Magic Xylophone: Jurassic Park
Alas fellow humans, Professor Magic Xylophone here, and it’s time to separate out the movies you should show to your children in order to encourage a good scientific mind from those that should be banned for spreading as much misinformation as your high school physics book, when it told you there were only four dimensions. This time we’re gonna have a look at what is considered the gold standard of Dinosaur movies (No not the land before time, which I believe should be banned forever), Jurassic Park!
It’s the gold standard of dinosaur movies with a big budget, pretty dinosaurs, fast quips from Jeff Goldblum and Richard Attenborough’s accent which starts out as Scottish but quickly transcends to ye old English, but is all this just designed to distract you from the flimsy supporting science on which this movie is based? Let’s find out!
First I guess we should actually address the question “could Jurassic park really happen?”
In a word, No! In more words, certainly not the way it’s depicted in this movie. In Jurassic Park, scientists use dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes which fed on dinosaur blood and were then preserved in Dominican amber. Firstly, Dominican amber is at its oldest 40 million years old, we all know dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago so bit of a problem there. Let’s say though that they did get a 65 million year old sample, could dinosaur DNA be extracted? Here’s the problem, mosquitos would not have fed solely on dinosaurs, and even at that, not always the same dinosaur, so even with the help of the most sophisticated PCR, and since we don’t have complete samples of dinosaur DNA, there is no way of extracting pure samples of for example, T-Rex DNA from the concoction in the mosquito’s belly. Now the little video they watch when they get to Jurassic Park explains that there were gaps in the DNA, and they used segments from frog DNA to fill the gaps! What on God’s earth were they thinking?? Shame on the movie’s scientific advisors, primarily because you would never know what segments to fill in and secondly, why not either bird or reptile DNA, both of which are more closely related! Hope I haven’t lost you yet. Another problem with this technique, scientists have performed CAT scans on mosquitos preserved in amber, appearances can and were deceiving. Amber is great at preserving thing for millions of years, but only where the amber comes into contact with the object. What happened was that microorganisms inside the insect will literally eat the mosquito inside out, unfortunately for the Jurassic Park enthusiasts, the mosquitoes were completely hollow, only the exoskeleton was preserved.
Finally lets throw them two bones and say they do have a 65 million year old sample with pure DNA. Did u see the little furry things on the antennae in the movie? They tell you that the mosquito was a male, only the females suck blood!
Well I’ve rambled on enough, I’d just like to say in closing, T-Rex has binocular vision and can see moving objects just fine and can’t run that fast, velociraptors are about the size of a Turkey, personally I think Turkeys are pretty scary, also they were covered in feathers (very like a Turkey so) and they had a small brain to skull size so they were pretty stupid, none of this opening doors nonsense! Dilophosaurus didn’t have any fancy neck frills, it was bigger than the already exaggerated velociraptor’s size and they just made up the spitting venom thing, Brachiosaurus couldn’t rear up on its hind legs, or chew sideways like a sheep and even if it did, they didn’t eat tall branches. They couldn’t even spell dinosaurs correctly on the frozen embryos, it’s Stegosaurus not Stagasaurus and TyranNosaurus was missing an “n”.
My advice, if you want to watch an entertaining show on dinosaurs, rent out a David Attenborough documentary, he is the more talented brother after all!