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Jurassic World 3 Theory: Fallen Kingdom's Child Clone Is A Human-Dino Hybrid

Monday, August 17, 2020

After the idea was teased in Fallen Kingdom, it's possible the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion will finally confirm Maisie is a human-dino hybrid.

After the idea was heavily teased in Fallen Kingdom, it's possible the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion will finally confirm Maisie Lockwood is a human-dinosaur hybrid. One of the core themes of the Jurassic Park/World franchise since the beginning has been the danger of humanity meddling with the power of creation, and where it may lead them. Building upon this concept, the first Jurassic World movie introduced the Indominus Rex, a hybrid dinosaur created from the DNA of other species, as well as creatures like the cuttlefish and tree frogs. In doing so, the film seemingly opened the gates to even more radical forms of genetic tampering (and not just involving dinosaurs and their closest relatives, either).

Its sequel, Fallen Kingdom, continued to develop this thread by introducing the Indoraptor, a weaponized hybrid dinosaur produced using Indominus Rex and Velociraptor DNA. The film's leads were able to kill the creature before it or any other dinosaurs could be taken away by the customers at a black market auction held in Lockwood Manor, but in doing so endangered the lives of the dinos of Isla Nublar (who were being held in cages in the mansion's lower levels) by accidentally exposing them to a hydrogen cyanide gas leak. Rather than leaving them to die a slow and agonizing death, the creatures were instead set free into the world by young Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), thusly paving the way for the events of Dominion.

Maisie herself was something of an enigma for much of Fallen Kingdom, and it was clear from the get-go there was more to her than meets the eye. Sure enough, the movie eventually revealed her to be a human clone, which was part of the reason why she sympathized with the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar (which are clones like her) and chose to save them, despite knowing the risks of doing so. But does Maisie have another connection to the creatures that even she is unaware of?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's Human Clone Explained

When Fallen Kingdom picks up, former Jurassic World operations manager Claire Dearing has become an activist, and is now fighting to protect the since-abandoned park's dinosaurs from an impending volcanic explosion on Isla Nublar. When the U.S. Senates votes against saving the creatures, Claire is summoned to a meeting with Sir Benjamin Lockwood, InGen founder and Jurassic Park creator John Hammond's former partner. Upon arriving at his massive estate in California, she gets a quick glimpse of Maisie, who herself is still under the impression she is Lockwood's granddaughter.

Noticeably, Lockwood dances around the specifics of his past with Hammond during his encounter with Claire, and avoids explaining what it was that led to them going their separate ways so many years earlier. Even after that, whenever Fallen Kingdom returns to the events unfolding at Lockwood Manor, there are hints Lockwood is hiding something from Maisie (in particular, a mysterious photo), despite her best efforts to uncover the truth. Of course, after she discovers Lockwood's assistant, Eli Mills, is planning to sell the dinosaurs of Isla Nunblar on the black market, Maisie pushes said mystery to the back of her mind.

Eventually, after killing the sickly Lockwood and seizing control of his company, it's Mills who finally reveals the truth: Maisie is really a clone of Lockwood's deceased daughter, and it was Lockwood's decision to use their newfound cloning technology for this purpose that drove the wedge between him and Hammond in the first place. This in turn begs the as-yet unanswered question of whether Maisie is actually a hybrid, and possibly even has some dinosaur DNA in her own genetic code.

Jurassic Park Franchise Has Almost Used Dinosaur-Human Hybrids Before

The idea of human-dinosaur hybrids has yet to be used in either the Jurassic Park or Jurassic World movies, though it's come up before during their development. In the unproduced script drafts for Jurassic Park IV by John Sayles (who drew from the earlier screenplay by William Monahan), there was a subplot involving hybrid creatures that were created using a blend of dinosaur, human, and canine DNA, in the hopes of producing hybrid human-dinos intelligent enough to follow commands. Years after the script was developed and then abandoned in the early 2000s, concept artist Carlos Huante even revealed some of the possible designs he came up with for the human-dino hybrids (though ILM denied the artwork was official).

A number of the ideas from the Jurassic Park IV script were later revisited and re-imagined for Jurassic World, including the concept of hybrid dinosaurs (e.g. the Indominus Rex), and a human who trains Velociraptors to follow their commands (Nick Harris, who served as very loose inspiration for the Owen Grady character). By comparison, the idea of human-dinosaur hybrids has yet to surface in the trilogy, no doubt in part because it's a major leap forward and would require far more setup than the Jurassic Park IV screenplay had to offer. However, as has been pointed out before, this is where the Maisie storyline could come into play. In fact, it seems Fallen Kingdom may've even foreshadowed such a development.

How Fallen Kingdom's Child Clone Could Be A Human-Dino Hybrid

In an article written shortly after Fallen Kingdom's release in June 2018, Medium's Rhett Wilkinson laid out all the details in the film that hint at Maisie potentially being a human-dinosaur hybrid. For starters, the character is introduced with a musical cue previously used for dinosaurs, and she arguably behaves a bit like one while trying to avoid being spotted by Claire in their first encounter. She also seems to have a stronger connection to the dinosaurs and empathizes with them in ways the other humans in the franchise don't, even before she knows she's a clone like them. There's also the fact that Claire and Owen end up becoming her caretakers by the end of the movie, having previously looked after dinosaurs up until then. In fact, Maisie only hooks up with them to begin with because she recognizes Owen from the videos of him training Velociraptors. Could it be she trusts him on some instinctive level that even she doesn't fully understand?

Obviously, none of this is hard proof that Maisie is a human-dino hybrid. Considering how much of Fallen Kingdom is spent building up to the twist involving Maisie's backstory, these "clues" might've simply been the film's ways of alluding to her being a clone (albeit, a human one) like the dinosaurs. It was similarly important for the movie to setup Maisie's decision to set the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar free at the very end by establishing her strong affinity for the creatures earlier on, lest her choice seem out of character or come across as being contrived. As the Medium article acknowledges, there's nothing that makes it explicitly clear Maisie has dinosaur DNA in Fallen Kingdom either, even when the camera noticeably lingers on her eyes as she watches the dinosaurs escape into the night (as though to figuratively nudge viewers in the right direction).

On top of all that, Jurassic World series co-writer Colin Trevorrow (who also directed the first movie and is back at the helm for Dominion) has said the third installment won't feature any new hybrid dinosaurs, and instead expressed a desire to take a "back to basics" approach with the trilogy finale. Of course, he might've been referring to hybrid monsters like the Indominus Rex and Indoraptor, as opposed to Maisie, who looks and (at a passing glance) behaves like a regular human child, regardless of the truth about her genes. Further, based on Trevorrow's comments, it seems safe to assume if Maisie is a human-dino hybrid, she isn't suddenly going to develop distinctly dino-like features in Dominion, making all the harder to say what is and isn't true about her lineage.

What Human-Dino Hybrids Would Mean For Jurassic World 3

As far out as the theory of Maisie being a human-dino hybrid is (or, really, the mere thought of human-dino hybrids being an actual thing in this franchise), it's also a legitimate possibility. Both the Jurassic Park films and especially the Jurassic World movies have been all about (to paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm) life finding a way to move forward, and in Dominion the story will focus specifically on humans and dinosaurs trying to coexist together without one wiping out the other. It's unclear how the movie will resolve itself, but the introduction of human-dino hybrids would certainly add a fascinating wrinkle to the plot. It could even be the key to allowing dinosaurs to stick around and not having to go extinct (again), providing humanity with some kind of third option for resolving the situation.

More than that, the middling response to Fallen Kingdom (everything but the ending, that is) makes it clear audiences are tired of the same old formula, and are ready for Dominion to really mix things up from the previous Jurassic Park/World movies. Human-dino hybrids would not only be a major game-changer, it could also be the next evolution of the franchise, transforming the series from a straightforward battle between humanity and dinosaurs into something greater and more complicated. With longtime producer Frank Marshall having expressed a desire to keep making Jurassic films after Dominion, it might even be the kick in the pants the property needs to gain a new lease on life once the Jurassic World storyline is over and resolved. Like any bold move, though, there's a risk of it blowing up in the franchise's face, so it'll be all the more interesting to see how everything ultimately plays out.


New On Set Photos From ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ Emerge

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The film has resumed production post-lockdown.

Jurassic World: Dominion has resumed filming post-coronavirus, and new on-set images have now been shared.

Work on the film was initially delayed following the outbreak of the pandemic earlier this year, but is back underway now.

New photos of the film have now been shared as part of a New York Times article documenting the COVID-19 safety measures that Dominion are employing on set, as one of the biggest Hollywood films to have resumed filming.

The new photos sees dinosaur animatronics returning in the new film. Speaking to Collider earlier this year, director Colin Trevorrow said: “We’ve actually gone more practical with every Jurassic movie we’ve made since the first one, and we’ve made more animatronics in this one than we have in the previous two.”

Earlier this month, Jurassic World: Dominion star Sam Neill has said that the upcoming film will be the “best yet.”

“Hold onto your hat. Getting’ my old one back this week, and facing off dinosaurs once again. Best yet,” he wrote on Twitter, adding: “Excited and terrified – these things will kill ya.”

In the new movie, Neil is set to reprise his role of Dr Grant from the first Jurassic Park films, and be joined by his original co-stars, Jeff Goldblum (who starred as Dr Ian Malcolm in the original saga and appeared in the previous Jurassic World film) and Laura Dern, who will reprise her role as Ellie Sattler.

The third film in the reboot franchise was confirmed last year and will also see the return of cast members Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Daniella Pineda. Its current release date is June 21, 2021.


Jurassic World 3 Is Struggling With One Returning Character

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Jurassic World: Dominion is attempting to assemble an incredible cast of returning players, but it's having some issues with Jake Johnson.

Jurassic World: Dominion is attempting to assemble an incredible cast of returning players, but it's having some issues with Jake Johnson. Dominion started production earlier this year, well ahead of its planned June 2021 release. However, the coronavirus pandemic would soon prove to be a bigger obstacle than the dinosaurs, as filming was forced to shut down mid-March. After several months of waiting, work was finally able to resume last month, and despite some rumors that things had halted again after a few days, Universal has confirmed Dominion's set is still up and running.

Dominion is expected to be the final film in the Jurassic World franchise, and it promises to be an epic finale. Director Colin Trevorrow has amassed a large cast of familiar faces, including Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Isabella Sermon, and BD Wong. Even more excitingly, Dominion will reunite the original Jurassic Park trio of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. Clearly, Dominion will be a massive conclusion, but there might be someone who is unable to return.

Jake Johnson played Jurassic World tech Lowery Cruthers in the original 2015 film, and though he sat out Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, news broke earlier this year that he would be returning for Dominion along with Omar Sy. However, Johnson's return is now in question, as the actor revealed to Collider that Dominion's delay is causing a scheduling conflict with his ABC show Stumptown. Johnson said:

“I was getting ready to go out and then this pandemic hit and so everything got pushed and the schedule got rearranged, and now we’re trying to figure it out because obviously I’m in Stumptown and we’re going into Season 2 of that. So we’re figuring out the scheduling and how and if we can make it work. But Colin Trevorrow, the director, is a good friend, we’re old friends and we’ve been talking a lot and we’re trying to figure out how to do it.”

While Johnson only had a supporting role in the first film and didn't even appear in the second, it would be a shame if he didn't appear in Dominion. This movie is bringing back almost everyone from the previous films, making it feel like a true culmination of the franchise. Having Johnson around would be a nice callback to Jurassic World and could also supply some comedic moments. As Johnson said, he and Trevorrow are still working things out, so there's still a chance Lowery could make his big return.

There is still some concern that Dominion could end up getting delayed, but production is definitely making some progress. Just last week, Neill and Dern were confirmed to be on set, thus reuniting old partners Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler. One of the exciting parts of Dominion is the possibility of seeing the Jurassic Park team interact with the Jurassic World characters, and that certainly includes Johnson. Only time will tell if he'll get to revisit his time at the iconic park.

Source: Collider /

Sinankylosaurus zhuchengensis: New Dinosaur Species Fossil Discovered In East China

Friday, August 14, 2020

China established a new ankylosaurian dinosaur species after discovered an almost complete right ilium fossil of an ankylosaurus dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous strata in Zhucheng, E China’s Shandong. The new species has been named as “Sinankylosaurus zhuchengensis”.

Chinese paleontologists have found the fossil of a new dinosaur species in the city of Zhucheng, east China's Shandong Province, local authorities said.

Experts have identified the fossil of a right ilium as that of an ankylosaurus, and named the new species Sinankylosaurus zhuchengensis, according to the Dinosaur Research Center of Zhucheng.

The discovery of the new species adds to the diversity of the Zhucheng dinosaurs' fauna, and provides more insight into the lives of dinosaurs, said Zhang Yanxia from the Dinosaur Research Center of Zhucheng.

The findings have been published by the Geological Bulletin of China.

Zhucheng is home to one of the largest dinosaur bone concentrations in the world, with a total fossil burial area of 1,600 square km. Chinese researchers found the first dinosaur fossil in Zhucheng in 1964, and since then more than 10 dinosaur species have been found during excavations.


Fan Spots Error In Jurassic Park Scene, 27 Years After The Film’s Release

Saturday, August 15, 2020

An operator’s hand can be seen holding the dinosaur’s tail in this ‘Jurassic Park’ scene (Universal Pictures)

Blunder occurs during the climactic velociraptor scene.

An eagle-eyed fan has noticed a blunder in the beloved 1993 movie Jurassic Park, 27 years after the film’s release.

The error comes in the famous scene when velociraptors hunt down Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) in one of the park’s kitchens.

Posting on the MovieDetails Reddit sub-forum, the viewer wrote: “In Jurassic Park, there is a scene where the raptor opens the door to the kitchen and you can spot an operator grab the raptor’s tail.”

In the film, the dinosaurs were created through a mixture of CGI and puppetry. Just as the Reddit user described, it is indeed possible to glimpse an operator’s hand just as the shot is panning away from the raptor.

While other Reddit users expressed surprise at the discovery, errors like this are common in films. IMDb has identified 341 goofs in Jurassic Park, many of which are to do with continuity.

Certain errors in major films have become infamous over the years, such as the appearance of a white van during a battle scene in Braveheart, or the presence of bullet holes in a scene in Pulp Fiction before guns have been fired.

In another Jurassic Park scene, the untrustworthy Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) is seen talking to someone by “video link”, but viewers are able to clearly discern that he is simply watching a pre-recorded video.

The lead stars of Jurassic Park – Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern – are set to reprise their roles in the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion, which recently resumed filming, having been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Jurassic World 3 Photos Reveal Return Of Classic Sequel Dinosaur

Saturday, August 15, 2020

New Jurassic World: Dominion set photos reveal the return of some infamous The Lost World dinosaurs: The tiny and terrifying Compsognathus.

New Jurassic World: Dominion set photos reveal the return of some infamous The Lost World dinosaurs. Back in 2015, Jurassic World revived the Jurassic Park franchise in a major way, telling the story of the iconic park once it was actually opened. A sequel followed in 2018 that further explored the world of cloned dinosaurs, and next year's Dominion looks to wrap everything up in epic fashion. Production on the film began earlier this year, and though there was a delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, things on Dominion are up and running once more.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park introduced Site B on Isla Sorna, InGen's secondary location where they cloned the dinosaurs. That film featured a whole host of new dinosaurs, including the tiny but terrifying Compsognathus. Isla Sorna also factored into Jurassic Park III, and it also looks to have a role in Dominion. Recent set photos teased a possible return to Site B, and now it seems like the Compsognathus will be back as well to wreak more havoc.

The New York Times did a piece on Dominion's post-coronavirus production, and it included some new behind the scenes photos of the set. In one, a production artist is in the middle of giving some touch-ups to a Compsognathus model, which stands in a crate among several others. The sly little dinos are back, though it might come as a relief to see them in cages instead of running wild.

Early on in The Lost World, a horde of Compsognathus attacked young Cathy Bowman (Camilla Belle) while she was on vacation with her parents. Though she did survive, it was clear it was a vicious attack, cementing how dangerous the Compsognathus can be. They've appeared in additional films beyond The Lost World, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom being the most recent. However, their presence in Dominion further shows how this movie intends to be a real culmination of everything that has come before.

Fallen Kingdom ended with dinosaurs running loose in the world, but this new photo suggests at least some of them will be captured easily enough. It remains to be seen how Dominion intends to deal with the dinosaur threat, but a lot of people will come together in order to do so. In addition to Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, Dominion will see the returns of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. Plus, there are many, many other returning Jurassic World players to look forward to. After all, with the dinosaurs out in the world, it's all hands on deck.

Source: NYT /

Ancient Beavers Gnawed Trees for Harvesting Food, Not To Build Dams

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Dipoides beavers lived approximately 4 million years ago at the Beaver Pond site on Ellesmere Island. Image credit: Luke Dickey.

Extinct semi-aquatic beavers of the genus Dipoides lived 4 million years ago (Pliocene epoch) in the Canadian High Arctic and were approximately two-thirds the size of today’s North American beavers (Castor canadensis). They gnawed trees with rounded front teeth, not squared teeth like their modern relatives. A team of paleontologists from Canada, the United States and the UK says their woodcutting behavior originated for harvesting food, not from a compulsion for building dams.

Modern beavers are prolific ecosystem engineers and dramatically alter the landscape. They harvest trees and shrubs for sustenance, particularly during the winter, but also for the purpose of lodge and dam building.

However, little is known about the evolutionary drivers of their woodcutting behavior.

“Ancient animals and ecosystems that thrived in the high Arctic during warmer times in geological history show us a glimpse of what this biome could look like in the future under the effects of global warming in polar regions,” said lead author Tessa Plint, a former Western University graduate student currently pursuing a PhD at Heriot-Watt University.

“Today, the beaver has a profound impact on the landscape and is known to increase the biodiversity of the local ecosystem through tree-harvesting and dam building. It’s fascinating to look back in time and figure out how this hyper-specialized toolkit of behaviors came to be.”

To reconstruct the paleodiet of ancient beavers, Plint and her colleagues from the University of Western Ontario, the University of Montana, Paleotec Services, Canadian Museum of Nature and Carleton University examined carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures preserved fossilized plants and Dipoides beaver bones from the Beaver Pond site on Ellesmere Island.

The results indicate a diet of woody and aquatic plants, supporting the hypothesis that these extinct beavers engaged in woodcutting behavior for feeding purposes.

According to the team, woodcutting and consumption of woody plants can be traced back to a small-bodied, semi-aquatic beaver from the Miocene epoch, suggesting that beavers have been consuming woody plants for over 20 million years.

The chemical signatures preserved in the Dipoides bones and plant remains also provided an excellent record of past ecological and climatic conditions.

“From these findings, we can begin to understand the potential impacts of current climate and environmental change on Earth, and anticipate — for example — who survives and who doesn’t,” said co-author Dr. Fred Longstaffe, a researcher in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Western Ontario.

“The more we unearth this time capsule from Ellesmere Island, the more we discover a boreal forest-type landscape,” added co-author Dr. Ashley Ballantyne, a bioclimatologist at the University of Montana.

“It is yet another glimpse into what the Arctic looked like during a much warmer time in Earth’s history.”

“This study highlights how beavers have been impacting forest and freshwater ecosystems for millions of years, and helps us understand the evolution of their role as ecosystem engineers,” Plint said.

The findings appear in the journal Scientific Reports.


T. Plint et al. 2020. Evolution of woodcutting behaviour in Early Pliocene beaver driven by consumption of woody plants. Sci Rep 10, 13111; doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-70164-1


Vectaerovenator inopinatus: New Carnivorous Dinosaur Unearthed on Isle of Wight

Thursday, August 13, 2020

An artist’s impression of Vectaerovenator inopinatus’ final moments. Image credit: Trudie Wilson.

A new genus and species of theropod dinosaur from the Cretaceous period has been identified from bones found on the Isle of Wight, the United Kingdom.

The newly-discovered dinosaur roamed the Earth approximately 115 million years ago (Cretaceous period).

It belongs to Tetanurae, a group that includes most theropod dinosaurs, including megalosauroids, allosauroids, tyrannosauroids, ornithomimosaurs, maniraptorans, and birds.

Named Vectaerovenator inopinatus, the ancient creature is estimated to have been up to 4 m (13.1 feet) long.

The fossilized bones from the neck, back and tail of the new dinosaur were found over a period of weeks in 2019 in three separate discoveries, two by individuals and one by a family group, on the foreshore near Knock Cliff on the Isle of Wight.

“The joy of finding the bones we discovered was absolutely fantastic. I thought they were special and so took them along when we visited Dinosaur Isle Museum,” said Robin Ward, a fossil hunter who was with his family visiting the Isle of Wight when they made their discovery.

“They immediately knew these were something rare and asked if we could donate them to the museum to be fully researched.”

“It looked different from marine reptile vertebrae I have come across in the past,” said regular fossil hunter James Lockyer.

“I was walking along the beach, kicking stones and came across what looked like a bone from a dinosaur,” added regular fossil hunter Paul Farrell.

“I was really shocked to find out it could be a new species.”

Silhouette of Vectaerovenator inopinatus indicating where the bones are from. Image credit: Darren Naish.

Vectaerovenator inopinatus had large air spaces in some of the bones, one of the traits that helped the paleontologists identify its theropod origins.

These air sacs, also seen in modern birds, were extensions of the lung, and it is likely they helped fuel an efficient breathing system while also making the skeleton lighter.

“We were struck by just how hollow this animal was — it’s riddled with air spaces. Parts of its skeleton must have been rather delicate,” said lead author Chris Barker, a Ph.D. student at the University of Southampton.

“The record of theropod dinosaurs from the mid Cretaceous period in Europe isn’t that great, so it’s been really exciting to be able to increase our understanding of the diversity of dinosaur species from this time.”

“It is likely that Vectaerovenator inopinatus lived in an area just north of where its remains were found, with the carcass having washed out into the shallow sea nearby.”

The team’s paper will be published in the journal Papers in Palaeontology.


Chris Barker et al. 2020. A highly pneumatic ‘mid Cretaceous’ theropod from the British Lower Greensand. Papers in Palaeontology, in press


Some Dinosaurs Could Fly Before They Were Birds

Thursday, August 13, 2020

New research using the most comprehensive study of feathered dinosaurs and early birds has revised the evolutionary relationships of dinosaurs at the origin of birds.  CREDIT: Julius Csotonyi

Updated evolutionary tree and biomechanical estimates of feathered dinosaurs and early birds show powered flight may have evolved in these animals at least three different times.

New research using the most comprehensive study of feathered dinosaurs and early birds has revised the evolutionary relationships of dinosaurs at the origin of birds. An international team of researchers, led by Professors Michael Pittman and Rui Pei, at Hong Kong University, from five different countries, including McGill University Professor Hans Larsson published their findings in the journal Current Biology. The team pored over fossils, developed a novel analytical pipeline to search for evolutionary trees, and estimated how each species may have crossed the stringent thresholds for powered flight.

"Our revised evolutionary tree supports the traditional relationship of dromaeosaurid ('raptors') and troodontid theropods as the closest relatives of birds. It also supports the status of the controversial anchiornithine theropods as the earliest birds", said Pei. With this improved evolutionary tree, the team reconstructed the potential of bird-like theropods for powered flight, using proxies borrowed from the study flight in living birds.

The team found that the potential for powered flight evolved at least three times in theropods: once in birds and twice in dromaeosaurids. "The capability for gliding flight in some dromaeosaurids is well established so us finding at least two origins of powered flight potential among dromaeosaurids is really exciting," said Pittman.

"This was a fun collaboration over several years", commented Larsson. "For the first time, we have a well resolved evolutionary tree of these small, feathered dinosaurs to ask questions about how birds originated. We were able to map biomechanical limits to all these species and propose a picture of experimentation within a spectrum of near-flight to fully-flighted capabilities in these wonderful little carnivores. This goes against the simple, linear stepping forward through evolution model of bird origins and instead presents one were an explosive radiation of feathered dinosaurs were experimenting with many kinds of wing-assisted locomotion. I think this is the most realistic view of bird origins to date."


About the study

The paper is published in Current Biology and can be accessed here: 

A video summary of the study can be viewed here:

A shorter no audio video summary can be viewed here:

About McGill University

Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada's top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It?is a world-renowned?institution of higher learning with research activities spanning two campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 40,000 students, including more than 10,200 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,800 international students making up 31% of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 19% of our students who say French is their mother tongue.


Deinosuchus schwimmeri: New Species of Ancient Giant Alligator Identified

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

An illustration of Deinosuchus. Image credit: Tyler Stone,

A new species of crocodilian related to modern alligators has been identified from fossils found in Mississippi and Alabama, the United States. Named Deinosuchus schwimmeri, it lived between 75 and 82 million years ago (Cretaceous period) and had teeth the ‘size of bananas,’ capable to take down even the very largest of dinosaurs.

Deinosuchus is a genus of giant (over 10 m, or 33 feet, in length) crocodylians from the Late Cretaceous of North America.

These creatures were the largest semiaquatic predators in their environments, longer and heavier than their predatory competitors, and are known to have fed on large vertebrates, including contemporaneous dinosaurs.

Two Deinosuchus species, Deinosuchus hatcheri and Deinosuchus riograndensis, lived in the west of America, ranging from Montana to northern Mexico.

The newly-described species, Deinosuchus schwimmeri, lived along the Atlantic coastal plain from New Jersey to Mississippi.

Deinosuchus was a giant that must have terrorized dinosaurs that came to the water’s edge to drink,” said Dr. Adam Cossette, a researcher in the Department of Basic Sciences at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Iowa.

Deinosuchus schwimmeri skull: (A) dorsal view, (B) ventral view, (C) lateral view of braincase elements, (D) lateral view of otic region elements, (E) posterior view of skull. Abbreviations: bo – basioccipital, CNV – cranial nerve V, eao – external auditory opening, ect – ectopterygoid, eo – exoccipital, f – frontal, itf – infratemporal fenestra, j – jugal, l – lacrimal, ls – laterosphenoid, mx – maxilla, n – nasal, og – ophthalmic groove, orb – orbit, pa – parietal, pal – palatine, pas – paranasal air sinus, pf – prefrontal, po – postorbital, pot – prootic, pt – pterygoid, ptf – posttemporal fenestra, q – quadrate, qj – quadratojugal, so – supraoccipital, sq – squamosal, stf – supratemporal fenestra. Scale bar – 5 cm. Image credit: Cossette & Brochu, doi: 10.1080/02724634.2020.1767638.

Dr. Cossette and his colleague, University of Iowa’s Professor Christopher Brochu, studied new and previously found material to review species-level systematics of Deinosuchus and help refine its phylogenetic placement among crocodilians.

“Until now, the complete animal was unknown. The new specimens we’ve examined reveal a bizarre, monstrous predator with teeth the size of bananas,” Dr. Cossette said.

Based on its enormous skull, Deinosuchus looked like neither an alligator nor a crocodile.

Its snout was long and broad, but inflated at the front around the nose in a way not seen in any other crocodylian, living or extinct. The reason for such enlarged nose is unknown.

“It was a strange animal,” Professor Brochu said.

“It shows that crocodylians are not ‘living fossils’ that haven’t changed since the age of dinosaurs. They’ve evolved just as dynamically as any other group.”

“It had two large holes are present at the tip of the snout in front of the nose,” Dr. Cossette added.

“These holes are unique to Deinosuchus and we do not know what they were for, further research down the line will hopefully help us unpick this mystery and we can learn further about this incredible creature.”

Deinosuchus seems to have been an opportunistic predator, and given that it was so enormous, almost everything in its habitat was on the menu,” said Dr. Stephanie Drumheller-Horto, a paleontologist at the University of Tennessee who was not involved in the current study.

“We actually have multiple examples of bite marks made by Deinosuchus riograndensis and a species described in this study, Deinosuchus schwimmeri, on turtle shells and dinosaur bones.”

The study was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.


Adam P. Cossette & Christopher A. Brochu. A systematic review of the giant alligatoroid Deinosuchus from the Campanian of North America and its implications for the relationships at the root of Crocodylia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, published online July 29, 2020; doi: 10.1080/02724634.2020.1767638