I Want To Believe in the DPG

With only 4 days until the USA release of Fallen Kingdom, everyone’s getting excited! A lot has been happening in the JWFK marketing and promotion campaign, and we’re seeing new stuff every day, like this behind-the-scenes featurette:

What really caught my attention was the Extinction Now twitter account, which takes the opposing viewpoint to the Dinosaur Protection Group and advocates for non-intervention on Isla Nublar. Fans have taken part in the debate between the two groups as each has made their case, and it really got me thinking. Here, from the point of view of someone in-universe, are my thoughts on the issue.

 

There has been a lot of debate recently over the dinosaurs that once populated Jurassic World. Isla Nublar is under threat of an imminent volcanic eruption from Mount Sibo, which would almost certainly kill all of the island’s occupants; that we can all agree on. But disagreements arise as to what should be done with the dinosaurs that tourists used to fly across the world to see. The Dinosaur Protection Group, led by Claire Harding (former Operations Manager of Jurassic World) is working to rescue the dinosaurs and bring them to the mainland. Extinction Now, of which Dr. Ian Malcolm is a notable advocate, says that we should allow nature to take its course and that the dinosaurs should go extinct again.

Everyone is taking sides on the issue, especially on social media. As a paleontologist and animal rights advocate, naturally I’ve formed an opinion, but it’s not entirely within the dichotomy. From purely an animal rights perspective, I believe that the Dinosaur Protection Group has good intentions, but there might be unforeseen consequences for their actions. With a sizeable budget and complete dedication to dinosaur welfare, their plan of dinosaur conservation might be achievable; however, this is highly unlikely. Extinction Now, on the other hand, seems entirely misguided except on one or two points. The way things are now, there seems to be no perfect answer to the Isla Nublar question.

First I should establish that, in my opinion, the dinosaurs from Jurassic World do have a right to live. Regardless of how they were brought about, there is a population of living, breathing animals that should not be left to certain death by volcanic eruption. As the DPG is fond of saying, we brought these dinosaurs here and it is our obligation not to abandon them. However, these dinosaurs do not have an obligation to reproduce or be cloned again. I believe that conservation of the dinosaurs themselves is ethically necessary, but there is no urgent reason why they should be allowed to breed, and it would be outright wrong to clone more dinosaurs or create more dinosaur species. This is purely from a standpoint of concern about how the next generation (and this one, which I’ll discuss shortly) of dinosaurs could be exploited or forced into an inhumane existence.

The Indominus Rex and the Jurassic World Incident that it caused are examples of how human greed can cause dinosaurs to suffer. Indominus was an animal created purely for entertainment purposes. When Dr. Henry Wu patched together its genome, he didn’t consider the animal’s welfare or quality of life—he only wanted to make it “bigger and louder with more teeth”. The results of this are well-known, and animal behaviorists who have evaluated the incident agree that part of the animal’s aggressive behavior was due to its extremely inhumane environment. Just for profit, Jurassic World was willing to create a dinosaur with serious abnormalities that would have made its life difficult if not outright cause it to suffer (for instance, its teeth grew directly out of its skull and therefore couldn’t be replaced if they were damaged, a serious issue for a large carnivore) and to raise that animal in total isolation. If given the chance, there is certainly at least one other bioengineering company that would do the same if it could make a quick buck from the practice. If resurrecting dinosaurs and creating hybrids is a practice available to anyone (since InGen is now defunct, its patent on its dinosaurs may no longer have any power) there are many people who would use that technology to create dinosaurs which would make them plenty of money but would also live in pain. Although there are scientists out there who would clone dinosaurs out of pure scientific interest and with absolutely no greed in mind, those are certainly not the only people who would take advantage of the technology.

I, along with many other animal rights activists, believe that there is no ethical way to raise an animal in a lab for study purposes in the first place. Therefore, cloning dinosaurs even for pure scientific research would be wrong. Jurassic World’s dinosaurs are still adjusting to the world they live in now, which is drastically different from the Mesozoic environment that their various species adapted to live in. The ethics of resurrecting them in the first place is questionable, but it would definitely be wrong to create dinosaurs just to use them as lab rats, even to learn more about the behaviors and physiology of the original dinosaurs that they were cloned from. Not only was there already a long window of time to study the dinosaurs while they still lived in captivity in Jurassic World, but as Dr. Alan Grant puts it, they still are “genetically-engineered theme park monsters” at the end of the day. They were created to pander to the public’s idea of what dinosaurs looked like, and there is only so much we can learn from animals that are, at best, a rough imitation of how their ancient counterparts looked and acted. Paleontologists can only learn so much from these hybrid creatures, and that small amount that hasn’t been learned about dinosaurs from them—is that enough to sacrifice their rights for? The DPG has discussed how much science could learn from Nublar’s dinosaurs, but it doesn’t seem to realize that using the dinosaurs for even pure scientific study could be a violation of their animal rights.

As you can see, my objections to dinosaur conservation are based around the idea that cloning more dinosaurs would inevitably lead to more exploitation—they could be used with no regard for their welfare (in the military, to make money for corporations, in experiments to create hybrids, etc.), or for scientific study which could still exploit them and which would ultimately prove futile. The DPG has stated that they plan to keep the rescued dinosaurs in a private nature preserve, owned by Dr. Benjamin Lockwood, on the mainland. In theory, this would be an excellent way to allow the animals to live undisturbed. I think that this plan is too idealistic. For one, there would be plenty of ways to steal the dinosaurs’ DNA, which would allow for cloning and lead to the consequences I discussed above. If one worker for a bioengineering company snuck onto the preserve and took a syringe of dinosaur blood, their company would then have a full dinosaur genome and therefore free range to clone that dinosaur for any purpose. It’s doubtful that this proposed nature preserve has the full security to ensure that no one can get their hands on any of the dinosaurs’ DNA.

Also, some of the dinosaurs have the potential for very long lifespans. Will the DPG and its supporters maintain their gusto for dinosaur rights in ten years? Twenty? The costs of keeping so many different dinosaurs on a preserve, especially one run by a not-for-profit organization, will surely run high. It would be incredibly easy for the place to be turned into a zoo or other attraction just to keep up the cost of maintenance, or simply if the DPG or its benefactors decide to stop sitting on a tourism gold mine. The dinosaurs wouldn’t necessarily be exploited in that scenario, but they would essentially be in a Jurassic World 2.0. Whether Jurassic World itself was exploitative of its dinosaurs is a question for another time, but locking them up in another dino-zoo is at least questionable. Once the DPG has secured their dinosaurs (which is presumptuous in the first place, considering the history of dinosaur escapes in Jurassic Park and World) they may not decide to keep them hidden away forever. It should also be noted that the organization hasn’t made their stance clear on whether the dinosaurs would be allowed to breed or whether they would clone more. As I stated earlier, I think these dinosaurs have the right to exist but not to reproduce, and production of more dinosaurs could lead to problems like environmental disruption, which Extinction Now uses as a main selling point.

As for Extinction Now, their fearmongering that rescuing Nublar’s dinosaurs could somehow lead to humanity’s extinction is completely misguided. (Keep in mind that I’m talking on a global scale. EN’s assertion that the San Diego Incident could “happen again” in the event of a large dinosaur breakout is not entirely unfounded.) The only way that carnivorous dinosaurs could replace humans at the top of the food chain would be if their populations were able to grow exponentially from the tiny numbers they have now, and if those populations became fitter for their environments than humans are. As I stated, dinosaurs evolved in a completely different era than the one they live in now, and even if there were several breeding populations of each carnivore species in several different places, they would still have a long way to go in order to be fully adapted to today’s world, let alone replace mankind. The fact that their genes were tampered with in the cloning process would only make it harder for them to remain fit in the face of today’s evolutionary pressures. In other words, it’s ridiculous to think that our species will be extinguished and a new age of dinosaurs will begin if Nublar’s dinosaurs are brought to the mainland.

However, the idea of environmental disruption caused by the introduction of dinosaur populations could prove to be an issue. Herbivorous dinosaurs like Triceratops consume a lot of plant matter, and if herds of herbivores were ever introduced into our ecosystems (through an escape or by the DPG’s own hand) it could have a huge impact on the animal populations living there. The DPG says that dinosaurs can adjust to new habitats with minimum disruption, but having a bunch of huge, heavily-armored eating machines move into a rainforest could cause some serious issues. There’s a point where we should evaluate whether conserving dinosaurs is more important than conserving existing species. Extinction Now is correct in saying that dinosaur conservation might end up harming existing species—as long as the dinosaurs are on the mainland, there will always be the possibility that they’ll break out and lead to environmental disruption—but that species would certainly not be us.

So if the DPG and Extinction Now both have flawed plans as to what to do with the dinosaurs, then what should be done? The answer isn’t clear-cut. I believe that the most ethical solution would be to transport all of the dinosaurs from Nublar to a more secure island, possibly Isla Sorna, another island in the Los Cinco Muertes chain, or somewhere that human intervention could be limited. Maybe only paleo-veterinarians that would help maintain the dinosaurs’ quality of life would be allowed in. Even that plan isn’t perfect, though—as with Isla Sorna, poaching and trespassing would be a threat to the animals’ safety. But at least it would limit the possibility of people with inhumane intentions from getting to the dinosaurs, and it would be a lot tougher to make the place open to the public in the future.

I want to believe that the Dinosaur Protection Group’s idea of a peaceful existence for Jurassic World’s dinosaurs can perfectly come true. I think that the dinosaurs should definitely be rescued and brought to a safe place. I just have a hard time believing that there are no flaws in the organization’s plan and that everyone involved will have perfect intentions forever. Things could go very wrong if they manage to bring dinosaurs to the mainland. At the same time, I don’t follow Extinction Now’s idea that dinosaur conservation would be purely catastrophic. Instead of the solution being framed in black and white terms, I propose that all those concerned for dinosaur rights should work together to find a way to preserve all of these animals without allowing them to be further exploited or to harm the environment around them. Somehow, we can make a way for man and dinosaur to coexist.

While you’re waiting for the movie to come out worldwide, make your thoughts known on Twitter– tag the DPG and Extinction Now and let them know where you stand! Both accounts frequently respond to fans!

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Jurassic Park’s 25th Anniversary

25 years ago today, our favorite movie first appeared in theaters! Fans have been putting together tributes all day, so here are my contributions to the celebration. Photography, as part of my ongoing Jurassic June project:

And a short fanfiction about the time that’s gone by. Here it is:

The sun is beginning to go down. Once, this would have meant that the people would be leaving soon, and that she would finally be allowed some peace and quiet. She’s free to walk around for as long as she wants now, but old habits are hard to break.

Since the sun began to dip lower today, she’s felt that restless buzzing in the back of her mind that tells her it will begin to rain soon. She glances upwards and sees dark clouds beginning to gather. Tonight she’ll need to stay somewhere safe and covered. The canopy of trees don’t provide enough shelter, and she despises waking up on the soggy ground. There are a few structures with enough cover, but most of them aren’t tall enough for her, and the others are the crumbling remains of prisons. The ones on the lower end of the island still have their fences up, still sparking with occasional bursts of electricity and topped with wire that slices like teeth. Those won’t do, and she is far above places like that now anyway.

Though she knows the layout of her home by heart, she finds it easiest to follow the path of the track that once carried vehicles—like armored dinosaurs, almost, but much more effort to take down—through the park to gawk at her. As she passes the embankment that she was once contained to, she notes that almost none of the metal from the former fence structure is visible anymore. The platform which used to deliver her only source of food has been entirely reclaimed by plant life. After she was freed the first time, she tried to destroy her cage in a fit of wrath, but the place barely interests her anymore. That captivity is becoming more of a distant memory day by day, year by year.

If it weren’t for the track, it would seem like this place has never been anything but a jungle, save for a few remaining details. Atop an old, moss-covered red and black sign, a group of compies is gnawing at the half-eaten body of a hypsilophodon; the little green creatures instantly scatter when they see her coming, but she has no interest in their meager prey. Her mind flickers back to the initial scope of the island she did when she first got the chance to demarcate her territory, trying to remember which dinosaur was once kept in this area, but the effort proves futile just as quickly. The old occupant is more than likely gone, lost to time and buried under layers of moss and earth, in the process of returning to the island that nurtured it.

Finally she reaches the stagnant pond in front of the giant grey building, its ceiling falling in and its sides draped in ivy, and knows she’s reached the place. There’s a front door with a stone arch above it, a carving of her skeleton adorning the top, one of the humans’ only mockeries that has refused to succumb to nature through all this time. That entrance is too small, so she heads around to the larger hole on the other side. Sniffing around as she goes, she ascertains that no one has been here in a fair amount of time, and no one will bother her as she rests. At the back of the building, she ducks her head through the gap in the walls and enters the darker, cooler area that has become almost a miniature jungle within a jungle.

The deep orange rays of the sunset shine in through the high windows, and she can still see the ruins that litter the floor. She comes here only occasionally, and each time she sees the progression of its decay. Bones still litter the floor, both the remains of her enemies and the ones that the humans once displayed with such hubris, but they’re just more debris to step over now. The smell of death dissipated from them a long time ago. The stairs remain, and she remembers that they provide excellent shade; grunting with the effort of twisting into a comfortable position, a reminder that her body isn’t as lithe as it used to be, she lowers herself onto her side and rests her head on a patch of ferns. She sighs, stretches her tail out, adjusts a little. The smell of the place brings a trace of a distant memory.

Though far away now, the first time she came to this building, it was the day of her greatest conquest; after having just been freed, she asserted her place on the island by taking out parts of herbivore herds, a hunt that had culminated here. The scars on her snout have long since ceased to hurt, and sometimes she even forgets they’re there. But here, in the place of their origin, they feel once again like trophies. As cunning as those little raptors were, in the end they were no match for her ruthless final attack. That was also how she secured her place as the top predator, the most feared and respected. Even her recent defeat of the unusual white creature didn’t make her soar the way that day did. It just doesn’t carry the same glory.

Time passes while she’s lost in thought, and soon the light is low, another day well-lived. As it grows dark, the jungle sounds from outside become a lull, and the peace that she came here for descends upon her. Her mind doesn’t carry much of a capacity for measuring time, but in the twilight moments as her eyelids get lower and lower, it occurs to her just how long has passed. The building is in ruins, her face is gaunt and grey, and generations of dinosaurs have come and gone. The weight of the years descends comfortingly on her. She has been on this island for as long as she can remember, and once either she or it is gone, it will have been permanently altered by her presence. She carries the weight of so many years on her shoulders, and it has been longer than she can comprehend. Now, finally, it is time for her to rest.

Happy 25th birthday, Jurassic Park! I hope all my readers are enjoying the celebration as much as I am.

Fallen Kingdom First Reactions (No Spoilers)

Fallen Kingdom came out just a few hours ago in the United Kingdom, so lucky JP fans there have gotten to experience the movie a full two weeks ahead of the rest of us. Here are some of the spoiler-free immediate reactions to the film.

Critic reactions seem to vastly differ from JP fan reactions, which frankly doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s currently at 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, with some of the top reviews asking totally original questions like Robbie Collin’s “Exactly why would anyone visit a dinosaur-infested island for a fifth time, when all four previous excursions had ended in limb-gobbling pandemonium?” Truly we know we can value the insightful opinion of someone so well-educated in JP matters and who obviously paid such attention to the plot of the movie. Some reviews also give tantalizing hints, like Johnny Oleksinski’s “In making even the most vicious creatures more than just hungry, hungry dinos, the aging franchise has rediscovered its inner child” which I believe supports my Indoraptor-as-sympathetic-character theory. Metacritic is even less kind, giving the movie a 54%. A lot of the reviews on that site are the same as the ones posted on Rotten Tomatoes, so there’s not much to say about it, but one part of one review jumped out at me” Erik Kohn saying that “Wheatley refers to one of our heroes as a “nasty woman””. Oh… oh dear.

However, JP fans have generally never let bad reviews of the sequels ruin our enjoyment, and we’ve even started calling publications out on their BS when they trash the series for weak reasons, most notably in the case of Screenrant’s notorious JP articles. (Apparently they’re eating their words, though, because their site gives the movie a 4 out of 5.) So let’s see what our fellow fans have to say!

So, as you can see, fan reactions range from mostly positive to overwhelmingly positive. It seems like this one was made for fans first and foremost, or at least it happens to have a lot in it that most people think is cheesy but JP fans will love. After all the rave reviews, I’m very excited to see it for myself! Oh, and for those in the UK, we kindly request that you not share any spoilers.

Jurassic World Alive, Day 1

Today was the worldwide release of Ludia’s Pokemon Go-like augmented reality game, Jurassic World Alive! Canadian JP fans have been able to play the game for months, but there was a lot about the game that I didn’t know and that I got to experience for the first time today.

My game began with Claire personally congratulating me on joining the DPG and helping them with their conservation efforts.

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This message of conservation immediately became ironic when I realized that the game requires you to capture dinosaurs by literally putting out drone strikes on them, infrared heat signatures and all.

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Granted, you’re not killing the dinosaurs– you just drop darts on them (while they try to run away from you) to capture their DNA, which you then use to create those same dinosaurs in your lab. It’s the same principle as the arcade shooting game that came out along with the first JW– you’re not really shooting the dinos, you’re just firing tranquilizer darts at them!

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Presumably you’re also cloning these dinosaurs in your lab for conservation purposes, which of course has nothing to do with the movies’ ethical questions about dinosaur cloning in labs. Most of the dinosaurs I saw today required 50 DNA to create, and the amount of DNA you collect from them depends on how well your drone attack aim in the DNA collection process goes. You get about 10 seconds to shoot at each dino, and targets appear on different parts of its body as you shoot; the closer to the center of the target, the more DNA. A perfect hit gets you 12 DNA, so if you’re an amazing shot, you could theoretically get a dinosaur in one turn with 5 or 6 darts. It usually took me two or three turns per dino, though. Also, these counts are by species and not individual animal, so if you get 20 DNA on a raptor, your next raptor will already have 20 DNA towards it. This especially helps with rare dinos, which we’ll get to in a moment.

There’s a really amazing variety of dinosaurs to capture. Here are most of the ones I saw on my outing today.

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I really and truly love that they included so many prehistoric reptiles, synapsids, etc. These animals also have some really gorgeous designs that I would buy a toy of in an instant.

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I didn’t say I wouldn’t feel uneasy with some of them staring at me from my shelf, though.

It’s fantastic that these creatures are getting exposure in the public eye and a place in the JP canon. It’d be cool to see them as inhabitants of the fan-speculated non-dinosaur JP parks, even in fan works. (An aquatic Paleozoic park, a jungle-filled Mesozoic park, and a wintry Cenozoic park side by side. Make it happen.) On the other hand, now we’ll never be able to convince people that animals like Nundasuchus aren’t dinosaurs.

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Euplocephalus is to JWA as Pidgey is to Pokemon Go: as common as dirt. Stegosaurs are also incredibly common, but they don’t appear to move in herds as much as Euplocephalus does. You’d think that dinosaurs that appear more often in the JP movies would be the ones that showed up the most, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least not so far in my area. I saw maybe two trikes the whole time I was out, and in contrast, this is just one small part of my town:

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As you can see, I only caught wind of two rare dinosaurs today, and they require a lot more DNA to capture than the common ones. I saw no indication of Rexy anywhere I went, so I’m not sure about her rarity level yet, although I’m sure it’s fairly high.

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I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the game has several feathered theropods in it (not Velociraptor, only ones that have never been in the JP canon before). Some of them are more sparsely feathered than others, but it’s a notable inclusion, especially alongside this feathery therizinosaur toy that was recently leaked:

I even got to fight one of them, which brings me to the battle segment of the game. You get to use dinosaurs in battles that you haven’t captured yourself, or at least you do at first. As you gain rank and evolve your dinosaurs (using coins) you’ll be able to assemble your own elite dinosaur fight club.

 

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Each dinosaur has special moves, which obviously get better depending on the dinosaur’s health and ranking. I am certifiably terrible at video games, and I found it pretty easy to learn how to do battles, especially with the recharging system that keeps you from doing certain attacks more than once every few turns, and therefore leaves you pretty often with only one attack option. I’ll admit that I’m much more interested in collecting dino babies than I am in making them hurt each other, so I probably won’t participate in this part of the game very much. The game allows you to do dino battles with other players in your area, but since my town isn’t exactly full to the brim with JP fans, I just fought the AI today.

And speaking of location: I live in a college town and therefore an area with a lot of Pokemon Go activity, so there were plenty of dinos around for me to catch, and plenty of supply drops, which allow you to replenish your darts and coins. I took a drive out into the neighboring town and the concentration of both decreased, but there was still a decent amount. However, my boyfriend who lives near a major US city played today and said there were barely any dinosaurs in his area. I found that pretty weird, but it’s still day one after all, so there’ll probably be more game activity in densely-populated areas as more people join. The prevalence of activity in my small college town makes me think that data from Pokemon Go influenced the amount of dinosaurs and stops in certain areas, which would definitely make sense as well. I’ll be going out of town a few times in the next few months, so I’ll eventually see what the situation is like in different areas.

At the end of the day, this was my team of completed dinos:

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I had a pretty great game experience. Again, this is probably skewed by where I live, but there were a lot of places in the game to stop, all of which were close enough that I didn’t have to do a ton of walking, but far apart enough to get me moving. It’s very easy to learn and beginner-friendly, and you can spend exactly as much time playing as you want, without feeling obligated to check on the app when you’re not going out anywhere.

That was my game experience. My overall experience doesn’t reflect on the actual app, but Ludia chose a very rainy day to release it. I spent about half an hour in a building in the rain with a dinosaur, which sounds familiar somehow:

And on the subject of my experiences, this weekend was an anime convention called Momocon. Although Jurassic Park can only technically be considered an anime, it was still well-represented.

 

 

Ouch, My Heart

First things first: a new Fallen Kingdom TV spot just came out, and it has A VERY SPOILERY SCENE IN IT WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT WATCH IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED BY EVEN ONE MAJOR MOMENT IN FALLEN KINGDOM. People have been saying for a while that JWFK’s three trailers have revealed basically every part of the movie, and if Universal heard those complaints, they interpreted them in the totally wrong direction. You have been warned:

Yeah, that’s Rexy in a zoo next to a lion, all right. That’s a gorgeous shot contrasting two different types of apex predators, showing the entirely new paradigm created by dinosaurs living on the mainland. It’s also the kind of thing we’ve been expecting to see from this new trilogy for a while– when it was first announced that Fallen Kingdom would involve dinosaurs living on the mainland, I thought the movie would begin with a group of schoolchildren seeing herbivorous dinosaurs at the zoo. Yep, it’s poetic and beautiful, and it sure would’ve been nice to see it for the first time in the movie theater.

This is shown after the previously-seen shots of Rexy being transported to the mainland by the Bad Guys (TM), so we’re probably meant to assume that this happens before the whole Indoraptor incident, and maybe as a precursor to this scene:

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However, with the bright lighting that contrasts the moody color choices of the second half of the movie, and with the majestic feeling it evokes, my guess is that this shot is at the very end of the movie. For whoever’s in charge of Rexy’s fate, putting her in a zoo where she’ll be taken care of is a profitable and somewhat safe, although incredibly undignified, retirement for her; maybe the DPG fights for the dinosaurs to be put in peaceful, controlled environments after they escape the fate of being sold off. Jurassic World ended with a shot of Rexy roaring off a cliff, so this would be a good cinematic parallel to end its sequel with. It would end the movie by setting the stage for the next film to be entirely about dinosaurs being integrated into modern society. With the broken fence behind Rexy and her classic roar, this could be a tribute to the classic sequence in the first JP movie, and therefore the final heartrending tribute to the original series before everything goes totally off the rails in JW3. Yes, I think this would be an excellent and touching (cinematically, I mean; I know I can speak for all of us when I say we do not want our queen put in the zoo) way to end Fallen Kingdom. Sure would’ve been nice to experience it for the first time when we actually see the movie. Yep, suuuuuuure would’ve been nice.

Speaking of TV spots, here, watch your favorite raptor get totally slammed by Shark-Jump-Osaurus:

Blue will make it out of this alive, right? Right? Right???!

While we’re getting depressed, I should mention that rumors abound that the Jurassic Park ride in Hollywood may be closed for refurbishment later this year. Even if you’re not like me and you don’t have a serious attachment to the way the ride is now, its closure will be sad for any JP fans visiting during that time, and the growing theme park industry trend of replacing animatronics with screens and projections doesn’t bode well for any ride that’s undergoing a major renovation. Of course, Universal parks are also known for top-notch quality in the rides they invest a lot of time and money into, so we’ll have to wait and see. They had just better not replace the giant T. rex animatronic at the end of the ride. She deserves to keep terrifying children for as long as her parts can hold together.

Finally, it’s been confirmed that Jurassic World 3 will have no hybrid dinosaurs in it. Continuing with some ideas that I’ve written about on this blog before, I wrote a thread about why I think that is:

Fallen Kingdom’s Final Trailer

The third and last full trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has arrived, and it’s absolutely stunning! In case you weren’t aware, there are many spoilers ahead, so go forward at your own risk if you want to go into the movie theater mostly blind about the plot.

It begins with an extended cut of the Rexy scene, which definitely takes place after they’ve gotten her off of the island– Owen says “she’s tranqued”. She moves her head in slumber and almost takes Owen out in the process, but not quite.

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“It’s cool! I’ve seen people on the internet who’d love for this to happen to them!”

Then, as we’ve seen before, she gets pissed and tries to take a bite of him. Touché, Rexy, everyone expects that. You gotta take a swipe at people with your tail once in a while or something to mix things up.

Then, when Evil Corporate Villain #1 talks to Claire before she goes to the island, he specifically tells her to rescue Blue because “she’s the last of her kind”. Along with Claire’s cry of “It was all a lie!” later on, this gives us two important pieces of information about the DPG rescue operation: it’s funded or assisted at least in part by the Evil Company that ends up making the Indoraptor, and said company needs the team to rescue Blue because it needs her DNA to finalize the design of the Indoraptor. Or for something else involving the Indoraptor, at least.

As far as I can see, this throws a wrench into the timeline of the movie, because if the Indoraptor’s genetic sequence isn’t even complete at the time when the DPG goes to Nublar, then it’ll probably take a good while for Evil Company Incorporated to hatch and grow the animal. Even with the accelerated growth technology that InGen used in Jurassic World, it’ll probably take a good few months. And since Claire and Owen seem shocked to see the Indoraptor at its big reveal (more on that later), the DPG will have had much more time to raise public awareness that shadowy corporations are in fact planning to use dinosaur cloning technology for nefarious purposes. Thus there’ll be more public awareness generated, and when news gets out of the Indoraptor incident, there’ll be more public impact and more likelihood that legislation protecting dinosaurs will be put out as a result. It also gives Claire and Owen more time to work together and bond, which is good news for Clawen fans.

Speaking of Blue, the connection between him and JP3 Alan Grant is further established, with Mr. Suit #1 (should we even learn his name? We all know he’s not long for this world) suggesting that Claire should bring him along because of his dinosaur expertise, voiced over the first trailer’s shot of him sitting in an airplane above the island and looking pensive. As if he’s got anything to be grumpy about, getting a firsthand look at the kind of theme park ruins that I would kill to see:

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We get a longer look at his confrontation with Blue, where he tries to calm her down by using the clicker and does the familiar arms-out pose from the first JW’s classic shot. Hey, if they’re so determined on including memes from the first movie, at least they’re doing that instead of mentioning Claire’s heels. Then we see how Blue ends up getting injured: she starts shit with a mercenary and then proceeds to get hit.

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Teenage rebellion can be hard on everyone.

Claire only realizes that it was all a lie until all the dinos have been captured and loaded onto a ship called the Arcadia, and then there’s a shot of the Rexy scene, so that part doesn’t take place in a DPG-controlled warehouse as I had thought– it happens on or near a boat headed to the mainland, so Claire and Owen are probably making a last-ditch attempt to get Rexy and the other dinosaurs out of there. Well, that’ll certainly happen in one way or another. Actually, I think I have a pretty good idea of what it’ll look like if this T. rex gets out of containment on a boat headed for the mainland…

We get a look at what’s probably Henry Wu’s new lab:

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It’s not a huge surprise that Wu took the embryos from Jurassic World and immediately set himself up with the richest and most unethical corporation that he could find. Since according to the DPG website he was investigated for unethical practices after the JW incident, he must’ve gotten off pretty easily, or this corporation just doesn’t care who’s creating their animals as long as they can make a buck. Looks like he didn’t need Hammond to protect him after all. We also see him in front of this device, which I’m guessing is the chamber that he creates the Indoraptor in:

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And speaking of the Indoraptor: oh, wow. Oh, wow. This is where the cinematography starts getting really good. I’m still iffy on the plot of the movie, but there is no doubt in my mind that whatever happens, it’s going to be absolutely beautiful. Look at this:

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Her escape isn’t shown in this trailer, but judging from shots we’ve seen in previous trailers and in the behind-the-scenes featurette from alongside the first one–

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–there’s about as much running and screaming as you’d expect.

Owen gets Blue to trust him again (hopefully not for the last time) and the two of them end up in some kind of dinosaur containment room. I mention this specifically because it hilariously parallels the earlier scene with Rexy roaring over the fallen carnotaur:

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If it wasn’t clear before, we now definitely know that the ultimate dinosaur rampage/stampede sequence will take place in and near the Lockwood mansion. The guy getting picked up by the pterodactyl definitely happens near it, and probably so does this shot of Rexy roaring at someone who’s dressed in a way that’s specifically reminiscent of another embryo thief that we know and love:

Scattered in between those two parts of the trailer are, in my opinion, the two best parts. First, this gorgeous bit:

And my long-awaited underwater mosasaur scene. I still don’t know why the DPG would bother going down there to look for the Indominus’ remains, but oh am I glad they do.

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Looks like we were right about Indy’s teeth growing directly from her skull. Oof.

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With this and the shot of her in the wave, the queen of the ocean singlehandedly steals the show with the two best shots in the whole thing. I’m just… I’m just so proud of her, is all. I’m crying because I’m happy, I promise.

The rest of the trailer is filled with shots that we’ve already seen, interspersed with new footage of the Indoraptor chasing the gang around the Lockwood mansion. This shot in particular is very clever; the Indoraptor is putting humans into a cage instead of the other way around.

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This trailer, despite its heavy subject matter, is definitely trying to lighten the mood at least a little. Owen jokes around with Claire and there’s irony, like in the shot above, to make us grin. It can’t all be a dark, gritty horror movie, after all.

The trailer ends with an extended scene of Indoraptor breaking into Maisie’s room, which might be interpreted to supplement my idea of the Indoraptor ultimately being a curious creature that only ended up being vicious because of the environment it was raised in.

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The way it opens her window, peers into her room and quietly puts its head over her bed seems much more delicate and almost human-like. In my eyes, this doesn’t look like predator behavior– it looks like a genuinely confused animal that’s seeing for the first time a human that doesn’t want to hurt it or force it to fight. Even when Owen shoots at it in an earlier shot, it just raises back up and looks at him, instead of charging him like it definitely could if it wanted to. I said in my last post that I’d be happy if the movie ended with the revelation that Indoraptor was only so malicious because of its genetic tampering and the way it was raised, and unless I’m completely interpreting this wrong, I think this sequence of it being delicate with Maisie will be foreshadowing that the true evil here came from humans.

Aside from the trailer, we also have a couple of new posters!

Reaction to these posters has been mostly negative, but they surely won’t be the only ones we’ll get until June. Also, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, we’ve gotten some stills from the movie and shots of the cast having a grand old time with the Indoraptor:

What do you think about the trailer and the posters? Let me know in the comments and/or on Twitter!

Update: a Chinese trailer containing some extra dialogue and shots has been released, and it confirms that Blue’s DNA is used to create the Indoraptor, which is personally designed by Wu:

Also, an Entertainment Weekly article reveals that the DPG is trying to bring the dinosaurs to “a sanctuary that Lockwood has created in America”, only to find that ” the dinosaurs are actually being sold, not saved”, presumably all to corporations, like the Indoraptor.

Update: A new TV spot shows that Claire and Franklin escape the Baryonyx’s innaccurately-short jaws by climbing up and out of a manhole, showing that the scene does indeed take place underground and presumably in an underground station leading out of the Cretaceous Cruise river:

Trailer #3 Teaser

Today on Twitter, Jurassic World dropped a 15-second teaser for the third trailer!

We’ve gotten a full-body look at the Indoraptor as well as an extended idea of what the scene on the rooftop of the Lockwood mansion will look like– the one where Maisie ends up hanging off the edge of the roof.

As Claire trains her gun on it Sarah Harding-style, it turns to the camera and gives a gargly roar. This could just be an attempt to make its roar more distinctive, but it could possibly also be an indication that the animal is such a shambling genetic mutant that it struggles to even roar properly. I’ve honestly never thought about this perspective before, but it would be very interesting if it ends up that the Indoraptor is in pain just being alive because of all its genetic tampering, and the main characters find out that it’s only lashing out because it’s suffering and doesn’t know any better than to follow its basic killing instincts (sort of like the Indominus, which was raised in captivity with no human contact) thus inspiring them and more people to have compassion for the remaining dinosaurs and stop trying to use them for commercial purposes. Material from the JWFK game explicitly states that the Indoraptor is “always hungry and hunting for prey” which could supplement the idea that it has something wrong with it– no animal is ALWAYS hunting for prey unless it’s really pissed about something.

Obviously corporations won’t just stop their dino-cloning just like that, but the Indoraptor’s story could be used to turn the general public’s opinion toward the idea of not creating new and terrifying dinosaurs to be used for business and in the military. (It could also be a reason for Owen to become a dinosaur advocate and join the DPG at the end of the movie, since he’s seen the pain of dinosaurs firsthand and because of the whole Blue story arc.) JP movies have ended on a note of sympathy for the dinosaurs before (The Lost World emphasized that the rex only went on its rampage because it’d been drugged and separated from its baby) so it wouldn’t be too much of a reach for this new movie to go in that direction more explicitly, especially since it’s coming from a director who wants to introduce new concepts to the franchise.

Anyway, enough about the touchy-feely stuff. MOSASAUR! HELL YEAH!

I knew we would get to see her in the movie, but I had no idea it would be this glorious. It definitely makes sense that she’d be able to swim all the way out to the coast of Costa Rica, especially if she ended up breaking out of her enclosure after all. Speaking of which:

Search me as to why the DPG team would bother going down to find Indy’s remains while there are a ton of living dinosaurs to rescue, but they will, and they’ll meet the queen of the deep once again. And she looks as gorgeous as ever:

As the youths say, I am shook. The full trailer is set to release this Wednesday, so tune in then!

More Returning Cast in Fallen Kingdom

Everyone, rightfully, is super excited for Jeff Goldblum to reprise his role as Ian Malcolm in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Jeff himself has even dropped some hints that Ellie Sattler might get involved too. Laura Dern hasn’t been confirmed to be returning yet, but a lot of other actors from past JP movies have followed Goldblum’s lead and signed on to the Jurassic World sequel!

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Pete Postlethwaite, who we all remember as Roland Tembo from The Lost World, was the first to sign on to the sequel! In a recent interview, he said of his return, “I’m honored to be playing Roland again, and I feel the role is a lot more relevant now that they’re tracking down dinosaurs on an island again […] I suppose I decided I hadn’t actually spent enough time in the company of death.” Roland will certainly be a lot older than the last time we saw him, but his hunter’s senses will surely be as sharp as ever!

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Rounding out the cast to include actors from all three movies in the original trilogy, Tea Leoni recently announced that she’ll be returning for a brief cameo as Amanda Kirby! “I can’t spoil the surprise of how and when I’ll appear,” she said, “but when I was offered the opportunity to be in the next Jurassic Park, I knew I had an obligation to the fan community that supports me so much. I know that Amanda has been somewhat of a favorite among Jurassic fans, and I’m thrilled for the chance to bring them some joy again.” As a survivor of the harrowing Isla Sorna Incident, it definitely makes sense that Mrs. Kirby would want to be involved in any legal action involving dinosaurs. Maybe she’ll testify alongside Malcolm?

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In addition to main characters from the original trilogy, we’ll also be seeing the return of Matty Cardarople as the Gyrosphere operator. “You’re getting to see the real fallout of what happened after Jurassic World. I lost my job,” Matty remarked in an interview. “I’m working at a pizza place now. You get to see how this disaster hurt the little people.” That honestly wasn’t my biggest concern while I was watching the fight on Nublar go down in the last movie, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to add an extra touch of humanity to the movie.

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This news is considerably more vague, but Universal has dropped hints that all four of the Japanese men from the San Diego scene in The Lost World will return for a brief part of Fallen Kingdom.

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If I had to guess, I would say that these four are probably there to take a shot at buying the Indoraptor. Geez, these guys never learn their lesson, do they? I thought they left Japan to get away from this?

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We also have confirmation that another minor yet popular character from the original movies, Udesky, will be joining the JWFK cast! It remains a mystery how he survived having his neck snapped by a raptor, but actor Michael Jeter dropped a hint for us. “Well, if he’s dead, he’s not getting paid anymore,” Jeter laughed. “The money was a pretty good motivator to get out of there.” I’m honestly a lot more interested in how he made it off Isla Sorna than I am in what he’ll do on Nublar or the mainland. If he works for the DPG, they’re certainly lucky to have such a good hunter on their side.

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Another JP3 star, Taylor Nichols as Mark Degler, has also been confirmed to be a part of the cast! Since he’s Ellie’s husband, you’d think this would mean that Ellie will also be appearing in the film for sure, but Nichols says he can’t confirm or deny that. “I’d hate to ruin the surprise by telling everyone what I’m doing here and whether it’s with Ellie,” he confessed recently. “But I can most certainly tell you this: I’m here to do exactly what I’ve done as long as I’ve been in these movies. I’m here to just ruin everything.”

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This one is most certainly intriguing: a character will be returning who never had an actor to play him in the first place. John Hammond’s chef and the personal cook of the Jurassic Park resort, Alejandro, has been confirmed to appear in Fallen Kingdom:

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No details on the character’s role or the actor who will play him are forthcoming. When they are, I’ll be sure to report on this bold and interesting casting choice.

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In another interesting move, the puppet guy whose hand can be seen steadying a raptor in the first JP has confirmed his appearance in the next movie as well! “I just feel like, since the beginning of the franchise, my job has been with these dinosaurs, making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to to,” explained puppeteer John Rosengrant. “By stabilizing the raptors just like I did back then, we’re calling back to the roots of the story and we’re making sure the animatronics stay in place at the same time.” Hooray for more of Mr. Rosengrant!

Finally, one more important character from previous Jurassic movies will be making a reappearance. It’s everyone’s favorite creature from the first Jurassic World– the one and only shark:

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“With this whole new Indoraptor thing, the producers called me in,” said the shark, “so the new movie could jump me.”

If I got you even just at first, you’ve been April Fooled! Have a happy Easter!

Rexy Eats Costa Rica

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for JP fans, and I’ve been away/busy for both of them. The rundown, in no particular order of importance, is: Dr. Pepper, McDonald’s and Skittles are all having JW promotions; we’ve gotten a glimpse at the Classic JP toy line from Mattel; Saturday Night Live did a hilarious JP sketch; Lego showed off more JP sets, including one from the first movie; Jeff Goldblum will narrate the new Jurassic World Evolution game; and a Pokemon Go-style game called Jurassic World Alive has been released basically everywhere but the USA (I’ll write about my experience with it once they finally see fit to give it to me). I’ve been too swamped with midterms to write about those at length, so there you go. I took an exciting spring break trip and I’ve been looking forward to sharing these pictures with you. 

Life’s been rough on our favorite dinosaur Rexy lately. Just 3 years of being left alone on her home island, and now she’s being shoved into trucks, having Nublar covered in lava, and God knows what else. The old lady needed a break, and she needed to find a place to live on the mainland of Costa Rica since her old home wasn’t an option anymore. I figured the least I could do was to take her on a trip with me to two of the prettiest parts of the country closest to Nublar.

The first place we stayed at was Arenal National Park, right across from an active volcano, which was visibly steaming during all the days we were there.

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Rexy was understandably not pleased with this, but she did take a moment to do her signature “beat it, losers, my island now” roar.

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We scoped out the jungle for a while, and while she was satisfied with the Jurassic-looking landscape–

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— there was a shortage of “extra fat snacks”, as she likes to call herbivores. There was no small amount of wildlife there, but since that wildlife consisted mostly of cute fuzzy things that were willing to eat fruit out of my hand–

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–I couldn’t in good conscience let her prey on them.

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Her favorite part of the jungle was this mini-spa of a cool jungle river. It was located at the bottom of the absolute steepest trail on earth, so most of the time she would be supplied with exhausted tourists suitable for lunch.

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We went for a horseback ride, the experience of which was a bit tainted by her constant salivating and insistence on calling the horses “fast food” whenever they started running. Grumpy that I wouldn’t let her eat any of the animals we’d met so far, she let me take her somewhere different: Manuel Antonio, the site of the best beach I’ve ever been to.

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This was actually one of two beaches that we visited. This one was in the middle of Manuel Antonio National Park, and to Rexy’s delight, it featured a large population of local animals. Sloths:

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Bats:

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Lizards:

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And monkeys. Lots and lots and lots of white-faced monkeys.

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Rexy, surprisingly, showed little interest in eating the latter. Maybe it was because she bonded with them over eating things that they weren’t supposed to. When she wasn’t posing for photos, she was helping them steal sandwiches and peanut butter that visitors weren’t supposed to have brought in.

The second beach we went to, though much less calm, was just as picturesque. Shh– I told her I would post all these on Jurasstagram and not just my blog.

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After we finished swimming and she stopped laughing at me for having weak non-scaly skin that required sunscreen, we went for another horseback ride, this time to a waterfall.

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The last part of the trip, and Rexy’s favorite, was the ride we took on a catamaran called Ocean King. While I went snorkeling, she took the time to really treat herself, catching some rays:

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And working up an appetite by watching the sea life:

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The best view of the trip was watching the scenery of the ocean and the coast as the sun set. 20180307_182136

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She noticed that there was a huge amount of small to mid-sized islands right there off the beautiful coast.

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Rexy decided then that, given the choice, she’d like to stay here once Isla Nublar is gone. It’s sad to say that Fallen Kingdom is the last time we’ll ever see Nublar, but there’s no end to the possibilities for Rexy’s life and the Jurassic Park movies. As the queen got to see for herself, there’s more than one island off the coast of Costa Rica.

Breaking News: I Still Love Jurassic Park

Aside from following all the new Fallen Kingdom news that we’ve been graced with, I’ve been up to a lot of Jurassic Park-related stuff lately. First, I made a video for the Jurassic Park 25 contest, talking about all the ways JP has changed my life for the better. I seriously doubt I’ll win anything, but I tried my best. Here’s my entry:

Second, I got the best Valentine’s Day present ever from the best boyfriend ever: 6 animation cels that were used in the Mr. DNA sequence in the first movie! (They came from a display at Universal Studios, so at least it’s more than likely that they were.) My pictures don’t do them justice, and I need to find a good place to display them:

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I like to think that a part of Mr. DNA’s soul is now inside a picture frame with me for eternity.

Finally, I got to go to a fossil fair yesterday! It was at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Charlotte, North Carolina. There was a room full of fossil vendors, from which I bought a small piece of T. rex bone:

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There was also a traveling exhibit full of highly inaccurate dinosaurs. I was accompanied to this by my Demon Carnotaur, who I have recently discovered talks like a bad movie villain.

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“Ahhh yes, the long-necked one, and a small one too. Tender meat. Delicious.”
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“It looks… confused. This will make it all the sweeter. Show me more of your fear, child.”
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“It is the large one with the small brain. Delightful! But how I detest the plates catching between my teeth.”
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“The size of this one confuses me, but I will vanquish it nonetheless. Its horns will bow to me.”
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“Curses! This one has no meat on its bones! This sleight will be avenged tenfold!”

The exhibit also featured such horrors as a quadrupedal spinosaur that was nowhere near water:

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The most emaciated monolophosaur I’ve ever seen:

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And a raptor that for some reason, looks very familiar:

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The rest of the museum had some cool stuff too. As you can see, I dressed appropriately:

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All in all, it was a really fun day, and you should drop by the Schiele Museum if you’re ever in the Charlotte area!