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Adelophthalmus pyrrhae: Carboniferous-Period Sea Scorpion Was Capable of Breathing Air

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Lamsdell et al present details of the respiratory organs of Adelophthalmus pyrrhae from the Carboniferous of Montagne Noire, France, revealed through micro computed tomography (μ-CT) imaging. Image credit: Lamsdell et al, doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.08.034.

Paleontologists have examined the fossilized remains of a previously unknown species of eurypterid (sea scorpion) and found direct evidence that these marine creatures were able to breathe in subaerial environments through their main respiratory organs.

The new species, named Adelophthalmus pyrrhae, lived about 350 million years ago during the Carboniferous period.

It belongs to Eurypterida, a large group of extinct arthropods that thrived from the Ordovician through the Permian period.

Their closest living relatives are horseshoe crabs, which lay eggs on land but are unable to breathe above water.

The three-dimensionally preserved specimen of Adelophthalmus pyrrhae was found 25 years ago in the Lydiennes Formation in Montagne Noire region, France.

“We wondered if we could apply new technology to look into what was preserved of this specimen,” said Dr. James Lamsdell, a researcher in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University.

“I like the science and detective work that goes into research. And this was a cold case where we knew there was potential evidence.”

Using micro computed tomography (μ-CT) imaging technique, Dr. Lamsdell and colleagues studied the respiratory organs of Adelophthalmus pyrrhae.

First, they noticed that each gill on the sea scorpion was composed of a series of plates.

But the back contained fewer plates than the front, prompting them to question how it could even breathe.

Then they zeroed in on trabeculae — pillars connecting the different plates of the gill, which are seen in modern scorpions and spiders.

“That props the gills apart so they don’t collapse when out of water,” Dr. Lamsdell said.

“It’s something that modern arachnids still have. Finding that was the final indication.”

“The reason we think they were coming onto land was to move between pools of water. They could also lay eggs in more sheltered, safer environments and migrate back into the open water.”

The discovery of air-breathing structures in Adelophthalmus pyrrhae indicates that terrestrial characteristics occurred in the arachnid stem lineage, suggesting that the ancestor of arachnids were semi-terrestrial.

The findings were published online in the journal Current Biology.


James C. Lamsdell et al. Air Breathing in an Exceptionally Preserved 340-Million-Year-Old Sea Scorpion. Current Biology, published online September 10, 2020; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.08.034


Jurassic World 3 Theory: How Dominion Ends The Franchise

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Jurassic World: Dominion will take place in a world in which dinosaurs have been set free, and this could lead to a very daring end for the series.

The upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion could end in a way that would be both a game-changer and which would make a lot of sense for the franchise. Beginning with the release of Jurassic Park in 1993, the eponymous dino series has become the definitive take on dinosaur movies. Though it would experience of period of dormancy in the early 2000s and 2010s, the series returned to theaters with Colin Trevorrow's 2015 franchise revival Jurassic World, later followed in 2018 by J.A. Bayona's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The latter would take the series into a completely new direction by concluding with the surviving dinosaurs of the destroyed Jurassic World theme park being freed upon the world. Realistically, when one looks over the entire franchise, that exact ending was bound to happen sooner or later, and in fact, needed to happen in order for the stakes of dinosaurs being brought into the modern world to have the impact that it could. The question on the minds of audiences since the final moments of Fallen Kingdom is where the series goes from there.

That's the issue Jurassic World 3, which Trevorrow is returning to directwill be tasked with handling, but there's a simple solution that, from a narrative standpoint, makes complete sense for the Jurassic Park franchise to venture into. In essence, Dominion could conclude with humanity finding itself forced to share the planet with the newly freed dinosaurs. There's a lot of logistical and story maneuvering that would need to be implemented in order to pull this off, but it could also be the most hopeful and fulfilling ending for the Jurassic World franchise.

Fallen Kingdom Pays Off The Climax Of The Lost World

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom thematically follows on two of the key plot points of The Lost World: Jurassic World, with dinosaurs being brought to the continental U.S. and subsequently being unleashed into the world. The context is where they differ, with The Lost World showing a T-Rex being brought to San Diego by InGen and accidentally released from the cargo ship after the entire crew aboard has been killed. After rampaging through the city, the T-Rex's young offspring is used to lure it back to the ship, where it is tranquilized and taken back to Isla Sorna.

The ending of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom takes this same idea a step further, with the main attraction being the Indoraptor being auctioned to wealthy donors, while an entire zoo's worth of other dinosaurs from Jurassic World are also held in captivity. When the dinosaurs face imminent death from a gas leak, Maisie Lockwood frees them, citing the fact that "They're alive, like me", in reference to she herself being a clone of Benjamin Lockwood's daughter. The circumstances between the two may diverge, but Fallen Kingdom has taken the Jurassic Park franchise into the territory that was only touched upon by The Lost World's ending. Meanwhile, the resolution to that problem isn't as clear cut as it may seem.

The Options Of Mankind (And Dominion) Are Limited

With a new population of dinosaurs now beset upon the world, the shock of the new status quo was seen in Trevorrow's short film Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock, with the world's human population becoming aware of dinosaurs now living among them. With there not being so many dinosaurs out in the world as to make capturing them impossible, the natural inclination might be to round them all up and transport them back to their island home, except that Isla Nublar was wiped out by a volcanic eruption. Furthermore, while this would obviously be a humanitarian-driven strategy that Owen Grady and Claire Dearing would hope to follow, the governments of the world would likely be far more inclined to implement a military response to wipe out the dinosaurs.

While the relatively small number of dinosaurs roaming upon the world would make this a fairly easy task to accomplish, this presents a major narrative issue for Jurassic World 3. Since it began, the Jurassic Park series has been predicated on the wonder of the idea dinosaurs being brought out of extinction, along with Ian Malcom's insistence that chaos theory dictates that any attempt to keep them contained is doomed to failure. Eliminating dinosuars from the face of the Earth once and for all would completely undercut the entire thesis of the franchise, while being an overall quite depressing ending. However, there's a way for Dominion to work around this, and it all goes back to everything that Malcom has long asserted.

Man And Dinosaurs May End Up Co-Existing In Jurassic World 3

In his first appearance in Jurassic Park, Ian Malcom makes his aforementioned grim prophecy that attempting to impose control on a complex system like an island full of dinosaurs can only result in disaster, with Malcom being proven right over the course of the movie. Fallen Kingdom sees Malcom return in a Senate hearing to offer the warning that man and dinosaurs must now share the planet, concluding the film with the ominous words "Welcome to Jurassic World." Considering how the franchise has unfolded up to this point, the most hopeful conclusion that Dominion could offer may be to follow these words literally, and have humans finally finding a way to co-exist with dinosaurs.

It'd be a tough act to pull off, as it would require both the military response to the dinosaur outbreak to fail along with the dinosaur population being able to multiply enough for it to no longer be possible to contain (the latter of which could also account for why the dinosaurs weren't simply captured and taken to a different island). However, it would also be both a fitting and poetic note to end on, showing a middle ground between Malcom's pessimism and John Hammond's optimism about dinosaurs being brought into modern times as its ultimate outcome. A possible time jump of a decade or so into the future could be how Dominion brings its story to a close, with humans having fortified cities and structures to survive, the returning Malcom, Alan Grant, and Ellie Sattler perhaps even playing key roles in this, while dinosaurs inhabit formerly populated epicenters of human life, the planet having truly become "Jurassic World".

In the 27 years since the Jurassic Park franchise kicked off, the series has largely centered its action on islands isolated from the world of humans, with a brief glimpse at what it would look like if one dinosaur were let loose in a human city. Fallen Kingdom has set up the franchise to take a full dive into those waters, and with the situation now being what it is for the world, the best narrative choice might be for Jurassic World: Dominion to let this continue to unfold until humanity is forced to adapt to living on a planet full of dinosaurs. There are plenty of chips that would have fall in order for such a strategy to work, but with Malcom having once intoned that "Life finds a way", it may finally be time to let those words ring their truest.


Kapi ramnagarensis: 13-Million-Year-Old Gibbon Ancestor Discovered in India

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Map illustrating the location of Kapi ramnagarensis (black star) relative to modern (dark green) and historical (light green) populations of lesser apes (gibbons and siamangs) and the approximate distribution of stem hominoid sites in East Africa (blue triangles); green triangles mark the location of the lesser ape fossil species Bunopithecus and Yuanmoupithecus; yellow rectangles mark the location of the fossil catarrhine species Dionysopithecus sp. from Middle Miocene sites in Pakistan. Image credit: Luci Betti-Nash.

A new genus and species of small-bodied fossil ape that lived during the Middle Miocene epoch has been identified from a fossilized tooth found in Ramnagar, India. The discovery fills temporal, morphological, and biogeographic gaps in hominoid evolution and provides new evidence about when the ancestors of modern gibbons migrated to Asia from Africa.

Named Kapi ramnagarensis, the new primate species lived approximately 12.5-13.8 million years ago (Middle Miocene Epoch) and was distinct from all other known fossil apes.

Its complete lower molar was collected in 2015 from the Lower Siwaliks of Ramnagar in Jammu and Kashmir, India.

It represents the first new hominoid species discovered at the Ramnagar site in nearly a century and the first new Siwalik ape species in more than three decades.

“We knew immediately it was a primate tooth, but it did not look like the tooth of any of the primates previously found in the area,” said lead author Dr. Christopher Gilbert, a researcher in the Department of Anthropology at Hunter College of the City University of New York and the Division of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History.

“From the shape and size of the molar, our initial guess was that it might be from a gibbon ancestor, but that seemed too good to be true, given that the fossil record of lesser apes is virtually nonexistent.”

“There are other primate species known during that time, and no gibbon fossils have previously been found anywhere near Ramnagar.”

“So we knew we would have to do our homework to figure out exactly what this little fossil was.”

Dr. Gilbert and colleagues photographed and CT-scanned the specimen and compared it with teeth of living and extinct apes.

“What we found was quite compelling and undeniably pointed to the close affinities of the 13-million-year-old tooth with gibbons,” said co-author Dr. Alejandra Ortiz, a scientist in the Department of Anthropology at New York University and the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University.

“Even if, for now, we only have one tooth, and thus, we need to be cautious, this is a unique discovery.”

“It pushes back the oldest known fossil record of gibbons by at least 5 million years, providing a much-needed glimpse into the early stages of their evolutionary history.”

The age of the fossil is contemporaneous with well-known great ape fossils, providing evidence that the migration of great apes, including orangutan ancestors, and lesser apes (gibbons and siamangs) from Africa to Asia happened around the same time and through the same places.

“We found the biogeographic component to be really interesting,” said co-author Dr. Chris Campisano, a researcher in the Institute of Human Origins and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.

“Today, gibbons and orangutans can both be found in Sumatra and Borneo in Southeast Asia, and the oldest fossil apes are from Africa.”

“Knowing that gibbon and orangutan ancestors existed in the same spot together in northern India 13 million years ago, and may have a similar migration history across Asia, is pretty cool.”

The discovery of Kapi ramnagarensis is reported in a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Christopher C. Gilbert et al. 2020. New Middle Miocene Ape (Primates: Hylobatidae) from Ramnagar, India fills major gaps in the hominoid fossil record. Proc. R. Soc. B 287 (1934): 20201655; doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.1655


Why Vince Vaughn didn't return for Jurassic Park 3

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

When you look back on the Jurassic Park films, it's surprising just how many big names appeared in them. Samuel Jackson? Check. Julianne Moore? Also, check. And, though you might've forgotten about it, future Wedding Crashers star Vince Vaughn was in 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park, where he played Nick Van Owen, a photographer who ... well, pretty much messes up everything, repeatedly. Remember, not only was the guy who unlocks the dinosaur cages — thereby leading to all the communication gear getting trashed — but his actions also caused other people to be gobbled up by Mama T-Rex.

Needless to say, Nick Van Owen wasn't the most likable character in the series, even if his name (and that of his nemesis, Pete Postlethwaite's hunter, Roland Tembo) is a fun reference to a certain Warren Zevon song, as revealed by screenwriter David Koepp. In fact, Van Owen is so despised that there is even a petition arguing that Vaughn should return for the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion, purely so audiences can cheer as he gets devoured by dinosaurs.

As it currently stands, though, since Vaughn never returned to the series, his character's fate remains unanswered, and fans have often speculated why.

A dinosaur-sized mystery

Okay, first off, a disclaimer: no one has ever directly asked Vaughn, or the Jurassic Park III crew, about this, so some extrapolation is necessary. The first thing to keep in mind is that when Vaughn appeared in The Lost World, he was a rising star. As explains, director Steven Spielberg snatched him up at just the right time, because Vaughn was "a new movie star – an American icon to be." Vaughn, then, took the role primarily because he wanted to work with Spielberg, as he explained in an interview Vaughn gave at the film's premiere: "What attracted me was working with Steven, of course. I grew up on his movies."

Well, guess what? Spielberg didn't direct Jurassic Park III, which might explain why it's perceived as the awkward middle child of the franchise. The movie went through a troubled production cycle, involving many rewrites (via ComicCon). Meanwhile, Vaughn's star was rising, so even if he'd been offered a role — which it's unclear he ever was — a close look at his calendar demonstrates that scheduling would've been complicated, unless there was a strong desire for his return. Filming for Jurassic Park III launched in autumn of 2000, as reported by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and lasted five months: during that same year, as IMDB records, Vaughn had already filmed The Prime Gig, appeared in Sex and the City, then filmed Zoolander, according to, as well as co-writing, producing, and and starring in Made, alongside his friend Jon Favreau.

Essentially, until Vaughn gives his own account, one can assume that there probably wasn't time, desire, or good reason, to bring him back, particularly since Spielberg wasn't directing. That doesn't mean a future franchise entry can't have him get eaten by velociraptors, though.




Dr. Grant's Entire Jurassic Park Backstory Explained

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

It's not revolutionary to say that Jurassic Park movies live or die by their dinosaurs. It's the first world in the title and about 90 percent of the series' iconic logo. The dinos get pre-release buzz and butts in seats. Jurassic Park isn't a feature-length shot of a robot dinosaur wreaking havoc, though.

While the practical effects employed by Steven Spielberg and his crew for the original film were groundbreaking, they didn't reinvent the wheel when it came time to tell their story. The narrative of Jurassic Park centers around one man, a cynic who we have to empathize with to bring us into the world and make us believe it. Dr. Alan Grant's initial derision turns to wide-eyed wonderment and all-consuming fear along with the audience. And for that old trick to work, we have to like him a little bit.

Luckily, author Michael Crichton and the screenwriters of Jurassic Park knew this, creating an iconic character that could explain the science of the miraculous work being done inside the park — and react accordingly when it all went wrong.

A font of dinosaur knowledge

In both the novel and the film version of Jurassic Park, Dr. Grant is the source of dinosaur-related exposition. He starts the movie with a monologue about the dangers of sharp-clawed, pack-hunting dinosaurs, frightening a small child who took their deadliness for granted (and foreshadowing the events of the story). In explaining the terror of a prehistoric monster that a kid calls a "six-foot turkey," Grant establishes himself as the one in the room that's taking the danger of dinosaurs seriously. 

"He moves like a bird, lightly, bobbing his head. And you keep still because you think that maybe his visual acuity is based on movement like T-Rex — he'll lose you if you don't move. But no, not Velociraptor. You stare at him, and he just stares right back. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two raptors you didn't even know were there," he explains to an ever-more-uncomfortable visitor at his dig site. "He slashes at you... across the belly, spilling your intestines. The point is, you are alive when they start to eat you. So, you know, try to show a little respect."

Grant's explanations of what velociraptors and T. Rexes are might seem a bit superfluous after five movies and decades of soaking in dino knowledge, but it was necessary at the time. The public conception of dinosaurs, and boom in interest in the study of paleontology, can be directly linked to the popularity of Crichton's book and Spielberg's movie. Every '90s kid grew up with visions of brontosauruses in their heads, but those images were planted by animatronic creatures that stomped through Spielberg's frame while a slack-jawed Sam Neill looked on.

A working paleontologist

Even if the audience needs an authority figure to tell them what they're looking at when the dinosaurs come around, nobody likes to be lectured. To get around this, Crichton made Grant much more likable to the average reader by bringing him down out of the academic ivory tower and placing him in the Montana dirt. Though Grant is a world-renowned expert on dinosaur nests, he's equally at home in or outside the lecture hall.

The Grant of both the book and the movie is shown as a working man who prefers being on a dig site to writing up a paper on his findings. In the novel, he makes his feelings about his fellow academics clear and notes that he sees himself as a Joe Lunchbucket type who just happens to work in science. The movie drives this home by introducing him in a dusty landscape in Snakewater, Montana with a fresh layer of grime on his clothes. Spielberg wants the audience to know that Grant's come by his expertise honestly via real hands-on work in the hot sun and that he's not here to read passages from a 19th century naturalist in a haughty tone.

Last ditch effort

Jurassic Park founder and CEO Doctor John Hammond tracks Grant down and invites him to his latest venture, a park full of cloned dinosaurs off the coast of Costa Rica. The park is in jeopardy of never opening, as a park employee was killed by one of the genetically engineered velociraptors set to be on display at the island-sized zoo. Hammond hopes that he can get the seal of approval from all parties involved, staving off a crisis of investors fleeing the project.

Grant feels compelled to go, as Hammond is funding his current dig. He comes along with his paleobotanist partner Ellie Sattler, joining Hammond, his attorney, and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm for a preview of the park.  If the dinosaur experts rule that the attractions are safe, the chaos theorist rules that they've done everything possible to stave off a breakdown, and the lawyer feels that Hammond isn't setting himself up for disaster, then the park can go ahead with its planned opening.

A split characterization

In the movie, Dr. Grant is very wary of children. Part of the movie's charm is the way it shows the hard-edged and science-driven Grant warming to Hammond's grandchildren over time. Sam Neill initially plays the character as a prickly child hater, standing in for a certain audience reaction to precocious children and the complications they can cause in a park filled with dinosaurs.

On the contrary, the book's version of Dr. Grant is instantly taken with Hammond's grandchildren. In fact, this was the point of Hammond bringing them along for the test run of the park in the first place. He hoped that seeing the awe and joy that the dinosaurs brought to children would dull the edges of the scientist's critiques, as they wouldn't want to be spoilsports. Dr. Grant in the novel sees the potential for another excitable and hardworking paleontologist in Tim, a self-styled expert on dinosaurs who has the tireless energy of obsessed kids everywhere.

Regardless of his initial feelings, in both versions of the story Grant becomes a protector of Hammond's grandchildren as they attempt to escape the park alive.

By the skin of their teeth

After a helicopter ride during which Malcolm shares why he believes the park will fall into chaos, Grant is wowed by a drive into the park where they encounter the first living, breathing Brachiosaurus in millions of years. Hammond strikes while the awe iron is hot, taking the paleontologist to a presentation that reveals the way his team was able to clone dinosaurs in the first place.

Park scientists extracted dinosaur DNA from prehistoric mosquitoes trapped in amber and filled in the gaps of dinosaurs' genetic code using frog DNA, after which the genetic material was deposited into unfertilized eggs and allowed to grow and hatch. To get around the worry of dinosaur population growth straining the park's containment infrastructure, the geneticists made all of the dinosaurs female and further sterilized them with X-rays.

After they take in the scene inside the park's labs, Grant decides he wants to see one of the most dangerous species on the entire island. If the park is truly going to be safe, it needs to control its raptors. He's especially curious about the moves they've made following a death from a raptor on the island. After learning that the raptor population has dwindled as the dinosaurs fought among themselves, and seeing the remaining velociraptors tear into a cow, the group breaks for lunch and shares its opinions on the park so far.

A revered, if under-celebrated, expert

The tides of opinion aren't in Hammond's favor. Ian questions whether it's ethical to bring an extinct animal back to life, while both of the paleontologists worry that there could be unforeseen problems with remaking dinosaurs. They have no idea how right they are.

Dr. Grant has the misfortune of visiting the park while a disgruntled employee of Hammond's is hoping to pull off a heist of Jurassic Park's most valuable assets: the dinosaur embryos. He hopes to wait for a moment of vulnerability and shut down the security system, which arrives while Grant and the rest of the inspection team are on the island.

After an uneventful tour during which none of the dinosaurs on display cooperate, a storm lays into the island. When the employees of the park leave due to the monsoon, the scheming employee shuts down the electrical grid so he can access the embryos. Unfortunately, this also shuts off the electrified fences and other gates used to hold in the park's more dangerous dinosaurs. The resulting darkness and storm strand Dr. Grant with Hammond's grandchildren as a T. Rex breaks out of its containment.

Grant is forced to face down several free-roaming megapredators, including a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex that attacks the group's disabled Jeep. While fleeing the unleashed monsters, Grant stumbles upon a nest of eggs (something that shouldn't be possible).

They determine that the dinosaurs were able to switch sexes, as some frogs are able to do in the absence of male or female partners. Meanwhile, just about every system imaginable is breaking down inside the park.

A further shutdown of the park's systems to fix the issues implanted by the programmer frees the velociraptors, who trap Hammond's grandchildren in a kitchen. They are able to escape and meet up with Grant before all three of them are cornered by a loose T. Rex. The dinosaur is distracted by the pack of raptors and the trio flee to safety. Hammond reconnects with Grant and his family and they flee the island on a helicopter.

Given how catastrophic his first experience with living dinosaurs was, it's no surprise that Alan Grant is not around for the second Jurassic Park adventure, The Lost World. The characters do cite Grant's writing as an authority on the subject, however.

Lost without Grant

The second attempted iteration of Jurassic Park happens without the help of Drs. Grant or Hammond. The original InGen founder and CEO stepped down after the disaster on his planned island, but his upstart nephew Peter is looking to right the ship and build a new dinosaur attraction in San Diego. Peter Hammond reaches out to Ian Malcolm and reveals that InGen had another island of dinosaurs that they used for research, and he's hoping to harvest some of these free-living dinosaurs and bring them to the Southern California park for paying customers.

This goes about as well as you might expect, with several of InGen's hired guns dying on the island in the quest to corral a T. Rex. The king of the dinosaurs is eventually herded onto a ship, but he manages to kill all the crew members before the boat crashes into a San Diego harbor. The deadly dinosaur rampages through the city in search of an infant T. Rex that had been taken from it, but the dinosaurs are eventually captured and returned to Isla Sorna, where Hammond pleads that humanity leave them alone.

Troubled relationship with dinos

As you might expect, Grant's relationship to dinosaurs changes significantly after nearly losing his life several times over in Jurassic Park. He's deeply traumatized by his in-person encounters with the great beasts, to the point that it begins to affect his work. Though Grant can't quite shake the field he's dedicated his entire life to studying, the Grant that audiences are introduced to in the third Jurassic Park movie seems to want to have as little to do with dinosaurs as his job as a paleontologist allows.

In particular, Grant is deeply disdainful of the cloned dinosaurs created by Dr. Hammond and his lackeys. He calls them monsters and freaks to anyone who will listen as he toils on sites that are suffering from a lack of interest in fossils. His professional life is further hindered by the people who want to hear about what he went through at the original Jurassic Park. If his lectures are attended at all, they're often full of people who want to hear about the worst day of his life.


Eventually, economic realities force Grant to take a job that will bring him into the proximity of a dinosaur park. A wealthy couple convinces Dr. Grant to do a fly-over of Isla Sorna to provide his expertise about what they are looking at. As they get near the island, it becomes clear that the couple had no intention of letting Grant just glance at the situation. The helicopter begins to lower as henchman knock Grant unconscious.

When he wakes up, he's been stranded on the island. Grant, along with his new dig partner Billy and the wealthy couple, begin to scour their new surroundings. The couple had hired Grant believing he knew the island — knowledge they were hoping to use because their son Eric had disappeared while visiting two months prior. An illegal paragliding operation that gave tours of the off-limits island brought their son over the park when his rigging broke and he was left behind on Isla Sorna.

Grant is entirely unfamiliar with the island, however, as it's different from the one on which the original Jurassic Park was built. Stuck there anyway, the group carris on with their search, finding the corpse of someone who was traveling with Eric. After several encounters with raptors, Grant finds Eric hiding out in an overturned supply truck on the largely abandoned island.

Escaping Isla Sorna

After several more attacks, Grant learns that his site manager Billy Brennan, who helped convince him to take the trip in the first place and ended up coming along, stole several dinosaur eggs in the hopes of securing funding for further study when they left the island. As velociraptors are highly territorial pack-hunting animals, the raptors begin tracking the eggs down and attacking the group.

After Billy is wounded, Grant takes the eggs and uses them to lay a trap for the raptors. He surrenders the eggs to the animals and then uses a faux-raptor larynx to frighten them away, after which the group uses a satellite phone to call Grant's former partner Ellie in the hopes that she can rouse the Navy. When they make it to the coast, they find that their plans worked and escape the island on a military vessel. Though several other Jurassic Park movies have been made (with ever more complicated justifications for new parks), Grant largely drops off the radar following his second brush with real-life dinosaurs. Though you might expect him to be a broken man at this point, seeing the dinosauars up close merely reinvigorates his desire to study the ancient creatures. Having experienced the way the velociraptors hunt from the other end, his need to know more about them only increases.

All that aside, he seems happy to do his investigating on dead dinosaurs from dig sites, leaving the later parks to other people.

The return

Grant couldn't stay away from the dinosaurs forever, though. Two more trips to ill-fated parks have come and gone since Dr. Grant hung up his famous hat. But he's putting it back on for the upcoming film Jurassic World: Dominion. Actor Sam Neill broke the news to the Jurassic faithful when he posted on Twitter that he'd begun filming a reprisal of his famous role.

"Hold onto your hat. Getting my old one back this week, and facing off dinosaurs once again. Best yet," he said. "Excited and terrified — these things will kill ya."

Neill noted that a lot has changed since his first time in the role, joking that he's a lot more "grizzled" than the man who first set foot in Jurassic Park. But other things won't change one bit. He posted a photo of his iconic hat from the set of the movie, saying "Hello, old friend." And his tags indicate that Laura Dern will also be returning to the lost world, taking up her role of Ellie.


Jeff Goldblum On Why His 'Jurassic Park' Character Is 'Relevant' More Than Ever

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Jeff Goldblum opened up about his role in the upcoming movie “Jurassic World: Dominion” and revealed why his portrayal of Dr. Ian Malcolm is still “relevant” today, noting that his character was way ahead of his time.

Speaking in an interview with People, the 67-year-old actor said that his character in the original film series always talked about things like the fragility of our species and the global cooperation that’s needed to use science ethically.

“As it happens, there are things that my character talks about, has always talked about. The fragility of our species and the global cooperation that is needed, and the foundation in science that’s needed, and the ethical use of science that’s needed to unite us in trust and connectedness as a family,” People quoted Goldblum, as saying.

He went on to explain that people need to reach their “true potential” in doing what is right for the planet. He believes that all the aforementioned things are “more relevant” than ever.

“And to reach our potential and do right by ourselves and this glorious planet. All of those things are now more relevant than ever,” Goldblum said during the interview.

The third movie in the franchise will see the stars of the original “Jurassic Park” movies like Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Laura Dern sharing the big screen once again.

Recently, Neill shared a video on his official Twitter account in which he and Goldblum can be seen singing classic songs like “I Remember You” (Frank Field) and “A Fine Romance” (“Swing Time”). The stars are currently filming the movie in the U.K., and they decided to bless the fans with a video on their day off.

Taika Waititi, who has worked with Goldblum in “Thor: Ragnarok,” shared the actor’s tweet and said that this week just keeps on getting “better and better.”  

“This week just gets better and BETTER. Two of my favourite ls right here,” Waititi wrote.

Helmed by Colin Treverrow, “Jurassic World: Dominion” will also see Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprising their respective roles of Owen Grady and Claire.

The film is scheduled to hit the theaters on June 11, 2021.


Minjinia turgenensis: Devonian Fossil Shows Sharks May Have Evolved from Bony Ancestors

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Virtual 3D model of the braincase of Minjinia turgenensis generated from CT scan. Inset shows raw scan data showing the spongy endochondral bone inside. Image credit: Brazeau et al, doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-01290-2.

Paleontologists in Mongolia have found the fossilized remains of Minjinia turgenensis, a new genus and species of placoderm fish that lived 410 million years ago (Early Devonian period). They’ve examined a partial braincase and skull roof of Minjinia turgenensis and found extensive endochondral bone, the hard bone that makes up our skeleton after birth. This discovery suggests the lighter skeletons of sharks may have evolved from bony ancestors, rather than the other way around.

Sharks have skeletons made of cartilage, which is around half the density of bone.

Cartilaginous skeletons are known to evolve before bony ones, but it was thought that sharks split from other animals on the evolutionary tree before this happened, keeping their cartilaginous skeletons while other fish, and eventually us, went on to evolve bone.

Minjinia turgenensis belongs to a broad group of fish called placoderms, out of which sharks and all other jawed vertebrates — animals with backbones and mobile jaws — evolved.

Previously, no placoderm had been found with endochondral bone, but the skull fragments of the ancient fish species were wall-to-wall endochondral.

This could suggest the ancestors of sharks first evolved bone and then lost it again, rather than keeping their initial cartilaginous state for more than 400 million years.

“It was a very unexpected discovery,” said lead author Dr. Martin Brazeau, a researcher in the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London and the Department of Earth Sciences at Natural History Museum, London.

“Conventional wisdom says that a bony inner skeleton was a unique innovation of the lineage that split from the ancestor of sharks more than 400 million years ago, but here is clear evidence of bony inner skeleton in a cousin of both sharks and, ultimately, us.”

“If sharks had bony skeletons and lost it, it could be an evolutionary adaptation,” he added.

“Sharks don’t have swim bladders, which evolved later in bony fish, but a lighter skeleton would have helped them be more mobile in the water and swim at different depths.”

“This may be what helped sharks to be one of the first global fish species, spreading out into oceans around the world 400 million years ago.”

The study was published online in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.


M.D. Brazeau et al. Endochondral bone in an Early Devonian ‘placoderm’ from Mongolia. Nat Ecol Evol, published online September 7, 2020; doi: 10.1038/s41559-020-01290-2


Christians Target McDonald’s T. Rex: ‘It’s blasphemy!’

Monday, September 7, 2020

Image via YouTube

A LANDMARK Tyrannosaurus rex that’s been outside a McDonald’s outlet in Tucson, Arizona, since 1994, has been declared ‘blasphemous’ by a member of a group called Christians Against Dinosaurs which has 19,000 members.

The outfit, in a recent post on its private Facebook page said:

Please help! This McDonald’s has this dinosaur and refuse to remove it! This is in Tucson, Arizona. Call the manager and demand the removal of this blasphemy!

But Lizzeth Alvarez, Area Supervisor for Dias Management Inc, which owns the bustling franchise is adamant the dinosaur is not going anywhere soon.

Absolutely not. People really seem to like it. It’s a landmark really.

One dumb member of CAD who appears to be leading the charge against the 18-foot-tall, 40-foot-long concrete dinosaur is Josh Brown who  gave out the the address and phone number of the McDonald’s outlet.

He said he lives and works in Tucson, and he doesn’t see anything funny about:

Lying to our children. It seems to me that every dinosaur story and display or dinosaur themed event is furthering the myth that the Earth is much older than the Bible says it is. Yes, the dinosaur should go unless they’re willing to compromise with a plaque of some kind stating that it’s a fictional character.”

Most Facebook users responded to Brown’s call for a protest with jokes or messages of support for the dinosaur.

Brown is now claiming he’s being harassed and threatened online. He said someone even tried to hack into his personal Facebook account.

He said a lot of the comments directed his way have come from:

People who wanted to save the dinosaur or to message me personally and spew insults and threats.

In a later post to the CAD community, Brown blasted a different dinosaur, this one in front of the McDonald’s off I-10 in Benson. He called it:

A conduit of lies and dinoporn that are corrupting our children’s minds.

Dias Management owns 18 McDonald’s restaurants in Arizona, 15 of them in the Tucson area. Alvarez said staff members at the Tanque Verde location first found out about the anger over the dinosaur from a few customers who mentioned the post or called in to ask if it was for real.

Some employees wondered if there would be a protest of some kind in front of the restaurant, but Alvarez said she wasn’t aware of anyone even calling in to complain about the dinosaur so far, though several people on Facebook claimed they did.

The T-Rex dates to when the restaurant first opened in 1994 — part of an all-around dinosaur theme aimed squarely at kids and inspired by the wild success of the first Jurassic Park movie.

Alvarez said the restaurant’s owners have taken to dressing their dino up in different holiday costumes throughout the year. In early May, she said, the statue “got all this extra attention” when they covered its nose and mouth with a giant mask to promote pandemic safety.

Image via YouTube

Is CAD real or a prank aimed at making Christian fundies look stupid?

Apparently the former. In 2015, tech website CNET brought readers attention to the group. Writer Chris Matyszczy contacted CAD’s Twitter feed and asked who was its leader and was this all a joke.  He received this reply: ‘We do not have a leader, we are a collective.” and he was told they is most definitely not a joke.

In the same year, a CAD supporter posted this message to parenting forum Mumsnet:

Shortly after, Mumsnet banned the woman who posted the message.

CAD itself insists on Facebook that it’s genuine in this extract from its Q&A:

• Q: This must be a joke page right?/ Is this satire?
A: No it isn’t. The Cadmins and the ones that genuinely follow this group all believe dinosaurs never existed. If that’s to hard to understand for you maybe this group isn’t the right group for you.
• Q: Do you guys ectually (sic)  believe the earth is only 6000 years old?
A: Most of us do not believe this. We aren’t YECs. If you don’t know what a YEC is than maybe this group isn’t the right group for you
• Q: We have so much evidence dinosaurs are real, why don’t you show me some Jesus bones?
A: No you haven’t. Jesus died upon the cross, was buried and ressurected (sic). On Ascension Day he went to heaven. So there are no Jesus bones to show you. If you refuse to accept this than maybe this group isn’t the right group for you.

Meanwhile, Universal Life Church Ministries opened  up a debate on the issue, asking “Does God hate dinosaurs?”

The answers make for amusing reading: Here are just two:

Dinosaurs would eat humans if they were still around therefore, we shouldn’t be celebrating them and all statues of dinosaurs should be torn down…

Damn it, Christians! Get your stories straight. The folks at the Creation Museum say that dinosaurs and humans coexisted. They have them on display at the Ark Encounter, so it must be true!

FYI: There’s a Facebook Group called Dinosaurs Against Christians Who Are Against Dinosaurs which has more than 45,000 members.

Note: People in Europe may not be able to access some links from unless they have a VPN.


How Jurassic World 3 Can Explain New Dinosaurs

Monday, September 7, 2020

Jurassic World: Dominion promises to end the rebooted franchise on a high, but how will the film explain the new dinosaurs seen in set photos?

Jurassic World: Dominion promises to end the rebooted franchise on a high, but how will the film explain the new dinosaurs seen in set photos?

The upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion promises to end the rebooted Jurassic Park franchise on a high, but how will the film explain the new dinosaurs seen in set photos? Critics and fans alike enjoyed Jurassic World, the Jurassic Park franchise's rebooted return to theatres in 2015. Sure, the film failed to feature the demented soldier-dinosaur-hybrids that early Jurassic Park 4 drafts promised, but it was an enjoyable action-adventure outing nonetheless.

2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom complicated the franchise mythology with arms dealers buying hybrid-dinosaurs, human clones, and an ending which saw dinosaurs finally free to roam the earth alongside humans. It was a wild ride and one which seemed to indicate an end to the franchise's dabbling with genetic splicing. By the film's closing scene the labs used to engineer super-dinos were destroyed and most of their owners and operators were dead.

Eager fans of the franchise have been wondering why Jurassic World: Dominion has so many legacy characters returning from earlier installments, and the answer may lie in recent photos from the film's set. The images seem to suggest the existence of new pyroraptors, a hitherto-unseen breed of dinosaur that has many fans wondering how new dinosaurs could come into being with the franchise's villainous DNA-meddlers largely neutralized. The answer? "We've got Dodgson here!"

While nobody cared when Dennis Nedry, the Hawaiian-shirted villain (or maybe underpaid, overworked antihero) announced Dodgson's presence in the original Jurassic Park, the announcement that Cameron Thor would reprise the role for Jurassic World 3 did catch people's attention. BioSyn's Lewis Dodgson is confirmed to return in Jurassic World: Dominion, which means the film can deliver the plot which was dropped by The Lost World way back in 1997. If it followed the plot of its source novel, the sequel would originally have seen BioSyn, InGen's biggest competitor, continue to try stealing genetic material from InGen's dinosaurs — events that drove the plot of the first film.

What's important is that the return of Dodgson could herald all manner of new experimental dinosaurs if the film sees BioSyn gets their hands on the long-sought-after dino DNA. With all the Indominus Rexes and Indoraptors of the sequel series, it's hard to believe that only 6 dinosaurs appear in the original Jurassic Park. But, as Bryce Dallas Howards's conflicted heroine noted in Jurassic World, audiences expect something new, scary, and exciting with each coming attraction. With B.D Wong's amoral DNA specialist Henry Wu returning alongside many more of that film's cast, it's starting to look increasingly likely that new and improved dinos are exactly what Jurassic World: Dominion will provide — maybe even that soldier-dino-hybrid.


Man Spends £1,600 To Surprise Wife With 12ft Dinosaur Replica – But It Doesn’t Go To Plan

Monday, September 7, 2020

Adrian with Dave (Picture: SWNS)   Read more:  Twitter: | Facebook:

After a few weeks of warm weather, Deborah Shaw thought her garden looked a little overgrown and asked her husband Adrian to tidy it up. So he decided to surprise her with a new addition to their outside space – a 12ft-tall replica of a T. rex, costing £1,600.

Adrian, 52, snapped up the 14-stone resin and fiberglass dinosaur – named ‘Dave’ and hired a crane to winch it into position on Thursday. While Deborah, 53, was out the dinosaur was moved into the back garden of their home in Leamington Spa, Warks. IT analyst Adrian explained: ‘This project is a result of my wife’s request to make the garden look nice. ‘She suggested I clear away the weeds and maybe put a gnome on the patio which got me thinking. ‘I thought nothing could possibly look nicer in the garden than a 3.5 metre replica of a rampaging T-Rex, so I bought one.

Dave the dinosaur Adrian Shaw / SWNS)

‘I guess that it is most people’s dream to own a 3.5 metre replica of a rampaging T-Rex but they don’t have the space or resources to do this. ‘I have been very fortunate to be able to realise the dream.’ He bought the dinosaur from a company in Wales who said they could deliver it but Adrian had to hire the crane to lift it.

The dinosaur being winched into the garden (Picture: Adrian Shaw / SWNS)

He added: ‘The neighbours loved it and took lots of pictures and I thought it looked great in the garden.’ But his plan to surprise his wife didn’t quite go to plan and she ended up getting a fright in the middle of the night. Adrian, who has been together with Deborah for 20 years and married for six, added: ‘I thought my wife would be thrilled to bits but I don’t think she was as enthusiastic as I’d expected her to be.

Adrian spent £1,600 on the replica (Picture: Tristan Potter / SWNS)

‘She loves the Jurassic Park films and watches all the David Attenborough documentaries, so I thought I couldn’t go wrong with the purchase really. ‘She came home late from work and it was dark so I thought I’d surprise her with Dave the next morning when she opened the curtains.

Deborah was surprised by Dave in the middle of the night (Picture: Adrian Shaw / SWNS)

‘I’d even set up my camera to capture her reaction, which I was expecting to be one of sheer delight.’ But Deborah got up in the middle of the night to let the dog out for a wee and she came face to face with the T-Rex, illuminated by the security lights.

Adrian said: ‘I could hear the screams and went running downstairs but even after the initial shock, she continued to scream. ‘I’ve fallen in love with Dave though and he’s not going anywhere. I’m sure Deborah will understand and grow to love him just as much as I do.’