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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.


Andrea Cau, PhD 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?

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