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Top 10 Scientific Inaccuracies in Jurassic Park

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Roffey

Script written by Nick Roffey

Probably should have "spared no expense" on the research budget. From the velociraptors' size, to the T-Rex's vision, to the lifting strength of pteranodons, the Jurassic Park franchise definitely prioritizes science fiction over science fact. WatchMojo ranks the top scientific inaccuracies in Jurassic Park.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Scientific+Errors+in+Jurassic+Park Special thanks to our user MattW128 for suggesting this idea!


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Script written by Nick Roffey

Top 10 Scientific Inaccuracies in Jurassic Park

Life found a way to do . . . what? Welcome to, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Scientific Inaccuracies in Jurassic Park.

For this list, we're looking at details in the “Jurassic Park” franchise inconsistent with what we know, or at least think we know, about dinosaurs and other ancient reptiles. Now this isn’t to knock the movies; the original “Jurassic Park” is the greatest dinosaur movie, period. Buuut it’s nice to know how real life works too.

#10: Most of the Dinosaurs Aren't from the Jurassic Period

What's in a name? Dinosaurs dominated the Earth during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods, all part of the Mesozoic Era. But almost all the stars of Jurassic Park are actually from the Cretaceous - including the T-Rex, Velociraptor, Triceratops, and Pteranodons. Mind you, there are some exceptions, such as the Brachiosaurus, Dilophosaurus, and Stegosaurus, which lived during the Jurassic Period. Of course, “Mesozoic Park” doesn’t have quite the same ring… so we get it. But damn it, Hammond, we’re still going to blame this one on you.

#9: Where Did the Extinct Plants Come From?

Dinosaurs go through a lot of food. Just look at all that Triceratops poop. We don’t know if he stood on another Triceratops to make that mound or what, but we can say with certainty he eats his vegetables. So what exactly is triceratops breakfast in Jurassic Park? According to the expert, paleobotanist Ellie Sattler, Hammond has somehow managed to resurrect “extinct” plants. But . . . how? Sure, scientists have regenerated plants from seeds encased in ice 32,000 years ago. But we’re talking 66 million years. We're not saying it won’t be possible one day, maybe? But some explanation would be nice.

#8: Pteranodons Couldn't Lift People

The “Jurassic Park” franchise is full of iconic death scenes. But there was one in “Jurassic World” that particularly stood out. The drawn-out death of Claire’s personal assistant, Zara, came out of nowhere and marked a strange tonal shift. But the devil is also in the paleontological details. First off, pteranodons were probably fuzzy rather than scaly, with coats of hair-like filaments. Second, pteranodons didn’t have the grasping foot structure or muscles required to lift a human, nor the strength and wingspan. To be fair, the pteranodons did drop her a few times. Although it didn’t really help . . .

#7: T-Rex's Motion Vision

As every fan knows, it’s important to have a velociraptor home escape plan . . . just in case. When it comes to T-Rex, though, you might think elaborate preparations aren’t required. Just don’t move. Unfortunately, the idea that Tyrannosaurus could only detect motion is pretty far-fetched. In the book, it’s the result of mixing in frog DNA, but in the movie it’s just a T-Rex fact. A study from Professor Kent Stevens of the University of Oregon mapped the dinosaur’s visual capabilities, concluding T-Rex probably had more binocular range than a hawk and better visual clarity than an eagle. It also had a great sense of smell. So maybe . . . do move.

#6: Everything About the Brachiosaurus Scenes

Remember the sense of wonder when we got our first good look at dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park?” Even rewatching the movie today, the majestic brachiosaurus is striking . . . But according to Professor Bret Bennington of Hofstra University, these ponderous colossi were too front-heavy to rear back and support their weight on their hind legs - a feat which also doesn’t seem to get them any higher. They’re eating eucalyptus leaves, which have toxins poisonous to most animals. And as cute as it is, the Brachiosaurus didn’t chew like a cow, from side to side, and probably just swallowed its meals whole.

#5: Spinosaurus vs. T-Rex

T-Rex is the tyrant king of the dinosaurs. Right? One of the most controversial moves in the franchise was having the Spinosaurus defeat the park’s most iconic star. In real life, Spinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus lived in different places and times. But who would have won in a real fight? Spinosaurus was larger, and debate continues over whether T-Rex was really an apex predator or a scavenger. But Spinosaurus’ elongated, crocodilian jaws, conical teeth, and raised nostrils suggest it was adapted for catching fish. It’s tough to know who would win a real fight, but given those long, narrow jaws, the idea that Spinosaurus could have crushed and broken Tyrannosaurus’ thick, muscular neck is pretty unlikely.

#4: The Mosasaurus

When “Jurassic World” hit screens, paleontologists had mixed reactions to the Mosasaurus. The back frill was new, and there’s a good chance mosasaurs had forked tongues . . . but the creators had included a true-to-life second row of teeth on the marine reptile’s palate. On the other hand, the scale was all wrong. An infographic in the park lists the Mosasaurus as 55 feet long, about the same as the largest fossil ever found. But the Mosasaurus we actually see is enormous. In an interview, Digital Creature Model Supervisor Geoff Campbell admitted he was scaled up to take on Indominus Rex. And, we presume, for reasons of awesomeness.

#3: Real Dinos Have Feathers

We’ve learned a lot about dinosaurs since the original “Jurassic Park.” The main grumble from paleontologists when “Jurassic World” came out was that the dinosaurs were still stuck in the '90s. It is useful for continuity, and there’s always the frog DNA excuse to fall back on. But for the record, we know now that a lot of dinosaurs had feathers. Rather than having scaled, leathery hides, some dinosaurs strutted their stuff in rich plumage, in colors that ranged from muted earthy hues to fabulous shades of red, orange, and iridescent black. Velociraptor and Gallimimus were probably pretty fluffy, and even T-Rex might have sported some luxurious fluff.

#2: Liquid Blood Preserved in Amber

It sounds good in theory. Mine ancient amber, extract DNA from mosquitoes, and hey presto! Dinosaurs . . . adventure . . . running . . . screaming . . . chaos . . . And then, back to the start again. Sadly, even skipping over the facts that the mosquito species shown doesn’t suck blood, and amber from the Dominican Republic doesn’t date back to dinosaur times, there’s a pretty big hitch. DNA degrades over time, and the gaps can’t just be stuffed from some other random animal. The idea that blood would survive that long in fluid form is even more improbable. In real life, the dinosaur DNA would be all mixed up with the mosquito’s. It makes for great science-fiction, but don’t hold your breath for that pet triceratops.

Before we reveal the identity of our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:

Digging Up a Complete Skeleton Is Not That Easy

Dilophosaurus Was Bigger & Didn't Have a Neck Frill

The Triceratops Droppings Shouldn't Be Taller Than Its Backside

#1: Velociraptors Were the Size of Turkeys

The velociraptors in “Jurassic Park” are super-intelligent murder machines and, what’s worse, tall enough to open kitchen doors. But real velociraptors were much smaller and probably had feathers . . . basically just really angry chickens. When author Michael Crichton wrote the 1990 novel “Jurassic Park”, he actually based the raptors on their larger cousin, Deinonychus, but didn’t think the name sounded cool enough. Actual velociraptors also didn’t have pronated wrists - their palms faced each other rather than downward. On the bright side, this would have made it a lot harder for them to open doors . . . although you know what they say …


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