Skip to main content

How I would have set up Indominus rex in Jurassic World

Palaeontologists have commented a lot on the inaccuracies in Jurassic World, so I'm not gonna repeat that here. What I want to do instead is to provide my ideas on how the concept of Indominus rex could have been better, in my eyes.

I actually don't really like the idea of genetically engineering a hybrid dinosaur - that kind of goes against what made the original Jurassic Park (both novel and film) so "magical" (for want of a better word). As a kid enthusiastic about dinosaurs, the idea of bringing dinosaurs back to life from fossilised DNA was really breathtaking and exciting (yeah, yeah - they weren't real dinosaurs because their genome were augmented with amphibian DNA, blah, blah), but the core concept was that resurrecting past life may have unpredictable and undesirable consequences - like JP staff not being able to control their dinosaur population despite their genetic engineering - "life finds a way".

So in that vein, I would have made I. rex an unexpected dinosaur resurrection, in that JW scientists made an exceptional discovery of a new dinosaur, completely unknown to science from the fossil record. Indominus is not only a new species of dinosaur, but a representative of a whole new group of dinosaurs, which somehow escaped fossilisation - so we can introduce the concept of the fossil record being incomplete and that there are various known and unknown sources of sampling bias. To make things more interesting, lets say that I. rex is a derived ("evolved") member of an ancient clade of dinosaurs thought to have disappeared or given rise to more "evolved" dinosaurs hundreds of millions of years before the geological time period from which the amber was excavated. For instance, we can make I. rex a distant descendant of the Triassic herrerasaurs, which had undergone gigantism independent of other large-bodied theropods like allosaurs and tyrannosaurs. This would be pretty cool - especially if you took the position that herrerasaurs were basal saurischians, or if you accepted the new Baron et al. hypothesis of a herrerasaur + sauropodomorph Saurischia - i.e. Indominus rex would not even be a theropod yet have extreme convergences with theropods. This can be a great (natural) way to explain the mixture of (in-universe) traits that Indominus rex exhibits, such as tyrannosaur-plus size, combined with Velociraptor-level intelligence, and other novel and frightening abilities like controlling body temperature (if I remember correctly) and camouflage.

Anyway, that's just my idea.

But, Hollywood, if you want to use my idea in a future Jurassic World sequel, please contact my agent (wife) - I welcome an opportunity to act as (paid) consultant. No, seriously, I'm available for consultation.

Comments

Andrea Cau said…
Love this idea. Million times cooler than the actual monster in the movie.
This concept reminds me of a post I wrote several years ago on Jurassic Park, where I commented on the very unrealistic idea that all the cloned dinosaurs were the same species known from bones.
Raptor's Nest said…
Yeah, it is strange to think that they'd only cloned dinosaurs species known from fossils.

I was just wondering the other day, if JP didn't really have resident palaeontologists around, how did they identify their dinosaurs to the species level? Even if they had a palaeontologist around, they'd still have to wait till the animals matured and then take a look at the bones in detail in order to ID them based on knowledge accrued from fossils right?

Popular posts from this blog

R for beginners and intermediate users 3: plotting with colours

For my third post on my R tutorials for beginners and intermediate users, I shall finally touch on the subject matter that prompted me to start these tutorials - plotting with group structures in colour.

If you are familiar with R, then you may have noticed that assigning group structure is not all that straightforward. You can have a dataset that may have a column specifically for group structure such as this:

B0 B1 B2 Family
Acrocanthosaurus 0.308 -0.00329 3.28E-05 Allosauroidea
Allosaurus 0.302 -0.00285 2.04E-05 Allosauroidea
Archaeopteryx 0.142 -0.000871 2.98E-06 Aves
Bambiraptor 0.182 -0.00161 1.10E-05 Dromaeosauridae
Baryonychid 0.189 -0.00238 2.20E-05 Basal_Tetanurae
Carcharodontosaurus 0.369 -0.00502 5.82E-05 Allosauroidea
Carnotaurus 0.312 -0.00324 2.94E-05 Neoceratosauria
Ceratosaurus 0.377 -0.00522 6.07E-05 Neoceratosauria
Citipati 0.278 -0.00119 5.08E-06 Oviraptorosauria
Coelophysi…

The difference between Lion and Tiger skulls

A quick divergence from my usual dinosaurs, and I shall talk about big cats today. This is because to my greatest delight, I had discovered today a wonderful book. It is called The Felidæ of Rancho La Brea (Merriam and Stock 1932, Carnegie Institution of Washington publication, no. 422). As the title suggests it goes into details of felids from the Rancho La Brea, in particular Smilodon californicus (probably synonymous with S. fatalis), but also the American Cave Lion, Panthera atrox. The book is full of detailed descriptions, numerous measurements and beautiful figures. However, what really got me excited was, in their description and comparative anatomy of P. atrox, Merriam and Stock (1932) provide identification criteria for the Lion and Tiger, a translation of the one devised by the French palaeontologist Marcelin Boule in 1906. I have forever been looking for a set of rules for identifying lions and tigers and ultimately had to come up with a set of my own with a lot of help fro…

The fundamental problem with the Star Wars franchise

The sequel Star Wars Trilogy (so far Episodes VII and VIII) has been getting a lot of hate on the internet. While I think most of the hatred is just dreadful and ridiculous (like “Social Justice Warriors” taking over and making Star Wars too diverse and featuring too many strong female characters? Get out of here!), there are some legitimate criticisms, that I can relate to.

One such criticism is, that the new trilogy (especially The Last Jedi) effectively undoes the ending of The Return of the Jedi - in some ways rendering the struggles and sacrifices of the Rebel Alliance meaningless. As a viewer who watched the original trilogy conclude with the death of the Emperor, I presumed that the Empire came to an end, and with it the end of tyranny. I presumed that democracy would be reinstated in the form of a New Republic and the reconstruction of a New Jedi Order with Jedi Master Luke Skywalker at the helm. Peace is restored and all is good. I think that’s a nice ending.

But then the new S…