A Handy Guide to the Creatures in the Jurassic World Trailer

Hold on to your butts! After a 13-year hiatus, the Jurassic Park series will finally come roaring back into theaters June 2015. The new flick’s first official trailer debuted today; here’s a brief introduction to the prehistoric critters it promises.   

1. Gallimimus (0:45-0:46)

Lived: Roughly 73 million years ago (late Cretaceous period)   

Range: Mongolia

Diet: Probable omnivore (possibly with a bias toward plants)

Maximum Length: Approximately 26 feet (8 meters)

Name Means: “Chicken mimic”

A JP veteran, Gallimimus can be seen racing through the first two films. This leggy creature belongs to a group of ostrich-like dinos known as ornithomimids, which once frolicked through present-day Asia and North America. Gallimimus’ jaws were both toothless and, in some places, only a few millimeters thick, so the creature may have swallowed tiny rocks called gastroliths to help break down un-chewed food inside its stomach.

Unfortunately, Jurassic World’s trailer does make one big mistake (scientifically) with its Gallimimus flock. Take a peek at their hands. You may notice that the animals’ palms are turned upwards as they run. In real life, these palms would have been facing each other in a “clapping” position similar to that used by modern birds. 

2. Stegosaurus (0:47-0:49)

Lived: Roughly 150 million years ago (late Jurassic period)

Range: Western North America

Diet: Herbivore  

Maximum Length: Approximately 30 feet (9 meters)

Name Means: “Roof lizard”

Beloved the world over for those dramatic back plates and spiky tail, Stegosaurus also featured chain mail-esque throat scales, presumably to guard its jugular. Oddly, the animals’ hind legs were significantly longer than its front ones, leading some experts to suggest that Stegosaurus may have reared up to snag low-hanging tree limbs. By the way, this dino’s spikes were meant for business: a hole which perfectly matches the tip of one was found in the fossilized backbone of an unlucky, flesh-eating Allosaurus. Yikes! 

3. Apatosaurus (0:47-0:49, 0:51-0:58)

Lived:  Roughly 150 million years ago (late Jurassic period)  

Range: Western North America

Diet: Herbivore; for more details, go here.  

Maximum Length: Approximately 80 feet (24 meters)

Name Means: “Deceptive lizard”

Back in April, a leaked Jurassic World brochure hinted that Apatosaurus might score some screen time. Thanks to a scientific screw-up, this big fellow’s best known for indirectly nullifying the name Brontosaurus, which had been given to a dinosaur that later turned out to actually have been an Apatosaurus species. An American sauropod, or long-necked dinosaur, Apatosaurus is notable for its bulky skeleton and weird neck anatomy (abnormally-large “cervical ribs” are anchored to its vertebrae, giving them strange, exaggerated shapes that’ve confused many a scientist).

4. Mosasaurus (1:06-1:10)

Lived: Roughly 66-70 million years ago (late Cretaceous period)

Range: Western Europe

Maximum Length: Approximately 56 feet (17 meters).

Diet: Carnivore

Name Means: “Meuse lizard” (after the Meuse river of northern Europe, where its remains were first discovered).

Unlike the other beasties in this preview, Mosasaurus wasn’t a dinosaur at all but instead a close relative of today’s snakes and monitor lizards (it may have even had a forked tongue). Ocean-going mosasaurs had flexible, serpent-like jaws and—like overgrown pythons—most species probably would have had to swallow their prey items whole (or at least in supersized chunks). Recent years have been good to mosasaur paleontology; we now know, for example, that these amazing predators had shark-style tail flukes.

And speaking of sharks, go back and restart the video at 1:06. Jurassic World’s customers clearly enjoy seeing the resident mosasaur devouring great whites, but the fossil record shows that some prehistoric sharks were capable of turning the tables and feeding on these reptiles. Maybe we’ll see a fight; cross your fingers!

5. Velociraptor (Sort of) (2:21-2:25)

Lived: Roughly 71-75 million years ago (late Cretaceous period)

Range: Mongolia

Maximum Length: Approximately 6.5 feet (2 meters)

Diet: Carnivore

Name Means: “Swift robber”

The so-called Velociraptors in all four Jurassic Park movies actually look almost nothing like the genuine article. In fact, they were based on a related dino known as Deinonychus, which was appreciably bigger but still fell a bit short of JP’s raptors dimension-wise.

Velociraptor doesn’t need Hollywood’s help to be interesting. The carnivore definitely didn’t fly, yet its upper arm bones came with “quill knobs”—anchoring points onto which powerful feathers are rooted in modern birds. Its tail contained bony rods that could have stiffened the appendage into a handy counterbalancing tool for making narrow turns.

And recent research suggests that, contrary to what Steven Spielberg might have you believe, those dreaded sickle-shaped claws were built not for slashing but for gripping. Theoretically, a hungry Velociraptor would leap onto its victim, bury those digits, and hang on for a deadly rodeo. Now there’s a cinematic image for ya!

BONUS: Random, Genetically-Modified, Man-Eating Hybrid (-asaurus)

Yeah, Jurassic World’s plot includes a brand-new dino-monster with spliced DNA and a serious attitude. What DNA will this dino have? We'll just have to wait for the movie to find out. 

Original image
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Feathers, Fighting, and Feet: A Brief History of Dinosaur Art
Original image
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

One of the first-known works of dinosaur art was The country of the Iguanodon, an 1837 watercolor by John Martin. It depicts the ancient reptiles as giant iguanas, thrashing and fighting near a stone quarry—a far cry from today's sophisticated 3D renderings.

By watching the PBS Eons video below, you can learn how our image of dinosaurs has changed over the centuries, thanks to artworks based on new scientific discoveries and fossil findings. Find out why artists decided to give the prehistoric creatures either feathers or scales, make them either active or sluggish, present them as walking on two or four feet, and to imagine tails that either dragged or lifted, among other features.

Keep in mind, however, that both emerging technologies and new findings are constantly changing the way scientists view dinosaurs. A new species, on average, is named every two weeks—and this research will likely keep artists busy (and constantly revising their work) for years to come.

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Pop Chart Lab
Epic Poster Features Over 100 Hand-Drawn Illustrations of Dinosaurs
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Pop Chart Lab

Paleontologists are constantly discovering new dinosaurs (or questioning whether beloved species ever existed in the first place), so it's hard to keep track of every dino that ever existed. But if you want an up-to-date catalogue of the most significant beasts from the Triassic to the Cretaceous periods, this taxonomy poster from Pop Chart Lab is tough to beat.

Titled Dinosauria, the chart organizes more than 700 genera of dinosaurs into one easy-to-read infographic. All of the standard favorites are represented, like Triceratops and T. Rex, as well as some more obscure or newly discovered prehistoric reptiles like Conchoraptor and Psittacosaurus. Pop Chart Lab pulled its data from the most current classification systems, even including research published just this year that unifies ornithischians with theropods.

The 100 hand-drawn illustrations and accompanying taxonomic timeline took over 500 hours of research to design. Hanging it on your wall at home requires a lot less effort: You can order a 24-inch-by-36-inch print for $37 from Pop Chart Lab’s online store.


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