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Re: the last word on JP the movie? :)

On Thu, 1 Jun 1995 14:12:16, Timothy Isles (tisles@sol.uvic.ca) asked:

> Anyhow, someone recently wrote in regarding the scene from the JP movie 
> where the T. rex and the character Grant were "nose to nose", yet the 
> dinosaur did not seem to smell Grant's presence (motion-dependant or 
> not).  Congratulations to whoever noticed that ... as an animal 
> behaviourist, I felt it was one of the sillier scenes in the movie,   
> considering the importance of olfaction to so many predators.  By the 
> way, where on earth did the writers get the idea that T. rex was 
> dependant on motion for active vision ??  Anyone know ??

As I recall, in the book the use of amphibian DNA to fill in some gaps in 
the DNA sequences caused, in addition to the ability to change sex in a 
single-sex environment, a frog-type motion-dependent visual capability.  

Of course, the fact that Grant (in the movie) seems to be aware of this fact 
when we first see him on the dig is one of the more glaring inconsistencies 
of the movie script.

It should be pointed out, however, that many modern predators are more 
dependent on motion detection than one might think, and if they don't have 
a compensatory superior olfactory ability, it might be possible for their 
prey to freeze and blend into invisibility.  Perhaps the script writers were 
assuming that T. rex, like its modern feathered cousins, had a limited or 
nearly nonexistant olfactory sense.  Myself, I doubt it, but - is there any 
evidence one way or the other?

> I promise, never again will I mention the JP movie on this listserver :)

Awwww, heck - no need to do that!  After all, JP (book OR movie!) is to dino 
study as Star Trek has been to space exploration and SciFi - one of its 
defining myths!  We can't get TOO mired in consistency and accuracy when 
dealing with a myth!  :)

Skip Dahlgren
Applications Programmer, Office of Educational Development
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Phone: 501/296-1087; FAX: 501/686-7053 (new FAX#!)
e-mail: sdahlgren@liblan.uams.edu; bcsskip@aol.com
-ex-archaeologist; lifelong afficionado of dinosaurs and their latter-day kin
"Cross-platform computing is much safer than downhill!"  :)