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*Spoilers* TH comments on LW-JP



Okay, first some spoiler space:

3

2

1


Ignition...

Okay, that should be enough.

If anyone is upset because I spoiled information from the Lost World, it is
your own fault for reading this!

First off: I liked it.  It was much better than Cats. I'm going to see it
again and again.

Secondly: Mike Brett-Surman and others are correct: it is chock-full of
references to other movies, books, etc.  (Being the big vampire fan he is,
I'm surprised Mike didn't mention Dracula as one of the works "homaged" in
the film: I suppose that was one he wanted us to pick out on our own).
Speilberg up to his old tricks again...

More: A plot, more so than the first movie!  A bigger cast (i.e., a bigger
feedbag for the theropods).  No reference to dino superpowers: poison,
ultraintelligence, superspeed, all seem to have disappeared.  Okay, so the
T. rex scenting ability seems to be pretty spectacular, and the compy
swarming ability isn't something we have good evidence for in the fossil
record, but I can accept those a lot more readily than chimp minds and
cheetah speeds in "Thaumatoraptor nublarensis".

More Tyrannosaurus; less dromaeosaurids, as it should be.  (Not that I'm
showing my preferences or anything... :-).  I would liked to have seen more
of the herbivores, though.

A mention of the Skeptical Inquirer!  No mangled Chaos Theory!  No mangled
Dilophosaurus (perhaps the Coelophysoid Anti-Defamation League got ahold of
the animators and made them pay for the poor treatment of this guy in the
first movie).  And Horner managed to get a fair bit of his interpretations
of juvenile behavior, through the voice of Sarah Harding.

Some of the more unrealistic aspects: as if even InGen would have the kind
of money to buy off Grant and Sattler!  (A more likely scenario: Grant and
Sattler organize a secret expedition of paleontologists to go to Isla Nublar
(or Site B, if they knew about it.  Within a year or two, we'd be making a
motion to hold SVP 1999 on Isla Sorna... ;-).  Also "paleobehaviorist"?  A
new field indeed!  And how exactly was the amphitheatre going to work?
Bring in the dinosaurs one at a time for the audience's viewing pleasure?

Dr. Robert Burke: hmmmm...  Well, they did a GREAT job of his appearence,
attitude, even the cadences in his voice.  Still, I have more than a
sneaking suspcion that there was a revenge-aspect to the character, as if
some of the Powers That Be involved with the film did not appreciate the
real R.B.'s claims on T.V. that he was the consultant for the first movie...
Also, there was a bit of humor involved with his death, assuming that the
"Red and Yellow, kill a fellow; Red and Black, venom lack" [or "friend to
Jack" in some versions... hmmm...] rhyme works as well for Costa Rican
snakes as it does for the U.S. and Mexico.

Okay, on to comments on the dinosaurs:

Stegosaurus: too damn big, tail spines articulated incorrectly (as Carpenter
& Small and Olshevsky & Ford have both shown).  The baby Stegosaurus: that
head was too damn big (it was almost as large as that of a real adult S.
stenops!).  Also, here (as with the Tyrannosaurus unit): a single baby?  The
data suggests that most (if not all) dinosaurs laid nests in big clutches.
Okay, so perhaps there was a limit to the number of baby Stegosaurus models
they wanted to construct, but just once I'd like to see a nest full of baby
dinos!

Pachycephalosaurus: yes, too small.  Right size for some of the other
pachycephalosaurids, though.

Parasaurolophus: did like Evil Hammond trying to struggle through its name
(and Pachycephalosaurus').  Would still liked to have seen some more with
the hadrosaurids, though: we know a lot more about these guys than most
other nonavian dinosaurs.  Also, I'd like to have seen a fatality associated
with a herbivore: lots of crashing and smashing, but still the body counts
are clearly stacked up in favor of the theropods.  This despite the fact
that large modern herbivores can be quite deadly.

Triceratops: I want to see more of it, dammit!  Did anyone catch if ILM is
taking a position on upright vs. semisprawling vs. sprawling?  Must check
again when I see the movie next time.

The diplodocid (NOT a mamemchisaur, although it is arguably like Hallet's
"Mamemnchisaurus", which was restored as a diplodocid...): not too much to
comment on.

The raptors: tails as bendy as ever.  I agree with the poster who commented
on the resemblance between the leaping raptor in the grasslands sequence and
the leaping reconstruction at the Yale Peabody Museum.  Also, despite the
comments by a different poster, we have evidence that Velociraptor at least
(among the dromaeosaurids) and theropods in general were quite dangerous to
each other, including a Velociraptor skull with a fatal bite into the brain.
Perhaps the greater rate of reproduction of dinosaurs allowed them a much
more nasty intraspecific lifestyle than in mammalian populations?  Also, the
raptor slain by Malcom's daughter seemed to have faint tiger stripes: sexual
dimorphism?

The compys: Too small for adult Compsognathus; sample size is too small for
Procompsognathus to judge.  However, these are neither as restored: the
forearm is pure maniraptoriform, with great big hands and a very well
developed semilunate carpal block.  As for the swarming behavior: no
evidence for it, but possibly within the realm of reason (although hunting
small vertebrates and invertebrates seems a lot more likely to me,
especially given the gut contents of the German and Chinese composgnathids).

Tyrannosaurus: Again with the Nuclear Family (mommy and daddy and baby makes
three)?  Visually great looking.  The daddy T. rex is lucky it stayed in the
nicer places in town, though: if it wandered into the nasty sections of most
big American cities (can't speak for San Diego), and there would have been
enough automatic firepower to take it down.  Incidentally, if ever you are
threatened by a big theropod, don't waste your ammo on the head or heart.
As Mike Brett-Surman has pointed out before: go for the ankles.
Alternatively, shoot some of your companions, and you won't have to run as fast.

Some final thoughts:  I would have liked to have seen Dr. Levine: any young
30-ish Yale educated dinosaur paleontologist can't be all bad... :-)

When do the first batch of The Lost World rip-off movies and TV shows come out?

And: what dinosaur myths will we in the dinosaur education business have to
demolish now?

Take care, all!

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Vertebrate Paleontologist     Webpage: http://www.geol.umd.edu
Dept. of Geology              Email:th81@umail.umd.edu
University of Maryland        Phone:301-405-4084
College Park, MD  20742       Fax:  301-314-9661