When ‘Jurassic Park‘ sought to depict animals that haven’t existed for thousands of years, they dramatized certain aspects of paleontology. Below, you will find some of the most glorious examples.

“They do move in herds.”

1. Jurassic Park-ish

Fact-checking Jurassic Park wouldn’t be complete without scrutinizing the name of the eponymous theme park (directly lifted from the book on which the film was based). The adjective Jurassic refers to the Jurassic period, during which many sauropods (long-necked dinosaurs) and stegosaurs (spike-backed dinosaurs) flourished. Thankfully, many dinosaurs in the film did belong in the Jurassic period. Nevertheless, other species featured in the story—such as the Velociraptor and the Triceratops—squarely belonged in the Cretaceous period. Lamentably, “Cretaceous Park” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Jurassic Park.

Skeletal restoration of the Triceratops
Skeletal restoration of the Triceratops. Photo by Daderot from Wikimedia Commons

2. Raptors on Steroids

Speaking of Velociraptors. One of the most iconic images bestowed by Jurassic Park is that of the terrifying raptors. Their sickle-shaped claws that eviscerate victims are dead-on accurate. However, the size of the beast, not so much. An accurately depicted Velociraptor would have been the size of a St. Bernard. To give audiences the best of both worlds, the more recent Jurassic World series has justified the hefty raptor. The explanation? The raptors are only part-raptor.

A Jurassic-Park-style velociraptor sculpture
A Jurassic-Park-style velociraptor sculpture. Image by Džoko Stach from Pixabay

3. Demonic Dilophosauruses

A different kind of terror is found in the form of the Dilophosaurus, which, in the film, spits black venom. The horrifying creature spreads out its neck frill with a haunting crackling noise. Sadly, the fossil record doesn’t give us any indication to suspect that Dilophosauruses acted like frill-necked lizards. Spielberg’s reimagination makes for a fun visual, though!

A frill-necked lizard expanding its cowl
A frill-necked lizard expanding its cowl. Photo by Miklos Schiberna from Wikimedia Commons

4. Bleary-eyed T-Rexes

If Dr. Grant’s charisma sold you on T-Rexes that can’t track unmoving objects, you’re not alone. But more reliable than this theory is the urban legend about bears leaving you alone for playing dead. According to a 2004 study, Tyrannosauruses are actually speculated to have had an extremely sharp field of view. God forbid you ever encounter a living T-Rex. But if you do, make sure you run.

He can’t see us if we don’t move.

Alan Grant, regarding a T-Rex

5. Non-feathered Theropods

Last but not least, we come to one of the most common complaints about the Jurassic Park series: The dinos are bald! Many in the scientific community agree that theropods (carnivorous dinosaurs) were feathered and eventually became ancestors to the birds we know today. Nevertheless, there are some who maintain that birds cannot be related to dinosaurs due to the disparity of digit development between reptiles and birds. If these skeptics are right, then Jurassic Park’s hairless Gallimimus should actually be accurate!

Jurassic World: Dominion is projected to be released in 2021, which can feel like light years away. Until then, dinosaur geeks everywhere will have to make do with YouTube clips of raptor encounters at Universal Studios. If you found this blog post helpful or see some things missing in the list, feel free to comment below!