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Top 10 Dinosaurs Facts that Inspired Jurassic World

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
These real life dino facts, uh, found a way - onto the big screen. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Fascinating Dino Facts that Inspired Jurassic World. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at real life scientific discoveries that played a role in shaping this beloved film series. Watch the video at WatchMojo.com
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Top 10 Fascinating Dino Facts that Inspired Jurassic World


These real life dino facts, uh, found a way - onto the big screen. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Fascinating Dino Facts that Inspired Jurassic World.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at real life scientific discoveries that played a role in shaping this beloved film series.

#10: T. Rex Had a Killer Bite Force

The franchise’s iconic T. rex demolishes jeeps, lawyers, and even the Indominus . . . with a little help. Considering the fact that “Tyrannosaurus rex” translates roughly to “tyrant lizard king”, her awesome strength feels appropriate. The might of her killer bite hasn’t been exaggerated. T. rex had the largest bite force of any known creature to ever walk the Earth. Estimates of this force have ranged from 8,000 pounds to a colossal 50,000. Compare that to our own bite force of about 200 pounds, or to a crocodile’s, at 3,700. While the latest computer models suggest a figure that’s closer to the bottom end of that estimated range, that’s still a staggering and literally bone-shattering bite!

#9: Intelligence Varied Drastically Between Species

Though bones had been found earlier, it wasn’t until the 19th century that humankind really discovered the existence of dinosaurs. And for a long time afterward, the default assumption was that these massive creatures were dumb, lumbering giants. We know now that, much like in our modern day animal kingdom, there was a wide range intelligence on display. In the absence of live specimens to study, researchers look to brain size relative to body size as a measure of intelligence. They range from miniscule, as in the case of stegosaurus, to fairly generous - as with T. rex and Triceratops. Some scientists even claim that certain species would have been intelligent enough to respond to training.

#8: Dino Poop Holds Answers

In the original Jurassic Park film, Laura Dern’s Dr. Ellie Sattler enthusiastically dives hands first into a massive mound of dinosaur droppings in order to diagnose a sickly triceratops. It might be gross, but fecal matter is actually a great tool to learn about an animal’s health and lifestyle. This applies to both living creatures and extinct ones. You can bet that modern scientists would LOVE to get their hands on some fresh dino droppings, but given the impossibility of that, the next best thing is fossilized poop, also known as coprolites. They’re rare, but when we DO find them, they not only help us understand dino diets, but also to paint a better picture of local flora and fauna from the time.

#7: Mosasaurus Teeth

In Jurassic World, the park’s scientists have been getting creative with DNA, because regular dinosaurs are apparently not dangerous and terrifying enough. Just look at the mouthful of teeth on the Mosasaurus - surely that’s the result of genetic tampering . . . right? Well, prehistoric mosasaurs might not have grown as large as Doctor Henry Wu’s creation in “Jurassic World” . . . but they DID have a double row of teeth that protruded from the roof of their mouths, which made it easier to hold onto struggling prey. Perfect for dragging down difficult catches, or for scooping up hapless passersby.

#6: Dinosaurs Were Actually Social Animals

We often think of dinosaurs as solitary and aggressive. It’s a misconception that was especially common before “Jurassic Park” brought us raptor packs and gallimimus herds. As in the movies however, many of these “terrible lizards” were probably social creatures - just like the animals of today. Paleontologists have discovered fossil evidence of dinosaur nesting grounds and parental care. There are also indications that dinosaurs travelled together in herds and flocks. This is true of both herbivores - or “veggie-sauruses” - and carnivores. Tracks in British Columbia seem to reveal the movements of a T. rex PACK - pure nightmare fuel.

#5: Indominus Rex: Not So Far Fetched

Genetics is one of the most exciting and quickly developing scientific fields. For the time being, we’re nowhere close to being able to craft our own designer species, but it could very well be on the distant horizon. And although the Frankenstein dinos of the “Jurassic World” movies may SEEM far-fetched, they may actually be MORE plausible than dinosaur clones. If paleontologists COULD somehow recover dino DNA, it would likely be extremely fragmented. So in order to get something resembling a dinosaur, you might need to get creative - splicing together DNA from different animals.

#4: Baby Dinosaurs Look Very Different from their Adult Counterparts

By taking us into an already functioning family destination, “Jurassic World” really expanded the in-franchise universe, fully fleshing out the idea of a dinosaur theme park. One of the film’s most memorable attractions was its “Gentle Giants Petting Zoo”, where kids could get up close and personal with various baby dinosaurs. However, you might notice that the dinos look rather different from their adult counterparts. As Daniel Barta, PhD student in paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History has pointed out, dinosaurs go through substantial anatomical changes between infancy and adulthood - which we see on full display in “Jurassic World”.

#3: T. Rex Was a Caring Parent

“Tyrant Lizard King” might not be the sort of name that inspires confidence in an animal’s parenting abilities, but leading hypotheses suggest that Tyrannosaurus Rex really stepped up when it came to raising their young. As previously stated, the T. rex was an intelligent dinosaur, and that intelligence apparently translated into solid caregiving. With those short arms, and its relatively small size at birth, a juvenile T. rex was vulnerable after hatching, meaning that, as a parent, the Tyrannosaurus Rex had to be incredibly attentive in order for its offspring to reach maturity. So yeah… kidnapping a baby T. rex would, in reality, be a pretty terrible idea!

#2: The Hunting Style of Raptors

In “Jurassic Park”, Dr. Alan Grant describes velociraptor hunting tactics. The cooperative strategies of these “clever girls” allow them to outwit even the most well-trained, armed-to-the-teeth human foes. But did raptors really hunt in packs? There’s some debate, but support comes from fossil remains of Deinonychus, which inspired the franchise’s depiction of velociraptors. Skeletons and teeth from multiple Deinonychuses at kill sites has led some paleontologists to speculate that the predators worked together to bring down prey, much like modern day wolves. Proponents point to trackways that seem to show raptors travelling together in groups.

#1: Dinosaurs Evolved into Birds

Our understanding of dinosaurs is constantly evolving. Though the term “dinosaur” means “terrible” or “great” lizard, modern researchers have come to see the similarities between dinosaurs and birds. In fact, birds are in a sense living dinosaurs. Genetically speaking, dinosaurs actually have a lot in common with chickens. So much so, in fact, that some scientists think chickens would be our best bet at bringing them back - slowly flipping genetic switches until we got something as dinosaur-like as possible. Turns out, life really does find a way - surviving in new forms against all the odds.
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