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Jurassic Park x Transformers Crossover Revealed and Available on Amazon

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hasbro has unveiled its latest crossover Transformers figures, this time mashing up the classic robot forms of the Transformers with alt-modes based on the original Jurassic Park, and they're great. Hasbro so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. OK, that's not true, someone DEFINITELY thought they should, and the results speak for themselves.

The figure set is up for preorder on Amazon right now, with a November 1 release date. If you miss the first round, Hasbro will drop a second wave in December, on both Amazon and Hasbro Pulse.

Check out the image gallery below to see the Transformers Generations Collaborative Jurassic Park mash-up figures in all their glory:

The movie's famous T-Rex is now Tyrannocon Rex and its in a timeless battle with the heroic Autobot JP93. This is a very cool crossover, one of many iconic films to get the Transformers Generations treatments. There's the Top Gun Transformers crossover, Back to the Future Transformers crossovers, and Ghostbusters Transformers as well. My own opinion on these is they're all awesome and wonderful, but I'm a sucker for Transformers and mash-ups.

The $105 price tag seems a bit steep, but if you preorder now on Amazon and the price drops anytime between when you place your order and its November 1 ship date, you'll pay the lower price. Also it's worth pointing out Amazon doesn't charge you until the item ships.

You can also preorder the Transformers: The Movie 35th Anniversary 4K Blu-ray, which just so happens to be on sale.


Jurassic World 3 BTS Image Shows New Dinosaur Practical Models

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The dinosaurs are the stars of the latest behind the scenes image from Jurassic World 3 - specifically, the practical models created for the film.

A new behind the scenes image from Jurassic World: Dominion reveals a closer look at the practical dinosaur models used for the film. The third and final Jurassic World movie is still a year away, yet excitement already feels like it is at a fever pitch. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the film will pick up four years after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which ended with dinosaurs running free in the outside world. Despite this major development for the franchise, Dominion will go back to its roots in many ways, especially through the returns of Jurassic Park stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum.

Beyond that trio, Jurassic World 3 will once again be led by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and it will feature several familiar faces from the franchise. Plot details beyond the dinosaurs loose in the world remain under wraps, but those who venture out to see F9 in IMAX will be treated to an exclusive sneak peek at the film. The first teaser from Jurassic World 3 takes viewers back to the Cretaceous period and introduces some new, fearsome dinosaurs like the Giganotosaurus.

Not quite as massive but still impressive are the practical dinosaur heads revealed in the latest Jurassic World: Dominion behind the scenes image. The official Jurassic World social media account shared an up close look at the recreated dinos, and the detail is incredible. An artist can be seen putting some final touches on the teeth of one of the heads. Check them out below.

Though Jurassic World 3 of course uses CGI for many of its large creatures, it's cool to see practical dinosaurs are still a key part of the movie. The original Jurassic Park made use of both animatronics and CGI, and its predecessors have kept up that tradition. With so many new dinosaurs expected to be a part of Jurassic World 3, it'll be interesting to figure out which ones are practical and which ones are CGI. It might be safe to say that the biggest dinos are created via special effects.

Audiences are eager for more peeks at Jurassic World: Dominion, but these behind the scenes pictures might be the only glimpses they'll get for a while. Trevorrow told us here at Screen Rant that he doesn't know when the first Jurassic World 3 trailer will arrive, but that there will be plenty of teasers to tide everyone over. Jurassic World 3 is currently scheduled for release in June 2022, so there's a year's worth of promotion ahead. Stay tuned for further updates.

Source: Jurassic World/Twitter /

Why Jurassic Park Always Struggled With Dinosaurs Being Birds

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Jurassic World: Dominion will change this, but so far the Jurassic Park series has depicted dinosaurs the way the world imagines them: sans feathers.

The Jurassic Park franchise has always struggled with the idea that evolutionarily speaking, dinosaurs were essentially giant birds - despite both the original and now Jurassic World: Dominion addressing this. Since beginning in 1993, the Jurassic Park and subsequent Jurassic World movies have fallen in and out of favor with critics, with the first movie and Jurassic World receiving stellar reviews while their follow-ups earned more mixed responses. However, one thing that every installment in the franchise has in common is (mostly) ignoring a vital part of the real-life appearances of dinosaurs - until Jurassic World: Dominion's first teaser trailer, that is.

To keep the villains of the franchise awe-inspiring and terrifying instead of a little unintentionally comical, the Jurassic Park franchise has always had to play fast and loose with biology. The velociraptors and T-rex of the Jurassic Park series are not depicted with feathers in the movies, despite evidence that their real-life equivalents would have been feathered animals. Dinosaurs acted as evolutionary precedents for birds, rather than reptiles, something that the series occasionally addresses but never dwells on for any significant screen time.

Going back to Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park, Dr. Grant does concede early on in the movie that the velociraptors were essentially giant turkeys, but the movie (and its sequels, and two reboot sequels) then went on to avoid this idea. The reason is pretty obvious for many fans of the franchise, as it's a monster movie series first and foremost, and a giant bloodthirsty lizard is a lot scarier than a big chicken. However, numerous other important factors play into the Jurassic Park movies depicting velociraptors and T-Rex as giant lizards rather than birds.

Like fur, feathers are tricky for CGI animators to work with. Essentially hundreds of independently moving parts, feathers are a complex visual to incorporate and would likely have been impossible for animators to realize in the '90s when Jurassic Park's CGI was already extremely expensive and cutting edge. A costly addition, feathers also ran the risk of making the monsters look less, rather than more, scary. As a massive franchise with toy tie-ins and plentiful merchandise, Jurassic Park needed its dinosaurs to be both scary and cool-looking, neither of which would have been had they been given feathers.

To be fair to the series, since Dr. Grant's first appearance Jurassic Park has not hidden the real-life origins of dinosaurs from viewers. Crichton’s writing was grounded in real-life science, meaning many of these necessary logical gaps have believable canon explanations. For example, the dinosaurs seen throughout the series are genetically engineered and brought to life by lab technicians, so it is a reasonable guess that the theme park owners demanded the scientists get rid of their feathers to make the monsters more interesting for the park attendees. This Jurassic Park theory is reinforced by the later movies, which see the amoral organizers creating new dinosaurs solely to draw in crowds despite the obvious risks.

Meanwhile, the movies have drawn the comparison in more subtle ways, too. One of Jurassic World’s best gags featured a playful visual reference to the evolutionary connection early on in its action, with a match-cut jumping from the Indominus Rex beginning to break out of its egg to a crow stamping on a patch of suburban lawn. Between this visual gag and Dr. Grant’s turkey comparison, along with Crichton’s research, it is obvious that the Jurassic Park series knows dinosaurs were feathered creatures who looked similar to birds. However, while the IMAX teaser trailer for Jurassic World: Dominion shows the first feathered dinosaur in the series, viewers can be guaranteed that the franchise will likely still struggle to take the bird-like monsters seriously. After all, even creature features as solid as the Jurassic Park movies would struggle to make a turkey threatening.


For Private Collectors, Dinosaur Bones Are Like The New Picasso

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

These days, fossil collectors crave bones like fine art. In the last month, a tyrannosaurus tooth sold at auction for over $11,000. A double butterfly in amber sold at the same auction for almost $38,000.

Could bones become the new Picasso? And who has the cash to take a bite out of the world's inventory of dinosaur bones anyway?

Christian Sidor is a paleontologist at the Burke Museum. He says that among all the rare things in the world that collectors yearn for, dinosaurs and fossils are at the top of the list. And people generally don't have to go far. They can search their own private land.

"There are a lot of commercial collectors out there these days," Sidor said. "There's a huge economic incentive for people to go out and look for them on private land. All of that is totally legal."

"That's what our culture, our government, has decided is the way to go. We've carved out exceptions for archeological sites, you're not allowed to just take [from] whatever archeological site that's on your land, that has special laws governing it [...] fossils are treated as private property, and so if you're on your land, it belongs to you."

Sometimes, land owners will strike a deal with a commercial outlet and let them excavate the private land for fossils. In return, they'll share the fossil's profits after it sells at auction.

There's a market for just about anything — and fossils are hot right now. Collectors are paying tens of thousands of dollars for the latest dig, and that's making it difficult for museums and universities. Private collections are also threatening paleontologists' missions to track important finds.

But what about paleontologists like Sidor? Does he decorate his home with dinosaur skeletons? Or at a minimum, keep a private collection of fossils?

"No, I don't," Sidor said. "As a professional paleontologist, we have an ethics statement. And part of that [is] fossils should be reposited in public museums. So, a privately-held fossil goes against that ethics statement."

What about the ethical responsibility of museums? Museums in the United States and Europe have a historical legacy of taking fossils from the countries they colonized, and then displaying them in their own museums.

Sidor says that in the past few years, he's heard of several cases in which fossils were illegally exported, and then ended up in a museum or in the hands of a private owner.

"There are just so many fossils however, we'll never know of, that go into private hands [and] the research community never hears of them, or only hears of them through some shadowy photo that someone has of this spectacular something or other, that will never see the light of day, scientifically," Sidor said.

When it comes with competing with private fossil collectors with seemingly unlimited budgets, public institutions like museums just can't keep up.

"Anytime we're competing with private individuals who have that kind of purchasing power, natural history museums as nonprofits just can't compete," Sidor said. "Barring having people who are affiliated with the museum, supporters of the museum will go out and purchase something and then donate it to the museum, we're out of luck."

Dinosaurs have fascinated humans for centuries, and they still impact our culture today. Movie franchises like Jurassic Park are a testament to that. It's understandable that dinosaur fanatics could want to own the bone of their favorite type of herbivore. But that desire comes at a greater cost, according to Sidor.

"People should know that if fossils go into private hands, the scientists aren't going to see them, but more importantly, maybe the public isn't going to see them," Sidor said. "They're going to be in someone's big vaulted ceiling, and at some point in the future someone's probably going to get bored of that and decide they want something else in that space, and then who knows what happens to the fossil at that point?

Produced for the web by Noel Gasca from an interview between host Bill Radke and Christian Sidor from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture


Cretaceous-Period Bird from China ‘Had Dinosaur Skull’

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird from Liaoning province, China: (a) photograph; (b) digital reconstruction. Abbreviations: at – atlas, ca – caudal vertebrae, ce – cervical vertebrae, dt – distal tarsals, lfe – left femur, lil – left ilium, lis – left ischium, lpu – left pubis, mt II-IV – metatarsals II to IV, pd II-IV – pedal digits II to IV, ph – proximal phalanx of hallux, pt – proximal tarsals, py – pygostyle, rb – rib, rfe – right femur, rfi – right fibula, ril – right ilium, ris – right ischium, rpu – right pubis, rti – right tibia, sk – skull, sv – sacral vertebra, tv – thoracic vertebrae. Scale bars – 10 mm. Image credit: Wang et al., doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24147-z.

Paleontologists have described a new enantiornithine bird with a well-preserved skull from the Early Cretaceous of northeastern China.

The newly-identified bird species lived in what is today China’s Liaoning province during the Early Cretaceous period, some 120 million years ago.

The ancient creature had a 2-cm- (0.8-inch) long skull with a mix of dinosaurian and bird features.

It belongs to Enantiornithes (opposite birds), an extinct group of toothed birds known exclusively from the Cretaceous period and predominantly from fossils discovered in Asia.

“Enantiornithes are the most diverse group of birds from the time of the dinosaurs in the Cretaceous and have been found all over the world,” said Professor Min Wang, a paleontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and the CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and colleagues.

“In living birds, the quadrate is one of the most movable bones in the skull and allows for the unique feature of living birds known as ‘kinetic skull,’ which allows the upper jaw to move independently of the brain and the lower jaw.”

“In contrast with living birds, however, the skull of this new ‘opposite bird,’ as well as those of dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex and the close dinosaurian relatives of birds (e.g., troodontids and dromaeosaurs), is not kinetic. Instead, its bones are ‘locked up’ and unable to move.”

“The temporal regions of the skull of this bird are very different from living birds.”

The new enantiornithine bird has two bony arches for jaw muscle attachment like those found in reptiles such as lizards, alligators, and dinosaurs, making the rear of the skull rigid and resistant to movement among the bones.

“When reconstructing all parts of the skull three-dimensionally from the high resolution CT scans of the fossil, we had a problem figuring out one bone in particular,” Professor Wang said.

The researchers compared CT scans of the bird skull to scans of the skull of the well-known dromaeosaur Linheraptor from Inner Mongolia, China.

The results show that many other features of the rear portion of the bird’s skull, including the shape of the basisphenoid bone and its connections with other skull bones, also resemble dromaeosaurs rather than living birds.

“The fossil bird and dinosaurs also lack the discrete contact between the pterygoid and quadrate near the palate that is used in skull kinesis in living birds,” said Dr. Thomas Stidham, a paleontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and the CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“In combination with the ‘locked up’ temporal bones, the difference in the palate structure also points to the absence of kinesis among early birds.”

“Having a ‘dinosaur’ skull on a bird body certainly did not stop the enantiornithines, or other early birds, from being highly successful in places all around the world for tens of millions of years during the Cretaceous,” Professor Wang said.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.


M. Wang et al. 2021. Cretaceous bird with dinosaur skull sheds light on avian cranial evolution. Nat Commun 12, 3890; doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24147-z


Giganotosaurus vs. Spinosaurus: Which Jurassic T-Rex Killer Is Stronger?

Monday, June 28, 2021

Spinosaurus and Giganotosaurus have both taken on the T-Rex in the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies, but which dinosaur is actually stronger?

Giganotosaurus, in contrast, was much more land-focused in its hunting. The creature is believed to have been a bit larger overall than a T-Rex, and its body type was much closer to that of the T-Rex than Spinosaurus. According to the available evidence, Giganotosaurus still didn’t have the teeth size or jaw strength of a Tyrannosaurus, but it was more accustomed to taking on larger land-based prey than Spinosaurus.

So which dinosaur was actually stronger? In truth, it depends on the environment. In any sort of aquatic or partially aquatic space, the Spinosaurus might have the advantage because of its superior mobility. The Spinosaurus was also longer and, with its spinal fin, taller than the Giganotosaurus. However, in most land-based scenarios, Giganotosaurus would likely have the upper hand. Its teeth and jaw were much stronger for facing off against similarly sized opponents, and the rest of its body was better equipped for mobility and agility on land.

Giganotosaurus would also probably have a better chance against a T-Rex than Spinosaurus would. The creature's slightly larger size and comparable body type would have helped, but it still would have likely fallen short before the Tyrannosaurus. T-Rex was still comparable in size, and its predatory abilities and overall strength were likely superior. So while Jurassic World can keep bringing in new dinosaurs to serve as the movies’ villains, they all would have had major trouble facing a T-Rex in real life.


Scientists Hail Stunning 'Dragon Man' Discovery

Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Dragon Man's skull is huge, with a brain size about the same as the average for our species. Photo by KAI GENG

Chinese researchers have unveiled an ancient skull that could belong to a completely new species of human.

The team has claimed it is our closest evolutionary relative among known species of ancient human, such as Neanderthals and Homo erectus.

Nicknamed "Dragon Man", the specimen represents a human group that lived in East Asia at least 146,000 years ago.

It was found at Harbin, north-east China, in 1933, but only came to the attention of scientists more recently.

An analysis of the skull has been published in the journal The Innovation.

One of the UK's leading experts in human evolution, Prof Chris Stringer from London's Natural History Museum, was a member of the research team.

"In terms of fossils in the last million years, this is one of the most important yet discovered," he told BBC News.

"What you have here is a separate branch of humanity that is not on its way to becoming Homo sapiens (our species), but represents a long-separate lineage which evolved in the region for several hundred thousand years and eventually went extinct."

Artist's impression of what Dragon Man may have looked like. His skull suggests he was powerfully built and rugged. Photo by KAI GENG

The researchers say the discovery has the potential to rewrite the story of human evolution. Their analysis suggests that it is more closely related to Homo sapiens than it is to Neanderthals.

They have assigned the specimen to a new species: Homo longi, from the Chinese word "long", meaning dragon.

"We found our long-lost sister lineage," said Xijun Ni, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Hebei GEO University in Shijiazhuang.

He told BBC News: "I said 'oh my gosh!'. I could not believe that it was so well preserved. You can see all the details. It is a really amazing find!"

The skull is huge compared with the average skulls belonging to other human species. Its brain was comparable in size to those from our species.

Dragon Man had large, almost square eye sockets, thick brow ridges, a wide mouth, and oversized teeth. Prof Qiang Ji, from Hebei GEO University, says it is one of the most complete early human skull fossils ever discovered.

"It has a mosaic combination of primitive and more modern features, setting itself apart from all the other species of human," the researcher explained.

The scientists believe that Dragon Man was powerfully built and rugged. But little is known about how he lived, because his skull was removed from the site in which it was found.

This means that there is currently no archaeological context, such as stone tools, or other elements of culture.

The skull was reportedly discovered in 1933 by a construction worker helping to build a bridge on the Songhua river running through Harbin, in Heilongjiang province, which translated means Black Dragon River, hence the new human's name..

The city was under Japanese occupation at the time. Suspecting its cultural value, the Chinese worker smuggled it home, to keep it out of the hands of occupiers. He hid it at the bottom of his family's well, where it remained for around 80 years. The man told his family about the skull before he died, which is how it eventually got into the hands of scientists.

The researchers claim the form of ancient human on the far left may have evolved into the relatively modern Dragon Man on the far right over millions of years. KAI GENG

Dragon Man joins a number of early human remains uncovered in China that have proven difficult to categorise. These include remains from Dali, Jinniushan, Hualongdong, and the Xiahe jawbone from the Tibetan Plateau.

There has been a fierce debate about whether these remains represent primitive examples of Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, a human group called the Denisovans, or something else entirely.

The Denisovans were first identified from DNA retrieved from a 50,000-30,000-year-old finger bone discovered in Denisova Cave, Russia. Because the remains associated with this sister lineage to the Neanderthals were so fragmentary, the group has been described as a "genome in search of a fossil record".

Prof Marta Mirazon Lahr, from the University of Cambridge, believes that Dragon Man was, in fact, a Denisovan.

"The Denisovans are this fascinating mystery population from the past. There is a suggestion (from DNA evidence) that the jawbone found in the Tibetan Plateau might be a Denisovan," she said. "And now because the jawbone from Tibet and Dragon Man look like each other - now we might actually have the first face of the Denisovan."

And a group that recently published details of remains from Israel belonging to a possible precursor species to the Neanderthals, believes Dragon Man might be descended from humans that first emerged in the Levant region.

But the Chinese researchers maintain that the hard-to-classify fossils from East Asia represent the gradual evolution of a new species. Prof Ni has a gracious response to those that disagree with this assessment.

"The results will spark a lot of debate and I am quite sure that a lot of people will disagree with us," he said.

"But that is science and it is because we disagree that science progresses."


Jurassic World: Dominion IMAX Preview Breakdown, Here's What We Learned

Saturday, June 26, 2021

The first action-packed footage from Jurassic World: Dominion has arrived alongside IMAX screenings of F9.

It may be nearly a year away but Universal Pictures is already getting moviegoers hyped up for Jurassic World: Dominion. The third entry in the current trilogy is set to hit theaters next summer and the studio recently revealed a massive (in every sense of the word) tease for the blockbuster alongside IMAX screenings of F9. It was action-packed and revealing. While we wait for the footage to arrive online, here's a breakdown of what is currently playing in theaters in the Jurassic World 3 IMAX preview.

Jurassic World: Dominion IMAX Preview Footage Breakdown 

Warning: spoilers ahead for the Jurassic World 3 IMAX preview.

For those who don't want anything spoiled, turn back now. The footage, it's worth mentioning, is not just a trailer. It is an extended preview that contains a huge, extended sequence along with what can be described as a brief teaser. Not a lot of narrative is weaved into the preview. Though it does give a general sense of what this movie is offering. And what it's offering is some wild new ideas. It promises to explore things new to the franchise.

The footage kicks off in the distant past, approximately 65 million years ago. Yes, we are going back to the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. It plays like the most expensive educational movie ever produced at first. Sort of like the old dinosaur specials one might see on the Discovery Channel. Only with blockbuster sensibilities. While we see some familiar dinosaurs, it all looks and feels different. The color palette. The landscapes. The brutal nature of the ancient world. Dinosaurs trying to survive in their natural element. All it's missing is some narration from Richard Attenborough. Even the look of the dinosaurs themselves is a radical departure. Yes, they have feathers. There is an attempt to make these creatures look more scientifically accurate than they have in the Jurassic Park series up to this point.

This chunk of the preview reaches a head when a T-rex, presumably the one that provided the DNA for the original Jurassic Park T-rex, gets into a hardcore brawl with a giganotosaurus, a new species to the franchise. The fight looks pretty incredible and packs a punch. It's violent and big. In the end, the rex meets its demise. We see a mosquito land on its skin, drink a little blood, and fly away. Again, the presumption here is that this mosquito will get trapped in amber and provide some dino DNO for John Hammond to exploit in millions of years.

We are then transported to the present, picking up after the events of 2018's Fallen Kingdom. As fans will surely recall, the remaining dinosaurs from Isla Nublar had been transported to the mainland and are now roaming free. As we come to learn, this has resulted in, as Ian Malcolm would put it, chaos. A team in a helicopter is seen chasing the T-rex through some greenery in the dead of night. Unfortunately for some moviegoers, she is on a direct path to a drive-in theater. Rexy then storms through, carving up a path of destruction. The outdoor theater is thrown into a frenzy, with everyone desperate to escape with their lives. It is both scary and fun. Director Colin Trevorrow manages to inject little moments of humor amid the carnage. Yes, we saw a T-rex loose in San Diego in The Lost World but this sequence has a radically different feel to it. It's more convincing.

After that sequence is over, we then move on to what can loosely be described as a brief teaser trailer. We see more shots of dinosaurs out in the real world with humans. It is pure pandemonium. We get a glimpse of a flock of what appear to be gallimimus stampeding through traffic. We see an allosaurus ripping through a camp in the woods. A shot that was actually recycled from the live-action Battle at Big Rock short. The mosasaurs leaps from the ocean to steal a fishing boat's catch. The clear point of emphasis is that humans and dinosaurs must co-exist now. This is no longer an isolated incident. We then get to the title card promising that the movie will be coming our way next summer.

What Did We Learn from the Jurassic World: Dominion IMAX Preview? 

Aside from actually seeing some of what Colin Trevorrow has cooked up, we learned a bit, in broad terms, about the movie. Much of what has been hyped up so far is the fact that the entire franchise will be united. The original JP trio, Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, are returning as Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcolm, respectively. As are Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing. The old and the new are set to collide. But the footage didn't show us one single frame of these actors in action. Instead, it tried to paint a picture of the world. It created a feeling. A sense of atmosphere.

There is no way the filmmaking team could have known that drive-ins were going to explore in 2020 as the pandemic raged on. But that moment feels oddly fitting now. To that end, as much as this may sound like a weird thing to say, the preview made this all feel real. Or as real as something outlandish could possibly feel. Fallen Kingdom, in many ways, felt like a means to an end. It did not feel remotely real. This footage, on the other hand, feels, dare I say, grounded. If dinosaur and man were suddenly thrown in the mix together after 65 million years, this seems like a fair representation of the chaos that would ensue. Universal is not going hammy with this one, which would be easy to do, given the concept. They're treating it seriously, though not so much that it takes the fun out of it.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that Universal sees this as a blockbuster in the truest sense of the word. A movie that must be seen on the big screen. A movie worth hyping up a year in advance. A movie that will show audiences something they haven't seen before. Much like Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park. This is being positioned as a must-see pop culture moment. And if the marketing can be this compelling all the way through, it may well indeed be a genuine must-see, shared pop culture experience. Jurassic World: Dominion hits theaters on June 10, 2022, from Universal Pictures.


Jurassic World 3 Explains John Hammond's Mosquito Luck

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Jurassic World: Dominion's opening scene is an ingenious retcon that explains John Hammond's amazing luck and Jurassic Park's dinosaur creation myth.

Jurassic World: Dominion's opening sequence explains how John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) was so lucky to find a mosquito preserved in amber that contained the DNA he needed to clone dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Although director Colin Trevorrow's conclusion to his Jurassic World trilogy doesn't hit movie theaters until June 2022, fans can get a preview of Jurassic World: Dominion footage attached to IMAX screenings of Fast & Furious 9.

The pseudo-science Hammond and his genetics company, InGen, used to breed cloned dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1993 film was derived from the Jurassic Park novel by Michael Crichton. Hammond and his chief geneticist, Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) achieved this miracle of science by extracting dinosaur DNA from the blood sucked by mosquitos in the Cretaceous era. The insects were found preserved in amber with the dino DNA in their blood intact. InGen's geneticists were then able to clone dinosaurs from the blood and the used amphibian DNA to fill the holes in the dinos' genetic code. Hammond's company cloned 15 dinosaur species in the original Jurassic Park. By 2015, when the theme park was rebuilt and successfully operated as Jurassic World, Dr. Wu was able to add hybrid monster dinosaurs like the Indominus Rex to InGen's menagerie.

Jurassic World: Dominion's opening scene shows the mosquito sucking the blood of a Brachiosaurus. Then, a battle between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and an even bigger apex predator the film introduces, the Gigantosaurus, commences, with the mighty T-Rex being killed by the Gigantosaurus. The critter then sucks the blood of the T-Rex from its corpse before it finds itself consumed by the amber, which preserves it and the dino blood it's carrying perfectly for the next 65-million years. Because John Hammond "spared no expense", InGen eventually finds this mosquito  and extracts the DNA within it to clone Jurassic Park's original dinosaurs. Thus, in an ingenious retcon, the T-Rex in Jurassic Park is the clone of the T-Rex that died at the start of Jurassic World: Dominion, in a profound circle of life moment.


Colin Trevorrow decided to open Jurassic World: Dominion in the Cretaceous era to show the dinosaurs in their natural time and environment, which is something fans have seen yet in the five previous films. Not only did this move allow Trevorrow to integrate 7 new dinosaur species that also haven't appeared in the Jurassic movies before, including the Gigantosaurus, but it gave the director the chance to answer a question that the entire franchise hinges on: How did John Hammond get so lucky to find a mosquito that was able to suck the blood he needed to clone his dinosaurs 65 million years later? Jurassic World: Dominion's prologue ingenuously answers that question with a violent Cretaceous conflict and the fateful, blood-sucking insect that would provide the means for dinosaurs to live again in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Jurassic Park briefly touched upon the dinosaur cloning origin with the entertaining animated short film Hammond showed Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), all of whom reprise their roles in Jurassic World: Dominion. Amusingly, Hammond's cartoon shows a mosquito sucking the blood from a Brachiosaurus' leg before it's trapped in amber. Jurassic World: Dominion's prologue embellishes the creation myth and links the fan-favorite T-Rex's death and resurrection via cloning to the origin story. This brings the Jurassic franchise full circle and cleverly explains John Hammond's one-in-a-million stroke of luck that enabled him to clone his dinosaurs.


Were Dinosaurs Warm-Blooded? Research Team Discovers Arctic Dinosaur Nursery

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Illustration showing a pair of adult tyrannosaurs and their young living in the Arctic during the Cretaceous Period. Credit: James Havens

Images of dinosaurs as cold-blooded creatures needing tropical temperatures could be a relic of the past.

University of Alaska Fairbanks and Florida State University scientists have found that nearly all types of Arctic dinosaurs, from small bird-like animals to giant tyrannosaurs, reproduced in the region and likely remained there year-round.

Their findings are detailed in a new paper published in the journal Current Biology.

“It wasn’t long ago that people were pretty shocked to find out that dinosaurs lived up in the Arctic 70 million years ago,” said Pat Druckenmiller, the paper’s lead author and director of the University of Alaska Museum of the North. “We now have unequivocal evidence they were nesting up there as well. This is the first time that anyone has ever demonstrated that dinosaurs could reproduce at these high latitudes.”

The findings counter previous hypotheses that the animals migrated to lower latitudes for the winter and laid their eggs in those warmer regions. It’s also compelling evidence that they were warm-blooded.

Greg Erickson and Pat Druckenmiller place a plaster jacket on a bone found along the Colville River on Alaska’s North Slope. Credit: Photo by Kevin May

For more than a decade, Druckenmiller and Gregory Erickson, a Florida State University professor of biological science, have conducted fieldwork in the Prince Creek Formation in northern Alaska. They have unearthed many dinosaur species, most of them new to science, from the bluffs above the Colville River.

Their latest discoveries are tiny teeth and bones from seven species of perinatal dinosaurs, a term that describes baby dinosaurs that are either just about to hatch or have just hatched.

“One of the biggest mysteries about Arctic dinosaurs was whether they seasonally migrated up to the North or were year-round denizens,” said Erickson, a co-author of the paper. “We unexpectedly found remains of perinates representing almost every kind of dinosaur in the formation. It was like a prehistoric maternity ward.”

Recovering the bones and teeth, some no larger than the head of a pin, requires perseverance and a sharp eye. In the field, the scientists hauled buckets of sediment from the face of the bluffs down to the river’s edge, where they washed the material through smaller and smaller screens to remove large rocks and soil.

The research team’s camp sits on the banks of the Colville River on Alaska’s North Slope, with the bluffs rising in the background. Credit: Photo by Patrick Druckenmiller

Once back at their labs, Druckenmiller, Erickson and co-author Jaelyn Eberle from the University of Colorado, Boulder, screened the material further. Then, teaspoon by teaspoon, the team, which included graduate and undergraduate students, examined the remaining sandy particles under microscopes to find the bones and teeth.

“Recovering these tiny fossils is like panning for gold,” Druckenmiller said. “It requires a great amount of time and effort to sort through tons of sediment grain-by-grain under a microscope. The fossils we found are rare but are scientifically rich in information.”

Next, the scientists worked with Caleb Brown and Don Brinkman from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada, to compare the fossils to those from other sites at lower latitudes. Those comparisons helped them conclude that the bones and teeth were from perinatal dinosaurs.

Once they knew the dinosaurs were nesting in the Arctic, they realized the animals lived their entire lives in the region.

Erickson’s previous research revealed that the incubation period for these types of dinosaurs ranges from three to six months. Because Arctic summers are short, even if the dinosaurs laid their eggs in the spring, their offspring would be too young to migrate in the fall.

Global temperatures were much warmer during the Cretaceous, but the Arctic winters still would have included four months of darkness, freezing temperatures, snow and little fresh vegetation for food.

“As dark and bleak as the winters would have been, the summers would have had 24-hour sunlight, great conditions for a growing dinosaur if it could grow quickly enough before winter set in,” said Brown, a paleontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Year-round Arctic residency provides a natural test of the animals’ physiology, Erickson added.

“We solved several long-standing mysteries about the dinosaur reign, but opened up a new can of worms,” he said. “How did they survive Arctic winters?”

“Perhaps the smaller ones hibernated through the winter,” Druckenmiller said. “Perhaps others lived off poor-quality forage, much like today’s moose, until the spring.”

Scientists have found warm-blooded animal fossils in the region, but no snakes, frogs or turtles, which were common at lower latitudes. That suggests the cold-blooded animals were poorly suited for survival in the cold temperatures of the region.

“This study goes to the heart of one of the longest-standing questions among paleontologists: Were dinosaurs warm-blooded?” Druckenmiller said. “We think that endothermy was probably an important part of their survival.”

Reference: “Nesting at Extreme Polar Latitudes by Non-Avian Dinosaurs” by Patrick S. Druckenmiller, Gregory M. Erickson, Donald Brinkman, Caleb M. Brown and Jaelyn J. Eberle, 24 June 2021, Current Biology.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.05.041

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation.