case, the timing is correct with Dreadnoughtus and co. but Dreadnoughtus lived in Argentina, while Oviraptor was found in Mongolia. Of course, we don't know that a different Oviraptorian lived in the area, but this was officially named as Oviraptor.
In fact, this is the most glaring issue in the whole scene, but I'll get more into that.
Actual depiction of the animal:
Nasutoceratops titusi is a ceratopsian that actually made its debut in the mini-film Battle at Big Rock, a promotion for Jurassic World: Dominion. Nothing in particular seems inaccurate with this dinosaur, since it's pretty hard to get a ceratopsian wrong.
Again though, there is the question of temporal placement. Nasutoceratops was found in the Kaiparowits Formation, a rock unit found in Utah. The geography means there is every possibility that it inhabited the same sort of area as the likes of T.rex, but this unit falls around 10 million years before the Hell Creek Formation so its unlikely that the exact species was around in that particular ecosystem.
An interesting point with this particular dinosaur, however, is the inclusion of a juvenile, which we get a good look at when it is being rescued near the beginning of the film. Nasutoceratops is most closely related to Avaceratops, another ceratopsian of which only a juvenile specimen has been found. This juvenile looks very similar to what we see in the film, with the exception of the nose horn.
Overall, for an accurate depiction of the animal, look to the film. Good job Universal!
Moros intrepidus is the final dinosaur for part 5. With a name literally meaning 'harbinger of doom' (hilarious name for one so small), the Moros is seen offering its dental services to the Giganotosaurus by picking at some left overs between its teeth (a fun bit of speculation in my opinion, since many birds are seen doing this with crocodiles).
Again the most glaring issue is the inclusion of the dinosaur in this scene with the other dinosaurs. Moros was a basal tyrannosaur from Utah and lived during the Cenomanian around 96.4 million years ago. The name might seem ironic, but the 'harbinger of doom' is in reference to its presence foreshadowing the massive tyrannosaurs that would come around a few million years later. If it is around when its own (hypothesised) descendant, the T.rex, is stomping around, it seems somewhat contradictory.
The next potential problem is the size. I've been making fun of Moros's size in relation to its name, but it was only small in relation to other tyrannosaurs. At an estimated 172lbs (78kg) and potential length of the raptors seen in the films (the exact length is unkown), it could still do some damage to a human. Judging by its size when compared to the jaws of Giganotosaurus, I would say this guy is a tad too small. Then again, it is never stated that this is a fully grown individual, so I guess they can get a tentative pass.
Actual depiction of the animal:
That's all there is time for today, but be sure to keep an eye out for part 6, where we be looking at Quetzocoatlus, Iguanodon, Giganotosaurus, Atrociraptor and Pyroraptor and Therizinosaurus.
Until next time!