Friday, July 10, 2015

Jurassic World pt. 3: The Dinosaurs

I've had a very interesting time since last Friday to say the least! I saw some awesome fireworks on July 4th, and I've been pretty busy getting ready for my youth group's upcoming "Youth Rally" (more on that a little later). I've also got the final article of my three-part series on Jurassic World. Let's start with...

Days till:
It is: 59 days till Labor Day
It is: 75 days till The First Day of Autumn
It is: 140 days till The Good Dinosaur's release

In the Spotlight:
OK, I don't have much to share about upcoming movies for this week. Hopefully this will change next week!

Topic of the Week by Christian RyanAs promised, after looking at the background for the #1 movie worldwide, Jurassic World, and its characters, I am going to close this three-part series with a little information on all the dinosaurs that appear in the film!

PS. Warning – Spoilers ahead!


Apatosaurus is the largest dinosaur in Jurassic World.
The majestic Apatosaurus is the largest dinosaur in Jurassic World, and one of the largest land animals that has ever existed. These Jurassic-habitat long-necked dinosaurs, or sauropods, can reach 75-90 feet in length and weigh up to 36 tons! Thankfully, these behemoths are only herbivores, consuming ferns and conifer branches. As it can't chew, it has to swallow its food whole, using stones the animal swallowed to grind up the food in the gut.

Apatosaurus is one of the dinosaur species to appear in both the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo and on the Gyrosphere ride. With a gyrosphere vehicle, tourists are able to ride up right alongside these incredible beasts. Thanks to their size and long whip-like tails, they are almost immune to attack from predators. However, as is later evidenced in the film, they are no match for the genetically-engineered Indominus rex, who kills five and injures another during her rampage across Isla Nublar.

Apatosaurus has been featured in both Jurassic Park novels by Michael Crichton. However, it was replaced with Brachiosaurus in the first Jurassic Park movie and the eccentrically long-necked Mamenchisaurus in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. So it's nice that Apatosaurus finally gets some limelight, something this species doesn't experience very often in recent movies. (I mean, when was the last time you've seen an Apatosaurus in a dinosaur movie?).


With three horns on its head, Triceratops looks aggressive, but these dinosaurs are rather passive unless provoked.
Even though Triceratops is quite a popular species of dinosaur and one of everyone's favorites, it hasn't played a huge part of any of the previous Jurassic Park films. However, several specimens appear in Jurassic World and could be seen on the Gyrosphere ride and in the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo.

These herbivores can be as long as a school bus – up to 30 feet long – and weigh 10-12 tons! This makes them one of the largest non-sauropod dinosaurs to exist in North America. These animals roamed the Cretaceous plains in herds, grazing on low-growing plants, such as ferns and cycads. In the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo, baby Triceratops could be hand fed special dino-feed by park guests. When they reach adulthood, Triceratops possess three-foot horns above their eyes and a massive shield-like frill on the back of their skull. In the wild, these features were used for protection against predators, such as the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex! Despite their fearsome appearance, Triceratops in Jurassic World are “gentle giants”, not attacking a human being unless provoked, and even like to be petted behind their frills.

Prior to the recreation of the species in Jurassic World, scientists thought the Stegosaurus had a second brain in its rump!
The five-ton, 30-foot long Stegosaurus can be found on Jurassic World's Cretaceous Cruise, the Gyrosphere ride and of course, the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo. These herbivores browse on ferns and cycads and are one of the most recognizable dinosaurs thanks to their 17 kite-shaped plates running down the neck, down its back and the base of the tail. For defense, the Stegosaurus boasts four meter-long spikes that would have been used to swing at predators.  The plates of Stegosaurus are not used for defense however; they are primarily used for display, to attract mates and deter rivals and for species recognition.

The heavily-armored Ankylosaurus was the dinosaur version of a tank!
Ankylosaurus makes only a brief appearance or two in Jurassic Park III. Its role in Jurassic World is substantially larger and this dinosaur is even mentioned by name (out of the film's 13 dinosaurs, only six or seven are mentioned by name at some point).

Ankylosaurus can grow 30 feet long and weigh six tons as adults. They feed on low-growing plants and have been called “living tanks” by paleontologists. This is because they are one of the most protected dinosaurs ever discovered. Their bodies are covered in spiky armor and fused bony plates. Even its eyelids are made of bone! As if this wasn't enough, Ankylosaurus also has a rounded club at the end of its tail that was quite capable of breaking the legs and ribcage of even a Tyrannosaurus!

When Gray and Zach are in the a gyrosphere, they venture into the restricted area of Isla Nublar and find a herd of Ankylosaurus in the forest. Unfortunately, it turns out that Indominus rex is hunting here as well and she successfully kills an Ankylosaurus. The fact that I. rex can kill the heavily armored Ankylosaurus goes to show you just how dangerous this theropod really is!


With its long head crest, the Parasaurolophus is capable of giving haunting, beautiful cries.
Parasaurolophus is the most recognizable hadrosaurs, duck-billed dinosaurs, in Jurassic World (the other hadrosaur in the park is Edmontosaurus, which does not appear in the film) thanks to its crested head. The crest on this animal's head is elongated and hollow; the dinosaur uses it to emit haunting, beautiful cries to communicate with other Parasaurolophus. An adult Parasaurolophus can grow up to 40 feet long and weigh 2 tons. They are herbivores and live in large herds in the Gyrosphere area of the park.

Gallimimus can run 30-50 mph if they're ever out in the open.
Don't be fooled by the ostrich-like body, toothless beak and long, skinny legs, because that's where the similarities between the modern ostrich and Gallimimus stop! These dinosaurs have sharply clawed hands and a tail, features the ostrich does not. Gallimimus makes a small appearance in Jurassic World; they are seen running alongside a jeep in Gallimimus Valley, near the Gyrosphere area. These dinosaurs are capable of reaching speeds of 30-50 mph and prefer to dine on soft vegetation found throughout Gallimimus Valley.

Gallimimus is notable for being the very first species of dinosaur ever seen from Jurassic World, as it first made its appearance in the first teaser for the film, all the way back in November!


Pachycephalosaurus has a skull up to 10 inches thick!
If you're looking for Jurassic World's Pachycephalosaurus, look no further than the Pachy Arena. These “thick-headed lizards” have an incredibly thick skull, which can be up to 10 inches thick! In the wild, these animals would ram their heads into predators and rival Pachycephalosaurus to protect themselves and to win mates.

This dinosaur is only on screen for a blink, but it's nice to see Pachycephalosaurus return to the franchise nonetheless, as we haven't seen it since The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997.


Mosasaurus is the first marine reptile to appear in the Jurassic Park movies!
Unlike most of the creatures at Jurassic World, the Mosasaurus is not a dinosaur, but a species of sea-going lizard. It was similar to modern monitor lizards, but was 50-60 feet long and weighed 15-20 tons! It was one of the largest predators ever to stalk the Cretaceous oceans. Mosasaurus had a fearsome array of teeth to catch just about anything else in its environment – fish, birds, other marine reptiles, and even great white sharks! An extra set of teeth on the roof of the mouth ensures prey does not escape the Mosasaurus' jaws!

In Jurassic World, Mosasaurus can be seen leaping to catch (young) great white sharks in the Mosasaurus Feeding Show, similar to how killer whales might act in SeaWorld. Here, sharks are not the apex predators and Mosasaurus is queen. She has a superb sense of smell and thanks to a powerful tail, she can propel herself forward with ease. Mosasaurus is also capable of leaping from the water to snag flying reptiles, such as a hapless Pteranodon.

Mosasaurus also plays a role in defeating Indominus rex near the end of the film. When the I. rex is cornered against the Isla Nublar Lagoon by Blue and Rexy, this giant marine lizard breaches and catches the hybrid like a killer whale catches a seal and hauls her into the water for consumption.


Charlie and Blue are two of the park's four Velociraptors. Pound-for-pound, these dinosaurs the most dangerous in the entire park.
One of the most intelligent dinosaurs in Jurassic World are no doubt the Velociraptors. They are swift – capable of running 40-50 mph if they're ever out in the open – agile and hunt in packs. Raptors, which stand five to six feet tall and 13 feet long, are incredibly dangerous dinosaurs and were not yet ready for public display. Instead, a pack of four Velociraptors is being trained and studied by ex-military man, Owen Grady.

The pack consists of: Charlie, the rookie, Delta, the stalker, Echo, the runner-up in the pecking order, and Blue, the beta. Having raised them since birth, Owen has established himself as alpha of the pack. As Owen explains to Claire at one point in the film, he doesn't control the raptors, but instead developed a relationship with them based on mutual respect. The relationship Owen has developed with the Velociraptors is a tenuous one, to say the least, as they still seem quite intent on ripping his guts open.

Velociraptors are wonderfully adapted for hunting and killing prey. They have powerful senses of sight, hearing and sense of smell. Dozens of needle sharp teeth line their jaws. But the most impressive weapon of a Velociraptor is the six-inch retractable claw on each foot. The dinosaur uses them to slash into the prey's body, killing it quickly.

These abilities didn't go unnoticed by head of InGen Security, Vic Hoskins. He was amazed by Owen's ability to “control” the raptors and wanted to use these and similar animals for use in the military. Owen declines the offer. Later, after Indominus rex escapes, the raptors are released and used to track down and kill the hybrid, but instead of attacking, the raptors bond with the larger theropod and accept I. rex as their new alpha. The raptors kill several humans before Owen is able to reestablish his initial bond with these dangerous creatures. Together, and with the help of Rexy and the Mosasaurus, Owen and his “raptor squad” defeat the Indominus rex. Velociraptor truly is – pound for pound – one of the most dangerous dinosaur ever to exist.

Indominus rex

Indominus rex is Jurassic World's first genetically-modified hybrid.

When public interest in the park began to decline, Jurassic World's investors thought genetic modification would up the wow factor – they wanted something bigger, scarier and with more teeth. So Dr. Henry Wu set out to create a brand new species of dinosaur to wow audiences and called it Indominus rex. Though he revealed the base genome was Tyrannosaurus, he refused to reveal what other DNA of other animals was used in the beast's creation.

Indominus rex, meaning “untameable king”, would have been 50 feet when fullygrown and the most fearsome dinosaur ever to be displayed at Jurassic World. She was intelligent, huge and fast, able to run up to 30 mph...inside her enclosure! Though Indominus might bear some resemblance to a T. rex, the park website also revealed this beast to include DNA from Carnotaurus, Majungasaurus, Carnotaurus and Giganotosaurus. Like sharks, crocodiles and other theropods, I. rex would replace teeth throughout her lifetime to ensure she always had a nice set of them ready for the next chomp.

This beast showed her intelligence by tricking several people, including Owen, into entering her enclosure and “assisting” her in her escape. She was able to kill several more people as more of her abilities were revealed throughout the course of the movie. She could camouflage to look almost invisible against her surroundings, she could cancel out her heat exchange to hide from thermal-detection cameras, it seemed she was largely unaffected by bullets, and she was even capable of controlling Owen's raptor squad, causing them to turn on the humans. Through Jurassic World, Henry reluctantly reveals that some of the creatures whose DNA was used to create Indominus rex incuded the tree frog (able to control its thermal exchange), cuttlefish (for camouflaging ability) and for some reason not yet known, the DNA of Velociraptor. After causing many deaths of both human and dinosaur alike, she eventually meets her demise when Blue, Echo and Delta turn on her and Rexy joins the assault. When Indominus rex is trapped against the Isla Nublar Lagoon, she is snagged by the Mosasaurus and pulled into her watery doom.

As everyone found out the hard way, Indominus rex was not a good theme park attraction...because she never was meant to be; she was actually designed to be used as a military weapon. While Masrani wanted a new dinosaur to impress park guests, Hoskins wanted a dinosaur that could be trained and used for war. So Henry Wu decided to kill two birds with one stone and created both. Even after seeing the damage I. rex caused, Hoskins wanted a pack of smaller versions of the same dinosaur. Thankfully, he was unable to meet his desire when he was brutally killed by Delta.

Indominus rex, according to the director Colin Trevorrow, is a dinosaur that embodies human want for more money – greed. No matter how inconvenient, stupid, or in this case, dangerous an idea may be, human beings will be willing to try it for the love of money.


Pteranodon is an aggressive flying reptile, not a dinosaur.
Pteranodon has gotten increasingly larger roles in Jurassic Park films. While absent from the first movie, this pterosaur, or flying reptile, makes a cameo appearance in the second film, and has an entire scene devoted to it in Jurassic Park III. Now, it has another rather large role in Jurassic World.

The head-crested Pteranodon is Jurassic World's largest species of pterosaur and is housed in the park's Aviary alongside Dimorphodon. These giant pterosaurs have a wingspan of about 18 feet and weigh 70 pounds. Though they normally eat fish, but Pteranodon is also very aggressive and will prey upon humans if the opportunity arises...and it does when I. rex crashes through the Aviary, allowing them to fly out. They soon take down Simon Masrani's helicopter before wreaking havoc in Jurassic World's Main Street, plucking guests up with their powerful talons. One victim turns out to be Zara, Claire's personal assistant. The Pteranodon however accidentally drops her into the lagoon and as it dives to retrieve her, the Mosasaurus leaps from the water and engulfs both Zara and the helpless Pteranodon.


For its size, Dimorphodon is rather aggressive.
Just because it's small doesn't mean Dimorphodon is harmless. This pterosaur has a wingspan of about eight feet and primarily feeds on fish and insects inside the Aviary where it coexists with Pteranodon. Once I. rex breaks into the Aviary, the Dimorphodon and Pteranodon swarm across Main Street. Instead of picking people up, the Dimorphodon prefer to attack people with their teeth and foot claws, as Owen Grady soon finds out. He is however saved by Claire, who shoots the pterosaur down and is thanked with what is probably a first kiss from Owen.

At one point in Jurassic World, a Dimorphodon is seen flying above the ocean surrounding Isla Nublar. This individual is shot down by a military solider, but it does raise a question of what happened to the dozens of other newly-freed pterosaurs? Perhaps this is a question to be answered in the sequel.


Dilophosaurus makes a non-physical cameo in Jurassic World.
Though Dilophosaurus doesn't make a physical appearance in Jurassic World, it does have an “appearance” that I believe deserves a mentioning. As many will recall, Dilophosaurus made its one and only physical showing in the first film, where it killed Dennis Nedry as he tried to steal dinosaur embryos. When Jurassic World goes haywire, however, Claire, Owen, Zach and Gray find themselves being pursued by Delta through the Innovation Center. Gray uses the holographic display of Dilophosaurus to distract Delta, giving the humans time to escape.

Tyrannosaurus (Rexy)

Rexy, the true queen of Jurassic World, stands 13 feet tall, 40 feet long and weighs 9 tons!
No visit to Jurassic World is complete without a stop at T. rex Kingdom, which houses not just any ordinary T. rex, but Rexy herself, the adult female Tyrannosaurus rex from the first Jurassic Park. This monster was apparently recaptured sometime before Jurassic World's completion and appeared for a special feeding show every two hours.

Rexy is the largest carnivore yet to appear in the franchise (the Spinosaurus of JPIII wasn't fully grown), standing 16 feet tall, 40 feet long and weighing nine tons. Rexy's species is also one of the largest carnivores ever to stalk the planet. Tyrannosaurus made their home in Cretaceous western North America and were the apex predators of their environment, hunting other dinosaurs such as Triceratops and Edmontosaurus.

Rexy was absent for most of the movie until near the end when she was freed by Lowery and lured onto Main Street to fight the Indominus rex. The two behemoths faced off and Rexy was nearly killed. But before I. rex could make the killer bite, Blue rushed in and attacked her, giving the T. rex time to right herself and continue the fight. Inadvertently working together, Rexy and Blue force the hybrid against the lagoon where she is killed by the Mosasaurus. Having won the fight, Rexy leaves Main Street peacefully. The last time we see Rexy is at the film's climax when she walks onto Masrani's old helipad looking over the park. In the daylight, the scars on her neck from the Velociraptor that she fought in the first film can still be seen. With Indominus rex defeated, Rexy gives a mighty roar, declaring herself official queen of Isla Nublar – Jurassic World!

This ends my three-part overview of Jurassic World. The long wait has been well worth it and I have actually seen the movie twice already! That's how much I fell in love with it, and for good reason. It has great characters, an terrific plot, and an awesome set of dinosaurs. It's pretty much been confirmed that a sequel is in the works. What will happen in Jurassic World 2? Can we really know at this point? I suspect a clean-up operation might be required on Isla Nublar, to ensure the dinosaurs and other “prehistoric” reptiles stay on the island where they're supposed to and not cause havoc on the mainland.

Thanks to everyone who's been reading my blog posts regarding Jurassic World. The time between pre-production, production, post-production and the final product have been some of the best years of my life. I can't wait for Jurassic World 2 to relive the experience again!

Jurassic World was one of the most awesome experiences of my life!

Jurassic World (2015)

Disclaimer: Many (or in some cases all) of the photographs and images above are not mine. If you own one or more of them and would like them to be removed, politely let me know via my email address.

* I know this image is crazy blurry, but I couldn't find any others from the Jurassic World movie of Rexy that weren't.

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