7 Jurassic Park Dinosaurs: Then and Now


Nearly 20 years after it first stomped onto the screen in 1993, Stephen Spielberg’s special and visual effects masterpiece Jurassic Park is being re-released in 3D this week. However, not unlike earth’s ecosystem itself, the fascinating world of dinosaur paleontology is an ever-changing place. Over the last two decades, some truly astonishing new discoveries have been made, spanning just about every conceivable topic in the biology, behavior, and evolution of these animals. So, to honor this grand cinematic occasion, let’s take a look back at the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and how recent discoveries have since changed our view of the magnificent creatures in its cast.  

1. Triceratops

A series of recent studies has proposed that the distinctive horns above Triceratops’ eyes would grow thicker and curve downward with age. For an account of a 2009 experiment that may help scientists understand how these dreaded weapons were put into practice, go here.

2. Parasaurolophus

We never hear a peep out of them in the movie, but in 1998, Tom Williamson of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science worked with a team of computer scientists to digitally simulate what Parasaurolophus may have actually sounded like some 75 million years ago. Check it out:

3. Dilophosaurus

Though absolutely no evidence exists to suggest that Dilophosaurus was actually venomous as seen in Jurassic Park, one of the animal’s original discoverers, the late Sam Welles of the University of California Museum of Paleontology, quickly became a fan of the film. In the mid-90s, he dedicated a delightfully-informative web page to the biology, unearthing, and cinematic debut of his beloved dinosaur. “I thoroughly enjoyed the movie”, said Welles, “and was very happy to find Dilophosaurus an internationally-known actor.”

4. Brachiosaurus

Could such a massive dinosaur really stand on two limbs without toppling over, as shown in the breathtaking clip above? Given the fact that the beast’s front legs were significantly longer than its back ones (and, hence, the name Brachiosaurus literally means “arm lizard”), paleontologist Heinrich Mallison argued in 2011 that, in Brachiosaurus’ case, rearing would include “a high risk of serious injury should the animal become unbalanced,” though he argued that some other species of sauropods (“long-necked” dinos) would’ve been able to do so.

5. Tyrannosaurus

“I think the hero of this movie is the T. rex,” Spielberg once said. He certainly isn’t the only one to have fallen in love with the “Tyrant Lizard King”: Tyrannosaurus is easily the most exhaustively-studied dinosaur of all time. One of Jurassic Park’s most famous sequences—in which a hungry “rex” hits speeds of 45 miles per hour while charging after a jeep—has come under fire in recent years. A 2002 analysis argued that, for this to occur, 86 percent of its muscle mass would have had to have been concentrated in its legs, a ludicrously implausible notion.

6. Gallimimus

A flock of these ostrich-like dinosaurs are seen stampeding away from a hungry T. rex in the third act of the film. Were the sequence shot today, the creatures’ arms would’ve been positioned differently: notice that the terrified Gallimimus hold their palms downward in this scene.

However, recent findings have confirmed that, in life, the hands of this sinuous dino and its kin would’ve faced each other instead, a position also favored by present-day birds.

7. Velociraptor

Over a decade after its last installment, a fourth film will finally be added to the Jurassic Park franchise next summer. The new movie may still be over a year away, but it’s already managed to stir up some scientific controversy. Director Colin Trevorrow recently tweeted that, in order to preserve series continuity, the “raptors” involved will not be given feathers, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that these swift predators were at least partially covered with them. A series of bumps known as “quill knobs,” which anchor large feathers in modern birds, were found on the forearms of a Mongolian specimen in 2007. As for the original Jurassic Park, a great deal has been written about the accuracy of its Velociraptors—here's a basic summary

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dogs

Dogs: They’re cute, they’re cuddly … and they can smell fear!

Today on Scatterbrained, John Green and friends go beyond the floof to reveal some fascinating facts about our canine pals—including the story of one Bloodhound who helped track down 600 criminals during his lifetime. (Move over, McGruff.) They’re also looking at the name origins of some of your favorite dog breeds, going behind the scenes of the Puppy Bowl, and dishing the details on how a breed gets to compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

Sploot 101: 12 Animal Slang Words Every Pet Parent Should Know

For centuries, dogs were dogs and cats were cats. They did things like bark and drink water and lay down—actions that pet parents didn’t need a translator to understand.

Then the internet arrived. Scroll through the countless Facebook groups and Twitter accounts dedicated to sharing cute animal pictures and you’ll quickly see that dogs don’t have snouts, they have snoots, and cats come in a colorful assortment of shapes and sizes ranging from smol to floof.

Pet meme language has been around long enough to start leaking into everyday conversation. If you're a pet owner (or lover) who doesn’t want to be out of the loop, here are the terms you need to know.


You know your pet is fully relaxed when they’re doing a sploot. Like a split but for the whole body, a sploot occurs when a dog or cat stretches so their bellies are flat on the ground and their back legs are pointing behind them. The amusing pose may be a way for them to take advantage of the cool ground on a hot day, or just to feel a satisfying stretch in their hip flexors. Corgis are famous for the sploot, but any quadruped can do it if they’re flexible enough.


Person holding Marnie the dog.
Emma McIntyre, Getty Images for ASPCA

Unlike most items on this list, the word derp isn’t limited to cats and dogs. It can also be a stand-in for such expressions of stupidity as “duh” or “dur.” In recent years the term has become associated with clumsy, clueless, or silly-looking cats and dogs. A pet with a tongue perpetually hanging out of its mouth, like Marnie or Lil Bub, is textbook derpy.


Cat laying on desk chair.
PoppetCloset, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you’ve ever caught a cat or dog poking the tip of its tongue past its front teeth, you’ve seen a blep in action. Unlike a derpy tongue, a blep is subtle and often gone as quickly as it appears. Animal experts aren’t entirely sure why pets blep, but in cats it may have something to do with the Flehmen response, in which they use their tongues to “smell” the air.


Mlems and bleps, though very closely related, aren’t exactly the same. While blep is a passive state of being, mlem is active. It’s what happens when a pet flicks its tongue in and out of its mouth, whether to slurp up water, taste food, or just lick the air in a derpy fashion. Dogs and cats do it, of course, but reptiles have also been known to mlem.


Very fluffy cat.
J. Sibiga Photography, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Some pets barely have any fur, and others have coats so voluminous that hair appears to make up most of their bodyweight. Dogs and cats in the latter group are known as floofs. Floofy animals will famously leave a wake of fur wherever they sit and can squeeze through tight spaces despite their enormous mass. Samoyeds, Pomeranians, and Persian cats are all prime examples of floofs.


Dog outside barking.

According to some corners of the internet, dogs don’t bark, they bork. Listen carefully next time you’re around a vocal doggo and you won’t be able to unhear it.


Shiba inu smiling up at the camera.

Speaking of doggos: This word isn’t hard to decode. Every dog—regardless of size, floofiness, or derpiness—can be a doggo. If you’re willing to get creative, the word can even be applied to non-dog animals like fennec foxes (special doggos) or seals (water doggos). The usage of doggo saw a spike in 2016 thanks to the internet and by the end of 2017 it was listed as one of Merriam-Webster’s “Words We’re Watching.”


Tiny kitten in grass.

Some pets are so adorably, unbearably tiny that using proper English to describe them just doesn’t cut it. Not every small pet is smol: To earn the label, a cat or dog (or kitten or puppy) must excel in both the tiny and cute departments. A pet that’s truly smol is likely to induce excited squees from everyone around it.


Hands holding a puppy.

Like doggo, pupper is self-explanatory: It can be used in place of the word puppy, but if you want to use it to describe a fully-grown doggo who’s particularly smol and cute, you can probably get away with it.

10. BOOF

We’ve already established that doggos go bork, but that’s not the only sound they make. A low, deep bark—perhaps from a dog that can’t decide if it wants to expend its energy on a full bark—is best described as a boof. Consider a boof a warning bark before the real thing.


Dog noses poking out beneath blanket.

Snoot was already a dictionary-official synonym for nose by the time dog meme culture took the internet by storm. But while snoot is rarely used to describe human faces today, it’s quickly becoming the preferred term for pet snouts. There’s even a wholesome viral challenge dedicated to dogs poking their snoots through their owners' hands.

12. BOOP

Have you ever seen a dog snoot so cute you just had to reach out and tap it? And when you did, was your action accompanied by an involuntary “boop” sound? This urge is so universal that boop is now its own verb. Humans aren’t the only ones who can boop: Search the word on YouTube and treat yourself to hours of dogs, cats, and other animals exchanging the love tap.


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