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Jurassic Park’s Stars Would Be Very Different Animals If the Film Were Made Today

In the past 20 years our knowledge about dinosaurs has grown, meaning that some dinosaur-related points depicted in the film are either outdated or entirely wrong

smithsonian.com

Photo: Ba’Gamnon

A lot has changed since Jurassic Park came out in theaters 20 years ago–and that extends beyond 3-D imagery and high quality digital resolution. Our knowledge about dinosaurs has grown, meaning that some dinosaurs and dinosaur-related points depicted in the film are either outdated or entirely wrong. Here are a few of the more glaring mistakes, as reported by LiveScience:

No feathers.

Researchers discovered that velociraptors had feathers back in 2007, and last year scientists found a T. rex relative that also sported plumage, hinting that the king of the dinosaurs likely also sported feathery fluff. Other dinosaur fossils have turned up with feathery remnants, too. As the Guardian points out, feathers don’t preserve well in fossils, so “in the absence of feathers, it’s hard to reject the possibility that they might have been there.”

Boring color.

The drab grey and browns of Jurassic Park may have erred less on the side of earth tones and more on the colorful rainbow spectrum seen in modern reptiles and lizards (think geckos, cardinals, coral snakes and parrots to get an idea of the bold colors out there today). Researchers are looking for hints of color in a dinosaur skin sample recently recovered, though evolutionary links to birds and reptiles already hint that the raptors and their compatriots enjoyed a splash of color. 

Believing that dinosaurs could ever be cloned.

In 1993, the Human Genome Project had only just gotten underway, and cloning was still a concept rather than a tested reality. In today’s world, talk of de-extinction crowds the news, and researchers are seriously investigating bringing species ranging from passenger pigeons to Tasmanian tigers* back to life. With all of that newfound knowledge about genetics and DNA, however, also came a sad (or perhaps relieving) reality: dinosaur DNA is way, way too old to recover. The oldest vertebrate researchers could hope to recover genetic material from is about 6 to 7 million years old. The dinosaurs of Jurassic Park lived a whopping 65 million years ago.

*This post originally listed Tasmanian devils. But they’re not extinct! Thanks to our commenters for catching that.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Resurrecting Extinct Species Is Conservation’s Next Frontier 
When Will There Be Herds of Mammoths? 

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