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5 Things The Jurassic Park Franchise Got Scientifically Correct (& 5 Glaring Errors)

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Jurassic Park is the most iconic dinosaur franchise in the world, but what did it get right or get wrong about these animals?

There's no doubt that the Jurassic Park franchise was a major hit when it came out. To many, it still is. Just look at the success of the Jurassic World movies. With this franchise hitting Netflix once again, now seems the right time to talk about the movies.

Society has learned a lot since the first Jurassic Park movie came out. Fans and experts have learned what the movie got right, as well as what it got horribly wrong. On that note, here are five facts the franchise was spot on about, and five that are glaringly incorrect.

10 - Correct: Their Speeds

Here's something the Jurassic Park franchise got right: the speeds of the dinosaurs portrayed. The movies were not afraid to portray fast-moving dinosaurs. In fact, they were some of the first movies to deviate from the concept of slow and lazy dinosaurs.

In that sense, the movie was more accurate than not. While obviously not every dinosaur speed was accurate (a lot has been learned since that first movie came out), it was overall a solid depiction of their movements.

9 - Glaring Error: The Name

One of the most obvious errors of the entire franchise is the name itself. Dinosaurs did not belong to the Jurassic period, instead most of the dinosaurs came from the Cretaceous age. So, in order for the title to be more accurate, it would have been Cretaceous Park.

To be fair, that really doesn't sound as good. So that's likely the reason why they skipped over the title, even if they chose an age that did not birth dinosaurs such as the T-Rex of Velociraptor (two of the franchise's favorites).

 8 - Correct: They're Animals – Not Monsters

Okay, so it's pretty obvious that the Jurassic Park franchise houses a lot of horror elements. Despite that, they clearly portray dinosaurs as animals – not monsters. These are not creatures with unnatural abilities.

While they may be easily tearing through humans left and right, the films still make a point of showing fans that dinosaurs just want to live. Sometimes, living can be messy, especially for predators. It's a tough balance to portray, but admittedly one that the franchise did alright on.

7 - Glaring Error: Velociraptors

Sorry, but the Velociraptors portrayed in the franchise are not accurate creatures. The most glaring problem with them? Their size. Real Velociraptors were actually much smaller, not these beasts similar in height to a human.

It would be more accurate to compare a Velociraptor to a small dog than to a human. Not quite the giant (and brilliant) beast portrayed in the movies, huh? Most likely, the dinosaurs in the movie are inspired by Deinonychus.

6 - Correct: (Some) Details About The T-Rex

It's probably not surprising to note that there are some things the franchise got wrong about the T-Rex. It's poor sight, for example, is not even remotely accurate. That being said, there are things that the franchise did get right.

The second movie showed how strong the sense of smell is for a T-Rex, portraying two parents fully capable of tracking down their infant (and then hunting the thieves at a later point in time). Likewise, they got the stance of the T-Rex right.

5 - Glaring Error: Brachiosaurus Behavior

The Brachiosaurus is one of the first dinosaurs portrayed in Jurassic Park. Yet the franchise certainly got the behavior of this giant incorrect. For one thing, there is no evidence that the Brachiosaurus is capable of making the whale-like calls portrayed (and mimicked) in the movie.

For another thing, the feeding behavior of this dinosaur isn't quite accurate. There's no way the Brachiosaurus would have stood on hind legs in order to obtain food. While that scene was certainly dramatic, it is also rife with inaccuracies.

4 - Correct: Their (Varied) Intelligence

Dinosaurs were not the dumb beasts that had been portrayed in pop culture before this franchise made it big. There had been jokes about dinosaurs and their lack of brain cells. Which isn't accurate, or fair.

While some of the dinosaurs portrayed in Jurassic Park are not quite as intelligent as the movies wanted, many were fairly accurate. This franchise wasn't afraid to show their dinosaurs as intelligent hunters or pack animals.

3 - Glaring Error: Spinosaurus Vs. T Rex

In Jurassic Park III, there was a major fight included, mostly for the sake of the fans (who didn't end up loving it as much as expected). In this scene, a Spinosaurus and a T-Rex throw down. Now, there's a lot that is wrong with this entire fight.

For starters, these two dinosaurs came from different periods. The Spinosaurus from about 100-93 million years ago, and the T-Rex from 68-65 million years ago. Then there's the fact that the Spinosaurus likely exclusively ate fish – meaning that long snout would not be capable of damaging a T-Rex, even if they were somehow in the same setting.

2 - Correct: Dinosaur Tails

Here's another surprising fact the franchise got right: the way they portrayed dinosaur tails. That may sound like a small thing, but it really isn't. Before Jurassic Park, movies and other forms of media were quick to portray dinosaurs with their tails dragging on the ground, something that simply isn't accurate.

This franchise took a bold stance and portrayed the dinosaurs with their tails in the air, fully capable of a surprising amount of flexibility.

1 - Glaring Error: No Feathers

Here's another obvious inaccuracy: the complete lack of feathers. To be fair, at the time of the original movie (and book) this was not a fact so easily understood. Not like now, at any rate. Yet the franchise has stuck to the look, albeit providing an excuse for the decision.

Fans, understandably, are on both sides of that fence. Some love that the franchise is staying true to the original, while others simply cannot overlook the inaccuracy of what is being portrayed. Especially experts in the field.


Fossil in a Fossil Offers Evidence of Mega Predators in Triassic Oceans

Friday, August 21, 2020

(Jiang, Motani, et al. / iScience)

Paleontologists have made the unusual discovery of a near perfect ichthyosaurus skeleton with another impressive skeleton residing within its stomach, proving that the prehistoric reptile was in fact an apex predator.

Details of this study, conducted by Ryosuke Motani, a professor of paleobiology at the University of California, Davis, Da-Yong Jiang, a paleontologist at Peking University in China, and colleagues, are published Thursday in the journal iScience.

Found during a dig in a quarry in southwest China, this two-in-one fossil is the oldest of its kind to show such clear evidence of ichthyosaurs’ predatory diet. Also unique is the size of the stomach contents, as the second fossil was a 13-foot-long aquatic reptile known as the thalattosaur. 

Although they lived side by side with them, ichthyosaurs were not dinosaurs and were most closely related to lizards and snakes with the relative shape like a dolphin. This animal was nearly the size of the modern blue whale, able to reach up to a staggering 85 feet long, though most grew to an average length of five to 11 feet.

This ichthyosaurus’ last meal, the thalattosaur or “ocean lizard,” was another species of marine reptile and was among the first land-dwellers to return to the ocean. 

Thalattosaurs were generally nine to 13 feet long with a long, pointed, tweezer-shaped nose that paleontologists suspect was good for finding food in small crevices of coral reefs. Their fossils are normally quite rare, but to find one in the stomach of another creature is a massive stroke of luck.

“If you look across all the similar marine reptiles that lived in the age of dinosaurs, we’ve actually never found something articulated like this in the stomach,” said Motani. “Our ichthyosaur’s stomach contents weren’t etched by stomach acid, so it must have died quite soon after ingesting this food item. At first, we just didn’t believe it, but after spending several years visiting the dig site and looking at the same specimens, we finally were able to swallow what we were seeing.” 

Paleontologists usually deduce an animal’s diet based on the size and shape of their teeth and jaws, making this discovery even more special as they could actually see what was on the marine creature’s menu. 

It is generally accepted that apex predators, like the notorious Tyrannosaurus Rex, don large, razor-sharp teeth for cutting and tearing food, though modern day predators like hippos and crocodiles challenge this belief. What they lack in sharp teeth they make up for with jaw strength, able to crush their prey for consumption.

Ichthyosaurs share these same dental characteristics with crocodiles, but the authors say that with no solid evidence of its prey of choice, they were led to believe that the predator fed exclusively on smaller aquatic animals, specifically cephalopods and fish. This new evidence, however, completely changes the game.

“Now, we can seriously consider that they were eating big animals, even when they had grasping teeth,” said Motani. “It’s been suggested before that maybe a cutting edge was not crucial, and our discovery really supports that. It’s pretty clear that this animal could process this large food item using blunt teeth.”

The authors remain unsure whether the giant thalattosaur was preyed upon by the prehistoric sea monster or scavenged, but Motani notes that judging by the state of the skeleton, there are little to no signs of scavenging. 

Previous research has shown that decomposition of this reptile would have at least resulted in detached limbs, which was not the case. Instead, its limbs were still intact and only the tail was separated and found nearby, likely lost in a fight with a predator.

“We now have a really solid articulated fossil in the stomach of a marine reptile for the first time,” Motani said. “Before, we guessed that they must have eaten these big things, but now, we can say for sure that they did eat large animals. This also suggests that megapredation was probably more common than we previously thought.”

Another noteworthy ichthyosaurus fossil was found in May of 2016 by archaeologist Paul de la Salle at a beach at Lilstock, Somerset. This find was particularly significant because it confirmed the baffling size these sea reptiles could reach. 

The team recovered a 3.2-foot jaw bone that challenged any size estimations of the past, but after comparing it with a much more complete ichthyosaur fossil from 2004, they concluded that the fossil in question was a staggering 85 feet long.

The authors note that the dig site is still active and has been made into a museum. They hope to find more storytelling fossils as the work continues.

“We’ve been digging in that particular quarry for more than 10 years now, and still, new things are coming out,” Motani added. “At this point, it’s beyond our initial expectations, and we’ll just have to see what we’ll discover next.”


How to Change Dinosaur Colors in Parkasaurus

Thursday, August 20, 2020

In the dinosaur-zoo management tycoon game Parkasaurus, players have some control over the appearance and behavior of their dinosaurs.

In the dinosaur-theme-park management simulator, Parkasaurus, players can design their own Jurassic Park in the same vein as games like Zoo Tycoon and Planet Zoo. The game recently left early access and has become a fast hit. In Parkasaurus, the player controls every aspect of their park, from breeding and caring for different dinosaurs to designing tailored habitats to maintaining guest happiness. There are 23 species of dinosaur to hatch and care for, each with their own unique needs. As players progress, they can send staff on archaeological digs to find items and use those items to go back in time and find dinosaur eggs to add creatures to their collection. Players will also receive a myriad of inventory items they can use to breed and accessorize their dinos.

Players have some amount of control over the base color of their dinosaurs in the game. This color system is complex and changes for every dinosaur species. There are eight possible colors for players to choose from dark pink, light pink, blue, purple, yellow, green, red, and black. Dinosaurs in the game also have extra random colors for features like stripes, but these cannot be changed and are randomly determined at birth. Here's how to change a dinosaur's colors before they hatch in Parkasaurus.

Change A Dinosaur's Color In Parkasaurus

To change a dinosaur's color, players need to first set an egg on the ground and click it. In the resulting info screen, they will need to add an item from their inventory to the green box to influence the dinosaur's color. Different items change different dinosaurs different colors, so players cannot use the same item on the same creature and expect to get the same results. For example, while Hip Glasses or a Unicorn Hat will turn an Achelousaurus Black, those same items will turn an Apatosaurus Blue.

Most items will work in the green box, including other dinosaurs' eggs, skulls, gems, and food items like plants and meat. Players will need to experiment to figure out what items work. Additionally, they can consult a fanmade guide, like the one created by user Elizabeth on the Steam Community.

Each species of dinosaur comes with a default color. To keep the default color, players will not need to add anything to the green box.

The other two boxes on the egg info screen, outlined in blue, can also hold items. The items here will determine the dinosaur's unique traits. The pattern for this is more obvious, with the same items coding for the same traits. For example, plants make a dinosaur friendly, while a skull will make them scary, and the Hip Glasses will make them a showoff. As with colors, players can experiment with different objects and trait combinations to make their dinosaurs individuals.

Parkasaurus is available for PC.


Russian Scientists Discover 1-Million-Year-Old Mammoth, Cave Lion Fossils in Tyumen Region

Thursday, August 20, 2020

© Photo : Screenshot/Anton Kisagulov

Russian paleontologists have discovered more than a thousand bones of mammoths, bison and cave lions on the banks of rivers in Siberia's Tyumen Region, which can be up to one million years old, researcher Pavel Kosintsev said.

"Bones of a mammoth, rhino, horse, and bison were most commonly found, with over a thousand of them, with less reindeer, bear, cave lion. Now we will clean them and then study them in Yekaterinburg. Judging by what we see, the age will vary from a million to 10,000 years", Pavel Kosintsev, a senior researcher at the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said.

According to Kosintsev, such a natural "cemetery" is a result of rivers changing direction and oxbow lakes, which preserve the fossils over long periods of time.

The paleontology expedition took place last week in the Vagaysky and Tobolsk districts of the Tyumen Region on the banks of three rivers – Vagay, Irtysh and Tobol, Kosintsev noted.


220-Year-Old Extinct Elk Skull Found in Sullivan Lake on Display at Cranbrook

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Max Hella, an exhibit technician for Cranbrook Institute of Science, with the skull of an extinct Eastern elk, recently discovered at the bottom of a Fenton lake. The skull is at least 200 years old and is the rarest paleontology find Cranbrook has ever been involved with.

Cranbrook Institute of Science is open again with a shocking discovery.

The museum in Bloomfield Hills will greet visitors with the rarest paleontology find it has ever hosted, the massive skull of an extinct elk that roamed southeast Michigan roughly 220 years ago, which was discovered by random luck in a lake last month. 

“It’s magnificent,” Museum Director Mike Stafford said. “We have spent about three weeks preserving it after it’s been on the bottom of a lake for a couple hundred years.”

The Eastern elk was discovered in Sullivan Lake near Fenton last month after it became hooked on the anchor of a swim platform being moved by Michael Bleau and his family.

They brought up the 43-inch wide, 50-inch tall and 24-inch deep skull almost perfectly intact, preserved through two centuries by the water. The antlers on the skull have six points on each side.

Cranbrook is happy to provide identification and the age of specimens found by the public, commonly bones of American Mastodons. In addition to the elk, Cranbrook identified two lumbar vertebrae from a baleen whale found in an Atlas Township riverbed this summer by two Ortonville sisters.

Lumbar vertabrae from a baleen whale was recently found in a riverbed near Ortonville. Radiocarbon dating was used to determine the age of the bones at about 200 years old.

“It’s a mystery how you get whale bones there when they shouldn’t be, but they were probably moved by people,” Stafford said, hypothesizing that they could have been misplaced by members of the Hopewell culture, who were migrating from areas near the ocean. “It’s a real head-scratcher.”

The Eastern elk arrived naturally to the Michigan landscape. The animal was seen throughout eastern North America prior to being over hunted to extinction, with the last of these animals disappearing around 1875 from Michigan and declared extinct five years later by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The recently discovered elk dates to about 1800, give or take 30 years, its age determined by radiocarbon dating, as were the whale bones, which coincidentally have a similar age.

The Eastern elk is a close cousin of the Rocky Mountain elk, which was not present in Michigan at the same time. The Eastern elk was a slightly larger animal. 

Stafford speculates that the Eastern elk now at Cranbrook may have met its demise by getting stuck in the muck while drinking from the lake. The adult bull, which would have weighed up to 1,000 pounds and stood 50-60 inches tall at the shoulders, could have also broken through the ice while crossing the lake and drowned. There is no damage on the skull that would suggest the elk met its end at the hands of a human.

The skull of an extinct Eastern Elk, recently discovered at the bottom of a local lake, will be on display at Cranbrook Institute of Science when the museum reopens next week.

Stafford is sure there are more of the elk’s skeletal remains in the lake and the lifelong diver has considered a possible search to see if he can find more bones sticking up from the sediment.

Conservationists at the museum soaked the skull in Acrisol, a chemical which will harden the bones as they dry. The specimen, which the Bleaus have not yet named but have loaned to the museum until at least Jan. 1, will be ready for viewing when the museum reopens to visitors this week after a lengthy COVID-inspired shutdown.

“The elk has phenomenal curb appeal,” Stafford said. “It’s a snapshot in time, to help people understand that Michigan and the whole Great Lakes are constantly changing, there’s an enormous amount of diversity in living creatures here now and in the past. I hope it triggers them to think of their role in protecting what the natural history of Michigan is and could be, and become more attached to the place they are from.”

The skull of an Eastern Elk was recently discovered at the bottom of a Fenton lake and will be displayed at the Cranbrook Institute of Science. The find of the 200-year-old skull of a species that was declared extinct in 1880 is the rarest paleontology exhibit that Cranbrook has ever had.

The Cranbrook Institute of Science reopened to members Aug. 19 and opens to the general public Aug. 26. All guests will receive free general admission through Sept. 6 courtesy of MASCO Corporation Foundation. For more information, visit


Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Toys Are A Lot Like The Ones From The '90s

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Check out some of the latest dinosaurs in Mattel's new Jurassic World line.

While the next installment of the Jurassic World series--titled Dominion--isn't hitting theaters until 2021, there is an animated Netflix series called Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, which actually looks a bit terrifying for a show geared towards children, which hits the streaming service on September 18.

Of course, with a new Jurassic Park title comes a ton of Jurassic Park toys. Mattel has launched the new Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous toy line, and it's very reminiscent of the original Jurassic Park toys. While these dinos don't have that sweet battle damage the original toys had in the '90s, they look and feel like the toys from your childhood. Check out some of the new ones Mattel sent our way below.

Above, is the Epic Roarin' Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Camp Adventure Set, and the 15 Action Mini Dinos. These are just a few of the latest toys in the set. While the toys are based on the upcoming animated series, the look and feel of them all feel like the original Jurassic Park toys. Obviously, there are a few technological improvements as well.

The T-Rex roars, it's mouth opens, and its whole head shakes when you press the button on its tail. It's one of the scarier Jurassic World toys we've seen so far. The Camp Adventure set features three dinos--one of which was mini--and dinosaur expert/camper Darius Bowman--who is voiced by Paul-Mikél Williams (Westworld) on the show. Each of the dinos has an action button as well.

And yes, the camper fits inside the T-Rex's mouth because of course you're going to try and have the dinos eat the campers. These toys are available now at Target and the T-Rex is currently available on Amazon for $40. The 15-pack of mini dinos is on Target for $30 and the Camp Adventure set is available at Target for $40.

Speaking of new and upcoming toys, Hasbro revealed the next wave of Power Rangers figures, which includes another Goldar. NECA also has a brand-new set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys based on the classic '90s movie. Finally, if video games are more your thing, you can learn more about the Lego Mario Bros sets, which are now back in stock.


Jurassic World 3 Is Forgetting About A Major Legacy Character

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Jurassic World 3 is bringing back the Spielberg films' legacy heroes but forgot about Tim, who survived Jurassic Park and is also a dinosaur expert.

Tim Murphy (Joseph Mazzello) is a Jurassic Park legacy character but he isn't reported to appear in Jurassic World: Dominion - even though Tim is also a dinosaur expert. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World: Dominion not only ends his dinosaur trilogy but it will also complete the six-film cycle that started with Steven Spielberg's 1993 blockbuster. Jurassic Park's legacy heroes, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) are all part of the returning cast of Jurassic World: Dominion and have major roles but Tim Murphy isn't part of the reunion.

Tim was roughly 10 years old in 1993 when he and his older sister Lex (Ariana Richards) were invited by their grandfather, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), to join the inspection tour of Jurassic Park. A combination of a hurricane and the sabotage of the park's systems by Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) trapped Tim, Lex, Grant, and Malcolm in the park with the dinosaurs on the loose. Tim heroically survived a T-rex attack, being trapped in a jeep plummeting from a treetop, a Gallimimus stampede, and being shocked by an electric fence. After Dr. Grant led them back to the Visitor's Center, Lex and Tim escaped a Velociraptor attack in the kitchen and a reappearance by the T-rex before they were finally escorted from the island to safety.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom brought the dinosaurs from Isla Nublar to Northern California because the island was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. The cloned prehistoric beasts were then set loose upon the planet and Jurassic World: Dominion will be a global epic about the human race coping with the reality of the dinosaurs proliferating across the globe, as well as other people besides Hammond's company, InGen, gaining the code to create more dinos. Since dinosaurs are now everywhere, Jurassic World's heroes, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) aren't enough; the experts from Jurassic Park who faced and survived them decades ago - Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, and Ian Malcolm - are needed more than ever. But Tim Murphy should also be recruited because he's also extremely knowledgable about dinosaurs, especially the animals his grandfather created.

Tim was a dinosaur fanboy who read all of Alan Grant's books about paleontology and wanted to ask him all about it, to Grant's chagrin. However, the weekend Grant spent guiding Lex and Tim through the Park softened his previous dislike of children. Even though he was very young, Tim's expertise in dinosaurs was impressive. However, Tim and Lex only briefly cameoed at the start of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which was set 4 years later, and they haven't been canonically mentioned in the franchise since. Trevorrow's Jurassic World films have ignored Hammond's grandchildren thus far.

But by Jurassic World: Dominion's timeframe, Tim would be in his late-30s and it's likely that he's still a dinosaur expert. Unless the trauma of his ordeal in Jurassic Park led Tim to abandon his dinosaur fascination, he can be counted among the few people who have faced the dinosaurs and lived to tell the tale. Fans don't know what became of Tim since 1997 but it's possible he continued studying paleontology or even went to work for InGen. Regardless, Tim should be in Jurassic World: Dominion to lend his expertise on what must be done about the dinosaurs.

It would also be ideal if Joseph Mazzello reprised the role of Tim since he continued his acting career and played Queen's bass guitarist, John Deacon, in Bohemian Rhapsody. An update on the whereabouts of Tim and Lex would be appreciated by longtime Jurassic fans and would help bring the saga full-circle. Unless Mazzello has an uncredited cameo in Jurassic World: Dominion, it would be extremely disappointing if Tim Murphy isn't counted as one of the Jurassic Park legacy characters in the film.


Eudyptes atatu: Ancient Crested Penguin Unearthed in New Zealand

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Holotype specimen of Eudyptes atatu: (a) right lateral view of skull and block with (c) mandible and (d) postcranial elements; (b) right lateral view of the Snares crested penguin (Eudyptes robustus) for comparison. Referred material of Eudyptes atatu including (e) dorsal view of skull, (f) left lateral view of skull, (g) right humerus caudal view, and (h) dorsal and (i) plantar views of right tarsometatarsus. Image credit: Jean-Claude Stahl, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa / R. Paul Scofield, Canterbury Museum.

A new species of crested penguin that lived 3.2 million years ago (Pliocene period) has been identified from multiple exceptionally well-preserved specimens found in New Zealand.

Crested penguins are members of Eudyptes, the most diverse genus among living penguins.

Today the New Zealand region is home to four breeding species of this genus, including three endemics.

Named Eudyptes atatu, the newly-identified species was closest in size to the modern erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri).

It had a markedly more slender upper beak and jaw compared with other crested penguins.

“The skull of Eudyptes atatu is more gracile than that of any living crested penguin species, with a more slender, gently hooked beak lacking the strong swelling of the beak tip rostral to the nares characteristic of living crested penguins,” said Massey University ornithologist Dr. Daniel Thomas and colleagues.

“The most striking difference between Eudyptes atatu and living crested penguins is the shape of the jaw.”

“Whereas the jaw of modern crested penguin species shows a pronounced deepening towards the midpoint, in Eudyptes atatu the jaw retains a more slender shape.”

The discovery of Eudyptes atatu also shows that the deep bill of crested penguins evolved comparatively recently, most likely in the past 2-5 million years.

“Our combined evidence approach reveals that deep bills evolved in both crested and stiff-tailed penguins (Pygoscelis) during the Pliocene,” the researchers said.

“That deep bills arose so late in the greater than 60 million year evolutionary history of penguins suggests that dietary shifts may have occurred as wind-driven Pliocene upwelling radically restructured southern ocean ecosystems.”

The various fossilized remains of the ancient species were collected from the Tangahoe Formation in the southern Taranaki region of the North Island of New Zealand.

Eudyptes atatu provides an important new window into the evolution and paleobiology of crown penguins and reinforces the importance of Zealandia for seabird evolution,” the scientists concluded.

“The rapidly improving fossil record of both early stem penguins and Pliocene-Holocene stem penguins suggests that Zealandia was an incubator of penguin diversity in which the first penguins, the first crown penguins, and likely the first crested penguins evolved and later dispersed throughout the southern hemisphere.”

The team’s paper was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.


Daniel B. Thomas et al. 2020. Ancient crested penguin constrains timing of recruitment into seabird hotspot. Proc. R. Soc. B 287 (1932): 20201497; doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.1497


Each Jurassic Park Blu-ray Releases Has Entirely Different Coloring

Monday, August 17, 2020

The various different Blu-ray releases of Jurassic Park look very different in terms of their color-grading when compared side-by-side.

The coloring for the different Jurassic Park Blu-ray releases varies significantly between each version. The classic dinosaur film directed by Steven Spielberg, originally released in 1993, has since been re-released in a few different Blu-ray versions. These re-releases have been inspired by anniversaries and celebrations of the film, as Jurassic Park has gained long term notoriety. Each version, however, doesn't appear to be exactly the same.

Color correction and color grading are processes that filmmakers will use during post production. While color correction ensures that colors are displayed true to the human eye, color grading helps create a tone and mood to the film’s aesthetic. Color grading, in turn, plays a big role in conveying how an audience will interpret a film. There are ways to do this that help deliver a strong message to the audience, and it can truly affect how a film is received. Jurassic Park, however, seems to be color-graded differently depending on which home release version of the film is being watched.

Twitter user, Sicky T, points out that the coloring on each Jurassic Park Blu-ray release is quite different. In their tweets, Sicky T takes various scenes from the movie and places them in a collage right next to each other. When comparing each release - the 1993 35mm, 2011 Blu-ray, 2013 Blu-ray, and the 4K version - side by side, the differences in the colors are strikingly apparent. The 2013 version is saturated with warm tones making it more difficult to make out certain features. The 4K version and the 2011 version seem to be relatively similar, but the 4K version is slightly darker. These differences are surely less noticeable when consuming these three versions on their own, but it’s easy to see what version an audience may prefer when comparing them in this format.

Perhaps the most important aspect to note in the differences between the Blu-ray versions is the realism of the dinosaurs. The slight changes to the coloring of each film release has an impact on how the CGI and practical effect components look, and can disrupt the seamlessness of the effects. Being that this film was remarkable for the way it managed to perfect its computer generated effects blend them with the real props, these discrepancies can take away from the original beauty of Jurassic Park. Despite the color differences, the movie's effects are still appreciated by audiences today, but it's important to be aware of how each release version can make them look a little different.

While the noticeable color differences in the film may bother some, it is clear that this is not a deal breaker for the success of the Jurassic Park franchise. Since the original release, the Jurassic Park kingdom has grown significantly with a total of five films. Excitement for this cherished film isn't fading anytime soon, as evidenced by the number of re-releases it continues to receive. With Jurassic World: Dominion, the final film in the franchise's new trilogy, bringing back Jurassic Park's original stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, it wouldn't be too surprising if yet another version of the original film is re-released in anticipation.

Source: Sicky T/Twitter /

Silurian Trilobite Had Modern Type of Compound Eye

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Left eye of Aulacopleura koninckii. Image credit: Choenemann & Clarkson, doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-69219-0.

Paleontologists have found that Aulacopleura koninckii, a species of trilobite that lived around 429 million years ago (Silurian period), was equipped with a fully modern type of visual system — an apposition compound eye comparable to that of living bees, dragonflies and many diurnal crustaceans.

Trilobites are extinct marine arthropods that dominated the ecosystems of the Paleozoic Era (542-251 million years ago).

From the very beginning of their appearance they were equipped with compound eyes, which during the Cambrian explosion and later differentiated into highly diverse visual systems.

The most basic type, and still very common among diurnal insects and crustaceans, is the apposition compound eye.

It consists of up to 30,000 individual, more or less identical receptor units, so-called ommatidia, optically isolated from each other by a set of screening pigment cells.

In a new study, University of Cologne’s Dr. Brigitte Schoenemann and Dr. Euan Clarkson from the University of Edinburgh used digital microscopy to examine apposition compound eyes of a small trilobite called Aulacopleura koninckii.

This extinct species was first described in 1846 by the French-Czech paleontologist Joachim Barrande, a pioneer of trilobite research, from specimens collected at several paleontological sites near Loděnice in the Czech Republic.

The 429-million-year-old specimen of Aulacopleura koninckii investigated by Choenemann & Clarkson. Scale bar – 2.5 mm. Image credit: Choenemann & Clarkson, doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-69219-0.

The excellently-preserved specimen studied by the study authors is 1-2 mm high and has two protruding semi-oval eyes on the back of its head, one of which has broken off.

They identified a number of internal structures that are similar to those of the compound eyes of many modern insects and crustaceans, including their ommatidia (measuring 35 μm in diameter) that contain eight light-detecting cells grouped around a transparent tube called a rhabdom.

Each visual unit is topped with a thick lens and the remains of what the paleontologists suggest is a flat crystalline cone that light passed through before being focused onto the rhabdom.

The small size of its visual units indicates that Aulacopleura koninckii lived in bright, shallow waters and was probably active during the day, as smaller diameter lenses are efficient at capturing light under bright conditions.

The presence of pigment cell barriers between visual units suggests that the trilobite had mosaic vision with each visual unit contributing a small portion of the overall image, similar to the compound eyes of many modern insects and crustaceans.

The researchers also think that Aulacopleura koninckii likely was a translucent trilobite, comparable to modern shrimps and other smaller aquatic crustaceans with translucent shells, providing an excellent camouflage in water.

“This 429-million-year-old trilobite already possessed a modern type of compound eye, and it is shown that the principles of vision in modern honeybee or dragonflies, as many crustaceans, is almost half a billion years old,” they said.

“Its excellent preservation expressly underlines the relevance and potentials of insights into the fossil record in understanding the evolution to functional principles to modern sensory systems of today.”

The team’s paper was published in the journal Scientific Reports.


B. Choenemann & E.N.K. Clarkson. 2020. Insights into a 429-million-year-old compound eye. Sci Rep 10, 12029; doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-69219-0