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4 Real Life Dinos Used to Make Jurassic World's Hybrid

JurassicWorld.com
JurassicWorld.com

Jurassic World won’t be hitting theaters until June 12, but the movie’s official website is already giving audiences a sneak peek at its new, genetically-modified dino, a beast that’s been named Indominus rex (or “Untamable king”). Toothy, aggressive, and highly intelligent, the monster’s said to contain the spliced DNA of several real-life dinosaurs, including these guys.

1. Carnotaurus

LIVED: Roughly 70 million years ago
RANGE: Argentina
MAXIMUM LENGTH: 25 feet (7.5 meters)
NAME MEANS: “Meat-eating bull”

Carnotaurus’ name comes from a pair of devilish-looking horns above its eyes. Additionally, this predator’s backside was covered in bony knobs called “osteoderms,” which leaked photos show Indominus rex also has.

Paleontologists suspect that Carnotaurus could have been very fast thanks to its muscular tail and powerful hind limbs. The dinosaur’s forelimbs, meanwhile, were a lot less impressive—in fact, they actually make T. rex’s much-maligned arms look beefy by comparison. Still, these stubby appendages do contain some pretty robust bones, which suggests that, despite outward appearances, they probably served some kind of function.

2. Majungasaurus

LIVED: Roughly 66 million years ago
RANGE: Madagascar
MAXIMUM LENGTH: 20 feet (6 meters)
NAME MEANS: “Mahajanga lizard” (after the province in which it was discovered)

This beast has been accused of dino cannibalism, and the evidence is pretty damning: Several recovered Majungasaurus specimens are riddled with bite marks that perfectly match the teeth and jaws of another Majungasaurus.

Stature-wise, Majungasaurus left a bit to be desired, given its unusually-short legs (by meat-eating dinosaur standards). Buts its neck was strong, its skull sturdy, and its bite powerful—three attributes we hope Indominus rex displays!   

3. Rugops

LIVED: Roughly 95 million years ago
RANGE: Niger
MAXIMUM LENGTH: Probably around 20 feet (6 meters)
NAME MEANS: “Wrinkle face”

Known exclusively from its skull, Rugops had fourteen holes arranged in two mysterious rows on its snout, which theoretically supported snazzy head-crests. Like Carnotaurus and Majungasaurus, Rugops belonged to the abelisauridae, a group of predators that once terrorized South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, and France.

4. Giganotosaurus

LIVED: Roughly 97 million years ago
RANGE: Argentina
MAXIMUM LENGTH: Around 40 feet (12.2 meters)
NAME MEANS: “Giant southern lizard”

Rivaling (and possibly surpassing) T. rex in size, Giganotosaurus was one of the largest carnivores to have ever walked the earth. Unlike the tyrant lizard’s blunt, bone-crushing teeth, this predator’s chompers were thin and blade-like—perfect for gliding through flesh. A few paleontologists think Giganotosaurus was a school bus-sized pack-hunter because numerous skeletons of a closely-related dinosaur named Mapusaurus have been found buried together. Granted, from a scientific standpoint, this association really doesn’t prove anything, but just imagine the cinematic possibilities! 

And Here are Two Questions We Hope Jurassic World Answers:  

Where Did Indominus rex’s Opposable Thumbs Come From?
Somebody at Ingen decided to give this man-eating monster something we’ve never seen in actual dinosaurs: primate-style thumbs. Though a few species, such as Europe’s Iguanodon, had thumb-like spikes protruding from each hand, opposable grasping digits akin to those with which we play video games are quite another matter.

What’s Up with Its "Quills"?
For reasons unknown, an herbivorous dinosaur named Psittacosaurus had glorious bristles on its tail. Might the rods we see running down Indominus rex’s neck and arms be something similar?

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Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
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If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

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Extinct Penguin Species Was the Size of an Adult Human
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A penguin that waddled across the ice 60 million years ago would have dwarfed the king and emperor penguins of today, according to the Associated Press. As indicated by fossils recently uncovered in New Zealand, the extinct species measured 5 feet 10 inches while swimming, surpassing the height of an average adult man.

The discovery, which the authors say is the most complete skeleton of a penguin this size to date, is laid out in a study recently published in Nature Communications. When standing on land, the penguin would have measured 5 feet 3 inches, still a foot taller than today’s largest penguins at their maximum height. Researchers estimated its weight to have been about 223 pounds.

Kumimanu biceae, a name that comes from Maori words for “monster" and "bird” and the name of one researcher's mother, last walked the Earth between 56 million and 60 million years ago. That puts it among the earliest ancient penguins, which began appearing shortly after large aquatic reptiles—along with the dinosaurs—went extinct, leaving room for flightless carnivorous birds to enter the sea.

The prehistoric penguin was a giant, even compared to other penguin species of the age, but it may not have been the biggest penguin to ever live. A few years ago, paleontologists discovered 40-million-year-old fossils they claimed belonged to a penguin that was 6 feet 5 inches long from beak to tail. But that estimate was based on just a couple bones, so its actual size may have varied.

[h/t AP]

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