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Trivia / Jurassic Park

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The Franchise in general:

  • Ascended Fanon: There's a bit of history behind her name. During film production, the handlers referred to the animatronics by the nickname Roberta, which was used in some circles to refer to the character herself. Later, when it became clear that the T. rex in Jurassic World was the same one in Jurassic Park, fans started using Rexy, based on a common misspelling of the nickname Rexie (used by Muldoon to occasionally refer to the adult rex). Rexy would become the most commonly used reference over the next few years, but was never included in the canon until the relatively obscure young adult novel The Evolution Of Claire came out. Here, it was the name used by the Jurassic World handlers for her. Since then, the name Rexy has shown up in multiple sources including Camp Cretaceous and Jurassic World Alive, with the fandom largely using it as her official name. That being said, she's never referred to by any name in the films.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Julianne Moore was considered for Ellie Satler. She would play Sarah Harding in The Lost World.
  • Franchise Zombie: After the success of the first movie, Steven Spielberg became interested in making a sequel and wanted Michael Crichton to write a novel that could be used as its base. Crichton had never written a follow-up to any of his own novels before, but published The Lost World (1995) (the only sequel he ever wrote). He had to make some Retcons in order for the new book to fit in with on-screen continuity — most notably, bringing back Ian Malcolm, who died in the first book but survived in the movie. (As it turned out, he was prematurely declared dead and made a recovery.) Four more movies have since followed without any source material from the original author, aside from scenes from the books that had not yet been filmed.
  • Money-Making Shot: The iconic Tyrannosaur escapes the fence and roars scene. And in a literal sense, the Gallimimus run, whose animatic convinced Spielberg that the computer-generated effects were good enough to replace any Stop Motion.
  • Outlived Its Creator: Since the fourth movie, as Michael Crichton died in 2008. Richard Attenborough's death can count as well, as Jurassic World outlives John Hammond.
  • The Red Stapler:
    • Responsible for amber's popularity in jewelry. Ironic, considering the book has one character express confusion over why Hammond is buying so much amber, since back then it had no cosmetic worth.
    • While the novel and film of Jurassic Park were part of a renewed surge of public interest in dinosaurs in the late 1980s and early 1990s (see The Land Before Time, for instance), the blockbuster success of the film once and for all cemented their pop culture image as intelligent and agile instead of dimwitted and slow. This reflected the Dinosaur Renaissance in paleontology which had started in the late 1960s, gained traction in the 1970s and inspired said surge by the 1980s. And the film also pretty much singlehandedly elevated Velociraptors to stock dinosaur status.
    • The film inspired a generation of kids to go into paleontology.
    • According to one article the Chilean sea bass, mentioned and shown exactly ONCE in the movie, was still nearly overfished into extinction based on the movie's popularity.
  • Refitted for Sequel: Sort of. When they made video games based off the movies, and needed to stretch them out, they mined each film's respective book; the first SNES game is in many ways more based on the book than the film.
    • Then there's the fact that a couple of scenes from the second film (the vacationing family at the beginning and the T. rex sticking its tongue through the waterfall) were originally from the first book.
      • This is common throughout the film franchise, with unused concepts from both earlier drafts of the script and the original books going into each of the sequels: an early scene with the daughter of an American family on vacation being attacked by a compy in the first book is reworked as a the daughter of a British family on vacation being attacked by a whole BUNCH of compies; the Tyrannosaurus attacking Grant and the kids on a boat in the first book was reworked into the Spinosaurus attacking Grant and the Kirbys in Jurassic Park III; and a dropped concept of Pteranodons attacking a helicopter that was considered for the endings of both The Lost World and Jurassic Park III finally made it to film in Jurassic World, though near the end of the second act instead of the third.
      • In the first book, Lex and Timmy's parents are getting a divorce, and them going to Jurassic Park is meant to be a fun thing to keep them busy. This is used for Gray and Zach in Jurassic World.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Dodgson's original actor Cameron Thor was in prison for lewd conduct with a minor when Dominion was made, causing the character's return to be recast with Campbell Scott.
  • Science Marches On: A lot of the incorrectness is due to this. It was what was believed to be true in 1992.
    • At the time of the first film's production, some experiments claimed to have succeeded in extracting DNA from samples that were tens of millions of years old. One study published just one day after the first film's premiere claimed to have recovered DNA from a 120 million year old weevil that had been preserved in amber. Later experiments failed to replicate these results, and they are now believed that have been false positives due to sample contamination. As the half-life of DNA was recently established, we now know for a fact that even under ideal preservation conditions, DNA cannot survive longer than a couple million years.
    • The series uses a cloning method with is now known to be unfeasible for birds and reptiles, and therefore also couldn't be used for non-avian dinosaurs. The main issue is that birds and most reptiles lay shelled eggs rather than having a uterus. Mammals can simply have the fertilized embryo injected in the host's uterus and it will implant itself, but there is no such process in birds, and transferring and removal of a fertilized egg cell to the petri dish and into the egg is practically impossible in comparison.
    • The dinosaurs are all scaly, whereas recent science indicates many should be feathered. Notably, we now know that Velociraptor had feathers and possessed other avian characteristics (this was sort of addressed in the third film by giving them weird looking little feather "mohawks"), as should some other dinosaurs like the Gallimimus and Compsognathus. Jurassic World Dominion compensates a little by introducing Therizinosaurus, Pyroraptor, Moros, and Oviraptor as being feathered, although previous dinosaurs that should be feathered still aren't, nor is the new raptor species Atrociraptor.
    • Rather infamously, the novels (and by extension, the films) used a very niche hypothesis that synonymized Deinonychus under Velociraptor. This was a fringe idea, even back then, and nobody has taken the idea seriously in a long time. Nonetheless, the franchise has continued to espouse its dromaeosaurs as Velociraptor due to the Grandfather Clause.
    • On a related and more minor note, the first novel features the dinosaur Microceratops, which has now been renamed Microceratus (due to Microceratops already being used for a genus of wasp), and much of the material previously known of it has now been reclassified as Graciliceratops. The first movie briefly features Metriacanthosaurus as one of the names among the frozen embryos; this is probably supposed to be the much more well-known Yangchuanosaurus shangyouensis, which was synonymized as "Metricanthosaurus shangyouensis" in the same book that synonymized Deinonychus and Velociraptor (and even features on the cover), but this has similarly been rejected by most other palaeontologists. The Brachiosaurus in the films is also based on fossils now considered their own genus, Giraffatitan (the actual Brachiosaurus species, B. altithorax, is known from very poor fossil remains in comparison).
    • The franchise portrays its raptors as seemingly being obligate pack-hunters, which was a popular idea with Deinonychus (and by extension, all dromaeosaurs) during the 80s into the early 00s. However, there's very little evidence to suggest any strict social behaviour, never mind a wolf pack-like structure with a dominant "alpha" that the other raptors obey unerringly.
    • All the dinosaurs are portrayed with pronated hands, with the palms facing the chest. It is now known that this position was impossible and attempting to put their hands in such a position would have broken their bones. They are now believed to have held their hands with the palms facing each other like they're preparing to clap.
    • The Cearadactylus are depicted as scrawny, delicate creatures with fragile looking wings and an awkward, clumsy gait on the ground. Later discoveries suggest that all pterosaurs were not only much sturdier than they looked, but also scarily competent at ground movement (ornithocheirids like Cearadactylus are even believed to have been able to hop on all fours). Commendably, they're also depicted as being covered in fur.
    • The third movie depicts Pteranodon as building stick nests, having flightless young, and bird-like parental care. However, later fossils of pterosaur eggs and flaplings indicates that they probably buried eggs like turtles, young could fly soon or even immediately after hatching, and most species probably did not provide post-natal parental care.
    • Since they're genetically created, however, it may get a free pass; the dinosaurs were created according to specifications that were thought to be accurate at the time.
    • There's an in-universe example near the start of the book, when Grant spots a herd of Apatosauruses and muses that they are more commonly known by the 1930s misnomer "brontosaurs", and now that Brontosaurus has been confirmed as a real species again this is also an OUT-of-universe example.
    • Sauropods are depicted with fleshy, malleable lips. Now that better-preserved sauropod skulls have been discovered, particularly of the recently-discovered Lavocatisaurus, it seems sauropods would have had a keratinous sheath forming into what looks like a beak. The Brachiosaurus is also depicted with nostrils on its forehead, which was the main line of thought for sauropods at the time of the first film, but it's now thought they had fleshy sinus chambers which connected nostrils at the time of the snout to the nasal cavity in the skull on the forehead. Later sauropods are accurately depicted with nostrils on the end of their snouts, but the Brachiosaurus still has forehead nostrils, probably due to the Grandfather Clause.
    • The Spinosaurus in the third film. Subsequent fossil discoveries have found that its legs were much shorter than in other large theropods, its feet were probably webbed, and it would've possessed a paddle-like tail for swimming. New weight estimates have also found that, although it got longer than Tyrannosaurus, it was slightly lighter on average.
    • Both Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus are portrayed as incredibly speedy hunters, the former explicitly stated to be "cheetah speed" and the latter capable of keeping pace with a speeding car. Later studies on dinosaur speed have indicated it's unlikely large theropods like T. rex were capable of speeds over 15 MPH, possibly not even 11 MPH, while dromaeosaurs like Deinonychus did not possess any particular adaptations for speed and would've been far outpaced by modern flightless birds like ostriches or emus.
    • The baby Tyrannosaurus in The Lost World is depicted with a short, pug-nosed face, but later discoveries of juvenile tyrannosaurs indicate they actually had very and slender skulls which turned into the massive and robust bone-crushing jaws of the adults as they aged (young Tyrannosaurus were so different from adults that they were classified as their own species, Nanotyrannus and Stygivenator, for a while).
    • The second novel presents Tyrannosaurus with notable sexual dimorphism, with the female being larger and bulkier than the male. This was a popular idea in the 90s and early 00s, due to supposed evidence of egg canals and two distinct Tyrannosaurus phenotypes, showing up in other works like Walking with Dinosaurs and When Dinosaurs Roamed America, but the evidence for it has since been discredited (although it's not impossible, it is purely speculative at best). The film adaptation makes the two the same size, but this probably had more to do with pragmatism (it's much simpler to simply recolour the same props rather than make a different one for an inconsequential detail).
    • Carnotaurus is depicted with rows of osteoderms down its back, but a study on its skin impressions in 2021 found that they were actually placed scattershot over its body rather than in any organized patterns.
    • Tyrannosaurus is depicted with a very long and mobile tongue that is even prehensile in the first novel. However, a 2018 study on dinosaur tongues found that the tongue of large carnivorous dinosaurs were immobile and firmly rooted to the floor of the mouth, like with modern crocodilians. Which is probably a good thing, because the Tyrannosaurus ends up chomping on its tongue with its huge teeth accidentally, possibly killing itself. Since the tongue of the real T. rex is anchored, this could not happen.
    • The reason Dilophosaurus is given a venomous bite and spit is because of a belief at a time that it had unusually weak jaws which would have had difficulty subduing and killing larger prey. While the more mundane explanation would've been that it therefore subsisted more on small animals in its environment, Crichton went for the much cooler and more speculative idea that it had a powerful venom. The idea is moot nowadays because it's widely believed that Dilophosaurus actually had a powerful, bone-crushing bite.
  • What Could Have Been: The whole franchise has a page.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Jurassic Park Wiki.
  • Word of God: Malcolm was supposed to be dead at the end of the first novel. Since he survived in the movie and became a popular character, Crichton decided to include him in the second novel. The Never Saw The Body aspect merely let him get away with it.

The First Novel:

  • Accidentally Correct Zoology: Grant and the kids are attacked by the adult tyrannosaur while riding a raft down the river when it swims after them, for several years after the novel's publication it was highly debated whether Tyrannosaurus could swim or not, in recent years there has been evidence that theropods such as tyrannosaurs could actually swim.
  • Extremely Lengthy Creation: Michael Crichton spent years working on the story, trying to convince himself the premise was not so unlikely. He had to do a lot of research before he could.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Large portions of the plot are recycled or expanded from Crichton's earlier work, Westworld.
  • Technology Marches On: The novel is a classic that anyone with even passing familiarity with the genre or franchise will pick up. To a modern reader who does that the tech base borders on Schizo Tech. The genetic engineering (it's well beyond mere cloning) is still out of sight in 202X and beyond but anyone reading the book has far more computer resources in their pocket than all of Isla Nublar, nevermind the desktop PC. Most of the plot would still work but specific items like saving processor resources by restricting the count or the US government noticing the amount of hash power Hammond had piled up are downright historical artifacts.
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: A bit of a preemptive example, but the novel was never meant to have a sequel, so Crichton had Isla Nublar firebombed, killing all of the dinosaurs on it. That didn't stop Spielberg from convincing him to write a sequel, anyways.