Recreating Prehistoric Life: Jurassic Park Essay

Recreating Prehistoric Life: Jurassic Park Essay

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Recreating prehistoric life is at the fore-front of interest in the scientific community. Large strides have been made in uncovering the genome sequences of Neanderthal. Within a few years, scientists hope to unravel our relatives’ entire genetic code. With Neanderthal cloning staring us in the face, a more seductive idea has emerged with immense support from the media.
The idea of cloning dinosaurs and other prehistoric life became popularized by the 1992 film Jurassic Park (based on Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel). Though it may have sparked new interest into the field of paleontology, it did so with deceiving inaccuracies. However, the technical fallacies of the actual dinosaurs are somewhat forgivable as it added to the film’s dramatic appeal. Velociraptor, as depicted in the film, was about the size of a grown man. In reality, velociraptor came to about the kneecap. Furthermore, velociraptor would more likely have been covered in feathers rather than the lizard-like skin portrayed in the movie. One scene shows velociraptor fogging the window of a door. This is an endothermic or warm blooded trait as it implies the dromaeosaurid’s body temperature is above the temperature of his environment. There is also no evidence of dilophosaurus bearing a neck frill, and brachiosaurus did not have the ability to chew his food in a circular motion (iguanodon was the first dinosaur to develop this technique by acquiring back molars to allow for equine or bovine-like chewing). Fortunately, tyrannosaurus remained very close to his biological authenticity, with the only paleobiological errors stemming from a lack in computer animation such as rudimentary ball and joint programs. However, the erroneous nature of the deoxyribonucle...

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... in our criticism. Crichton and Spielberg made a greater effort to get things right than anyone before them. Perhaps, they did misspell “stegosaurus” in the Embryonic Storage Room, but who is paying attention? Since the release of Jurassic Park, a new interest has emerged into the field of paleontology. Without this new interest, fascinating breakthroughs such as evo devo might have remained a castle in the Mesozoic sky.

Works Cited
Crichton, Michael. Jurassic Park. New York: Random House, 1990.
Horner, Jack, and James Gorman. How to Build a Dinosaur. London: Penguin Group, 2009.
Dr. Palmer, Douglas. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Prehistoric World. New Jersey:
Chartwell Books, Inc., 2006.
Jurassic Park. Dir. Steven Spielberg. With Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough. Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, 1992.

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