nandi's blog

Paleontology is Sexy! A Selection of Recent Discoveries

Thursday, May 2, 2019

A modern lion skull (above) compared to the left part of a Simbakubwa kutokaafrika jaw (below) photographed by Matthew Borths. On the right, a rendering of Simbakubwa kutokaafrika (image credits Mauricio Anton).

The 2019 started with a relatively high number of paleontological discoveries published in highly ranked journals showing that paleontology is sexy indeed! Here you can find a small selection of the most recent ones. The studies in micro- and macropaleontology published earlier this year, provide a large contribution to our understanding of organism evolution and response to peculiar environmental conditions which can be used to predict future ecosystem reactions. Paleontology is therefore not only fascinating but it is a valid instrument for assemble a possible scenario of biotic changes in the future.

A gigantic carnivore from the earliest Miocene of Kenya

A relatively young adult of a gigantic carnivore from the early Miocene (ca. 22 million years ago) was discovered at Meswa Bridge, Kenya. The researchers, Borth M. and Stevens N., called the now extinct carnivore Simbakubwa kutokaafrikaSwahili for “big lion from Africa” since this predator would have played a lion-like role. It is the oldest known member in a group of extinct mammals called hyaenodonts, so named due to their dental resemblance to hyenas, even though the groups are also unrelated. The specimen was known from most of its jaw, portions of its skull and parts of its skeleton. It was larger than a modern polar bear, it weighed up to 1,500 kilograms, measured 2.4 meters long from snout to rump and stood 1.2 m tall at its shoulders.The study was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and helps connect some of the evolutionary steps for this group which were near the top of the food chain in theAfrican ecosystems where early apes and monkeys were also evolving. The fossil may also help scientists better understand why these apex predators ultimately did not survive.

A modern lion skull (above) compared to the left part of a Simbakubwa kutokaafrika jaw (below) photographed by Matthew Borths. On the right, a rendering of Simbakubwa kutokaafrika (image credits Mauricio Anton).

Exceptional preservation of mid-Cretaceous marine arthropods and the evolution of novel forms via heterochrony

A new, exceptionally preserved crab from the mid-Cretaceous of Colombia and the United States was discovered by Luque et al. The completeness of the fossil remains shed light on the early disparity of the group and the origins of novel forms.This ancient crab was named Callichimaera perplexa, which means “perplexing beautiful chimera”, and lived during late Cretaceous (ca. 95 to 90 million years ago). The name references the mythical chimera from Greek mythology, which had a lion’s head, a goat’s body and a snake’s tail. The C. perplexa had large unprotected compound eyes, small fusiform body, and leg-like mouthparts suggesting larval trait retention into adulthood via heterochronic development (pedomorphosis), while its large oar-like legs represent the earliest known adaptations in crabs for active swimming. The authors, who published their study in Science Advances, think that these creatures lived in the water, swimming more than crawling  around on land (due to the unusual legs) and were active predators.

A rendering of Callichimaera perplexa (Image credits Oksana Vernygora / University of Alberta). On the right dorsal, frontal, and ocular features in Callichimaera perplexa, from the mid-Cretaceous of Colombia (Luque et al. 2019) .

Unlaid egg discovered in an Early Cretaceous bird fossil

A new enantiornithine, Avimaia schweitzerae gen. et sp. nov., from the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation was described by Bailleul et al. The discovery is of great importance since it tetifys the oldest documented case of a common reproductive disorder: called “egg-binding,” where an egg becomes trapped inside a bird. The fossilized bird was in fact found with an unlaid egg two-dimensionally preserved within the abdominothoracic cavity. Ground-sections reveal abnormal eggshell proportions, and multiple eggshell layers best interpreted as a multi-layered egg resulting from prolonged oviductal retention. The find, reported in Nature Communications, belonged to a sparrow-size flyer that lived in northwestern China ca. 110 million years ago. The team has named the bird Avimaia schweitzerae (Avimaia means “mother bird”; and schweitzerae honors paleontologist Mary Schweitzer.)

A rendering of the female individual Avimaia schweitzerae dead in the water on the left (with an unlaid egg not visible inside its abdomen), represents the fossilized individual discovered in China. Illustration by Michael Rothman. In the center and right side, photograph and line drawing of the holotype of Avimaia schweitzerae, IVPP V25371. a Photograph of the partial skeleton with feather impressions, and the crushed preserved egg between the pubes; b interpretive line drawing, with white arrows indicating the two fragments extracted for microscopic analysis with a super-imposed CT-scan revealing the egg and underlying elements of the right pelvis in dorsal (synsacrum) and medial (ilium) view (from Bailleul et al. 2019).

A new African Titanosaurian Sauropod Dinosaur from the middle Cretaceous of Southwestern Tanzania

Paleontologists recently discovered a new titanosaurian sauropod – a giant, plant-eating dinosaur – and named it Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia. A common component in Cretaceous African faunas, titanosaurian sauropods diversified into one of the most specious groups of dinosaurs worldwide and this discovery is helping paleontologists understanding how, where and when the mightiest of land animals evolved. Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia lived around 100-110 million years ago, during the middle of the Cretaceous and was found in the Mtuka Member of the Galula Formation  (Aptian–Cenomanian) in southwest Tanzania.

Mnyamawamtuka moyowamkia.

Titanosaurs are best known from South America, Tanzania, Egypt, and other parts of the African continent. The new specimen described by Gorscak and O’Connor in PlosOne preserves teeth, elements from all regions of the postcranial axial skeleton, parts of both appendicular girdles, and portions of both limbs including a complete metatarsus. This finding adds a bit more detail to the picture of what ecosystems on continental Africa were like during the Cretaceous.

All these findings make you wonder: ‘what else is out there for us to discover?’


Chewing Versus Sex in the Duck-Billed Dinosaurs

Friday, May 3, 2019

Mounted skeleton of Parasaurolophus cyrtocristatus, Field Museum of Natural History

The duck-billed hadrosaurs walked the Earth over 90-million years ago and were one of the most successful groups of dinosaurs. But why were these 2-3 tonne giants so successful? A new study, published in Paleobiology, shows that their special adaptations in teeth and jaws and in their head crests were crucial, and provides new insights into how these innovations evolved.

Called the 'sheep of the Mesozoic' as they filled the landscape in the Late Cretaceous period, hadrosaurs walked on their hind legs and were known for their powerful jaws with multiple rows of extremely effective teeth. They also had hugely varied head display crests that signalled which species each belonged to and were used to attract mates. Some even trumpeted and tooted their special call, using nasal passages through the head crests.

Researchers from the Universities of Bristol and the Catalan Institute of Paleontology in Barcelona used a large database describing morphological variety in hadrosaur fossils and computational methods that quantify morphological variety and the pace of evolution.

Dr. Tom Stubbs, lead author of the study and a researcher from Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, said: "Our study shows that the unique hadrosaur feeding apparatus evolved fast in a single burst, and once established, showed very little change. In comparison, the elaborate display crests kept diversifying in several bursts of evolution, giving rise to the many weird and wonderful shapes."

The skulls of three hadrosaur dinosaurs, Lambeosaurus lambei (top left), Gryposaurus notabilis (top right), Parasaurolophus walkeri (lower). Credit: Albert Prieto-Márquez.

Professor Mike Benton, the study's co-author from Bristol's School of Earth Sciences, added, "Variation in anatomy can arise in many ways. We wanted to compare the two famous hadrosaur innovations, and by doing so, provide new insights into the evolution of this important dinosaur group. New numerical methods allow us to test these kinds of complex evolutionary hypotheses."

"Our methods allowed us to identify branches on the hadrosaur evolutionary tree that showed rapid evolution in different parts of the skeleton," said co-author Dr. Armin Elsler. "When we looked at the jaws and teeth, we only saw fast evolution on a single branch at the base of the group. On the other hand, the bones that form the display crests showed multiple fast rate branches."

Dr. Albert Prieto-Márquez, co-author and world-leading expert on hadrosaurs from the Catalan Institute of Paleontology in Barcelona, added: "Our results suggest that evolution can be driven in different ways by natural selection and sexual selection. Hadrosaurs apparently fixed on a feeding apparatus that was successful and did not require massive modification to process their food. On the other hand, sexual selection drove the evolution of more complex  shapes, and this is reflected by multiple evolutionary bursts."

Provided by University of Bristol /

Ice Age Bear and 12,000-Year-Old Human Skeleton Found in Mexican Underwater Cave

Friday, May 3, 2019

PHOTO: A diver holds the jaw and vertebra of one of the fossilised animals. (Supplied: ETSU)

The remains of long-extinct predators dating back to the last Ice Age have been unearthed by underwater cave explorers in Mexico.

Among the discoveries was the skull of a short-faced bear known as Arctotherium wingeia formidable Ice Age predator which weighed around 150 kilograms.

The fossilised remains of wolf-like creatures known as Protocyon troglodytes were also found in the Yucatán cave on the eastern Yucatán Peninsula.

The findings are a coup for researchers, who previously believed both species only lived in South, not Central, America.

"This discovery expands the distribution of these carnivorans greater than 2,000 kilometres outside South America," palaeontologists from East Tennessee State University wrote in the journal Biology Letters.

"Their presence... suggests a more complex history of these organisms in Middle America."

A collection of ground sloths and an early human — who most likely died falling into the cave some 12,000 years ago — were also unearthed in the same site, known as Hoyo Negro, or Spanish for "black hole".

According to researchers, that means humans may have been around to interact with the animals.

"The [Hoyo Negro] pit is bell shaped... and served as a natural trap for animals moving through the cave in the late Pleistocene," the paper said.

"Mammals discovered on the surface of the [cave] floor include multiple ground sloth species... tapirs, sabertooth cats, cougars, gomphotheres, bears, canids and a relatively complete human skeleton.

"In addition, bones and trackways of extinct fauna are known from the upper passages."

A diver recovers the skull of a short-faced bear. (Supplied: ETSU)

Another skeleton, believed to be one of the oldest genetically intact human skeletons ever found in the Western hemisphere, dating back 13,000 years, was uncovered in the same cave in 2007.

Scientists said the skeleton belonged to a teenage girl, who too may have fallen to her death after venturing into the dark passages of Hoyo Negro.

At the time, researchers concluded that the Ice Age humans who first crossed into the Americas over a land bridge that formerly linked Siberia to Alaska did in fact give rise to modern Native American populations rather than hypothesised later entrants into the hemisphere.


Fossils of the First Winged Mammals Dating Back 160M Years, Discovered

Friday, May 3, 2019

This is a Maiopatagium in Jurassic forest in crepuscular (dawn and dusk) light: A mother with a baby in suspending roosting posture, climbing on tree trunk, and in gliding. (Credit: SWNS)

Fossils of the first winged mammals dating back 160 million years to the age of the dinosaurs have been discovered.

The remains, from the Jurassic period, suggest a new way of life - gliding - for the forerunners of mammals.

Two 160 million-year-old mammal fossils discovered in China show that the forerunners of mammals in the Jurassic Period evolved to glide and live in trees.

With long limbs, long hands and foot fingers, and wing-like membranes for tree-to-tree gliding, Maiopatagium furculiferum and Vilevolodon diplomylos are the oldest known gliders in the history of early mammals.

The new discoveries suggest that the volant, or flying, way of life evolved among mammalian ancestors 100 million years earlier than the first modern mammal fliers.

The fossils are described in two papers, published in the journal Nature, by an international team of scientists from the University of Chicago and Beijing Museum of Natural History.

Professor Zhe-Xi Luo, of the University of Chicago, said: "These Jurassic mammals are truly 'the first in glide.'

"In a way, they got the first wings among all mammals.

"With every new mammal fossil from the Age of Dinosaurs, we continue to be surprised by how diverse mammalian forerunners were in both feeding and locomotor adaptations.

"The groundwork for mammals' successful diversification today appears to have been laid long ago."

The ability to glide in the air is one of the many remarkable adaptations in mammals.

Most mammals live on land, but volant mammals, including flying squirrels and bats that flap bird-like wings, made an important transition between land and aerial habitats.

Prof Luo said the ability to glide between trees allowed the ancient animals to find food that was inaccessible to other land animals.

That evolutionary advantage can still be seen among today's mammals such as flying squirrels in North America and Asia, scaly-tailed gliders of Africa, marsupial sugar gliders of Australia and colugos of South East Asia.

 Two 160 million-year-old mammal fossils discovered in China show that the forerunners of mammals in the Jurassic Period evolved to glide and live in trees. With long limbs, long hand and foot fingers, and wing-like membranes for tree-to-tree gliding, Maiopatagium furculiferum and Vilevolodon diplomylos are the oldest known gliders in the history of early mammals. (Credit: SWNS)

The Jurassic Maiopatagium and Vilevolodon are long-extinct relatives of living mammals.

Prof. Luo said they are haramiyidans, an entirely extinct branch on the mammalian evolutionary tree, but are considered to be among forerunners to modern mammals.

Both fossils show the exquisitely fossilized, wing-like skin membranes between their front and back limbs.

They also show many skeletal features in their shoulder joints and forelimbs that gave the ancient animals the agility to be capable gliders.

Evolutionarily, the two fossils, discovered in the Tiaojishan Formation, northeast of Beijing, represent the earliest examples of gliding among extinct mammal ancestors.

Prof. Luo said the two newly discovered creatures also share similar ecology with modern gliders, with some significant differences.

Today, the hallmark of most mammal gliders is their herbivorous diet that typically consists of seeds, fruits and other soft parts of flowering plants.

But Maiopatagium and Vilevolodon lived in a Jurassic world where the plant life was dominated by ferns and gymnosperm plants like cycads, gingkoes and conifers - long before flowering plants came to dominate in the Cretaceous Period, and their way of life was also associated with feeding on these entirely different plants.

The distinct diet and lifestyle evolved again some 100 million years later among modern mammals.

Study co-author David Grossnickle, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, said: "It's amazing that the aerial adaptions occurred so early in the history of mammals,

"Not only did these fossils show exquisite fossilization of gliding membranes, their limb, hand and foot proportion also suggests a new gliding locomotion and behavior."

Early mammals were once thought to have differences in anatomy from each other, with limited opportunities to inhabit different environments.

But the new glider fossils from the dinosaur-dominated Jurassic Period, along with numerous other fossils described by Prof Luo and his colleagues in the last 10 years, provide "strong evidence" that ancestral mammals adapted to their wide-ranging environments despite competition from dinosaurs.

Prof. Luo added: "Mammals are more diverse in lifestyles than other modern land vertebrates, but we wanted to find out whether early forerunners to mammals had diversified in the same way.

"These new fossil gliders are the first winged mammals, and they demonstrate that early mammals did indeed have a wide range of ecological diversity, which means dinosaurs likely did not dominate the Mesozoic landscape as much as previously thought."


This Jurassic Park Birth Announcement Video Is Brilliantly Stupid

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Ryan Porter/YouTube

We can't stop watching.

There are Jurassic Park fans—and then there are Jurassic Parkfans who record their pregnancy announcement as one of the scenes from the 1993 blockbuster. Which is what one couple attempted to do, resulting in a video that’s nothing if not hilarious.

“This September, Life Finds a Way…” reads the caption of the video, titled “Jurassic Baby Porter.” In the clip, dad-to-be Ryan Porter simply superimposed the heads of him and his expecting wife on the movie’s characters. And instead of discovering a dinosaur, the pair discovers a sonogram showing their future little one, with newborn crying noises in the background.

“It’s a baby,” Porter says at the end of the video, as the couple gets out of their Jeep to get closer to the floating sonogram. The cheesy clip then closes with Jeff Goldblum’s iconic line, “You did it. You crazy son of a bitch, you did it.”

And the Porters aren’t the first ones to announce their pregnancy a la Steven Spielberg’s flick. When one Texas couple found out that they were going to have a fifth child, they decided to tell their friends and family with a Jurassic Park-themed photoshoot. Mom and Dad, plus the four kids, dressed up in inflatable T-rex costumes and held a tiny blow-up dinosaur in their arms.

“Since we are big Jurassic World fans and a really quirky and down-to-earth kind of family, it seemed SO fitting!” mom Nicole Berkley told POPSUGAR, adding that both her kids and everyone who received the announcement thought it was hysterical.


99-Million-Year-Old, Unknown Millipede Found Trapped in Burmese Amber

Friday, May 3, 2019

The newly described millipede, Burmanopetalum inexpectatum, preserved in amber(Credit: Leif Moritz (CC-BY 4.0))

Picking up where the Jurassic period left off, the Cretaceous is best known as the last hoorah for the dinosaurs. As far as insects are concerned, it gave us ants, termites, aphids and the explosion of pollinators that coincided with the development of flowering plants. But, ironically, the prehistoric-looking millipedes of the order Callipodida, are thought to have come later. Until now.

Scientist now have to rearrange what they know – or thought they knew – about the evolution of millipedes due to a tiny, 8.2-mm member of the order Callipodida who got its many feet stuck in some tree resin, which turned up in Myanmar 99 million years later as a golden lump of amber.

This places this tiny critter well into the Cretaceous period, making it the oldest millipede of its order yet discovered. In fact, it's morphology – which included compound eyes composed of five ommatidia while most Callipodidan eyes have at least 30 – was so unique it warranted its own suborder as it didn't quite fit within the current classifications for the species.

Prof. Pavel Stoev of the National Museum of Natural History (Bulgaria) and Dr. Thomas Wesener and Leif Moritz of the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (Germany) chose the name Burmanopetalum inexpectatum, where "inexpectatum" translates as "unexpected" from Latin.

"It came as a great surprise to us that this animal cannot be placed in the current millipede classification," says Professor Stoev.

"The entire Mesozoic Era – a span of 185 million years – has until now only been sampled for a dozen species of millipedes, but new findings from Burmese amber are rapidly changing the picture," says Dr. Greg Edgecombe, a leader in the study of fossil arthropods from the Natural History Museum who wasn't involved in the research. "In the past few years, nearly all of the 16 living orders of millipedes have been identified in this 99-million-year-old amber. The beautiful anatomical data presented by Stoev et al. show that Callipodida now join the club."

3D X-ray microscopy was used to get a better look at the find, including its internal structure. This was made possible due to its amber tomb that helped it retain fine details not usually preserved in fossils. This particular piece of amber that trapped Burmanopetalum inexpectatum is part of a private collection – the largest of its kind in Europe – belonging to Patrick Müller, which comprises 400 amber stones, all of which have been made available to the scientists.

Millipedes belong to the class Diplopoda, Latin for "double foot." The name refers to the two pairs of legs on on each body segments, in contrast to centipedes (class Chilopoda) which have just one pair per segment.

The study describing Burmanopetalum inexpectatum is published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Source: Pensoft (CC-BY 4.0)

Museo Paleontológico Tocuila (Paleontological Museum of Tocuila)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Paleontological Museum in Tocuila, Texcoco, México State

Get a close look at the gigantic remains of long-extinct mammoths.

In 1996 in Tocuila, a small town just outside Mexico City, called Tocuila, a team of workmen building a cistern system made a mammoth discovery. They had dug just shy of 10 feet into the ground when gargantuan bones began to protrude from the dirt.

Shocked by this unexpected find, the workers contacted local authorities, who in turn got in touch with archeologists and paleontologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. The scientists excavated the site and determined the bones belonged to seven Columbian mammoths that had lived approximately 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

The site was one of the Americas’ richest deposits of late Pleistocene fauna ever found. After the excavations finished, the INAH bought the land and converted it into a modest museum where the general public could come admire the remains of these long-extinct creatures.

This Columbian mammoth was one of the largest species of the elephant family to have ever existed. The animals could be two or three times larger than modern African elephants, weighed up to 11 tons, and typically had tusks that could reach lengths of 16 feet.

The mammals roamed much of North America, grazing in its open plains and steppes. Like modern elephants, paleontologists believe the creatures were highly social animals that lived in herds led by a matriarch. Like today’s elephants, mammoths, too, were also threatened by humans.

The mammoths found in Tocuila were killed by natural causes, rather than a human hand. The hypothesis that currently has the most supporting fossil evidence is that the animals were killed when a gigantic lahar, or mudflow, was triggered by a volcanic eruption.

Know Before You Go

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entrance is free.


Jurassic Museum of Asturias

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

 The exhibit of the horny Tyrannosaurs. Mario Modesto /cc by-sa 3.0

A wonderful collection of fossilized dinosaurs and other creatures that roamed the landscape millions of years ago.

The hills and coastlines of Asturias are not only rich in prehistoric human history but also contain the fossilized remains of a much older and more primeval past, of the saurians that once dominated the landscape of Spain and the world at large.

The skeletons of many of these extinct creatures can be seen at the superb Jurassic Museum of Asturias (El Museo del Jurásico de Asturias). The museum itself is housed within a bizarrely shaped copper-roofed building designed by the architect Rafael Urribelarrea (and unmistakenly resembling a giant pair of breasts). Inside, it holds one of the largest and most complete collections of dinosaur remains in the world. 

Within the museum, you’ll find an immense display of fossils collected locally, including many dinosaur bones and footprints. There are also many assembled skeletons of dinosaur species on exhibit, such as the long-necked Camarasaurus. But it is perhaps the pair of horny T. rex skeletons that take the cake as the collection’s most amusing and uniquely bawdy dino display. 

Outside, on the spacious grounds of the museum, stand a number of gigantic lifesize and (presumably) lifelike sculptures of predatory and herbivorous dinosaurs, which make the lawns resemble an Iberian Jurassic park.

Know Before You Go

The museum is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 pm to 6 p.m. and weekends from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The entrance fee is 7.21 euro.


Jurassic World 3: Laura Dern Addresses Possibility of Cameo

Monday, April 29, 2019

After last appearing in Joe Johnston's Jurassic Park III, Laura Dern's Ellie Sattler has remained absent from the franchise. However, the actor has now discussed the possibility of her return in Jurassic World 3.

Speaking to ET, Dern addressed the possibility of Sattler's long-awaited return, saying, "I don't know. I have no idea. I mean, I love Dr. Ellie Sattler, so I could never say no to that on any level. But I really don't know. I don't even know what they're cooking up yet."

Dern did reveal she met with Chris Pratt, who is currently one of the series' leads, in a restaurant, saying, "We didn't even know each other. It was really funny. We ran into each other's arms and hugged each other like we were family because we were both in the same movie [franchise] and he just seemed fantastic and is hilarious. But yeah, I don't know any more."

If Dern does return, she wouldn't be the first cast member from the original film to do so. Jeff Goldblum had a memorable — but brief cameo — as Dr Ian Malcolm in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. It's unclear if Sam Neill would reprise his role as Alan Grant, as the actor has actively downplayed the possibility, saying the character has either retired or is dead by now.

Still, Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona welcomed the idea of Dern and Neill returning for Jurassic World 3. Whether Trevorrow has some surprise cameos remains to be seen, but it definitely sounds like Dern is up for stepping back into the role of Dr Ellie Sattler.

There are few details available for Jurassic World 3, which is slated for a 2021 release. The movie will see the return of Chris Pratt as Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing.


John Hammond: What Happened to the Jurassic Park Founder

Monday, April 29, 2019

Of all the fan-favorite characters to appear in the Jurassic Park franchise, none are more crucial than John Hammond. The founder of the dinosaur-populated theme park, the entire premise is brought about by Hammond's vision to take the fiction genetics corporation InGen into the world of entertainment by resurrecting the prehistoric creatures through advances in science and technology.

Despite his prominence and memorable performance by the late Sir Richard Attenborough, the cinematic incarnation of Hammond is significantly different from Michael Crichton's original novel. Now, CBR is breaking down the differences and similarities between the literary and cinematic versions of the visionary businessman and the deadly theme park he created.


A flashy venture capitalist who had always dreamed of entertaining the masses including running a flea circus decades ago in his native United Kingdom, John Hammond founded the genetics startup company International Genetic Technologies, Inc. (InGen). Hammond had attracted investors with his vision of cloning dinosaurs through genetic material found in fossils, opening a theme park on a private island off the coast of Costa Rica while a separate island would serve as the actual breeding ground for the theme park's dinosaurs.

Hammond had at least one daughter who had two children of her own and decided to bring both his grandchildren to test out Jurassic Park. With the board of investors worried about the park's safety and viability, those two kids joined with a lawyer, chaos scientist Ian Malcolm, and paleontologists Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler after the accidental death of a worker on site prompts a massive lawsuit against the company.


The original, literary version of Hammond, as created by author Michael Crichton, is a much more opportunistic character than his eventual cinematic counterpart. He's more interested in profit margins than the actual scientific miracles of cloning creatures extinct for millions of years and alienated employees with a hair-trigger temper and vocal mood swings. With that in mind, the literary Hammond planned to make access to the park excessively expensive with expansion plans for Europe and Japan should the initial Costa Rican site prove successful.

As the park descends into chaos following a massive thunderstorm engulfing the island, Hammond confused the stock sound of a Tyrannosaurus rex on the park's PA system for an actual one pursuing him. While panicking, Hammond falls down a hill and breaks his ankle leading to him being eaten by a pack of Procompsognathus; his movement and senses impeded by his injuries and the small dinosaurs' venomous bites.


The cinematic Hammond, portrayed by Attenborough in the first two films in the franchise, is considerably more sympathetic than the original source material. Insisting to keep prices affordable and the park as accessible to the general public as possible, this version of Hammond takes the time to personally be present at the hatching of every single dinosaur so they can imprint on him. Realizing the folly of his dreams, Hammond later tasks Malcolm to keep Site B's dinosaurs free from InGen's influence after being ousted from the company by his nephew who plots to open a theme park in San Diego during The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

After the existence of dinosaurs on Site B becomes public, Hammond publicly urges the creatures to be left to survive, free of human influence. By the time of Jurassic World, Hammond has been dead for some time with a bust of the entrepreneur visible in the lobby of one of the new park's facilities. Whether an altruistic visionary or an exploitative businessman, the entire premise of Jurassic Park springs from Hammond's dreams. Ultimately, the British tycoon founded InGen and used advanced genetic technology to bring dinosaurs into the modern era. As such, his legacy looms over the entire franchise.