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Jurassic Park Dinosaurs
I have a vision. I, like many people with serious interest in
paleontology, stood back and watched the effects that Jurassic Park and
like films have had upon our culture. For better perhaps, dinosaurs were
renewed in the public eye as active, interesting animals. As a result,
interest in museum displays and other educational outlets swelled. I think
that's wonderful. But on the other hand, like others, I've become flatly
annoyed with some of the after effects. Whenever I've lectured to a popular
audience on paleontology, especially to younger audiences, I am always
stunned at how pervasive Hollywood's influence has been. To the public, any
small carnivorous dinosaur is a "raptor," Dilophosaurus is a "spitter,"
Tyrannosaurus is a "T-Rex," not to mention occasional references to "long
necks," "sharp tooths," and "three horns," the latter three apparently
residue from the "Land Before Time" cartoon saga.
I'd like to use the positive influences of Jurassic Park to attempt to
counteract its negative influences. There are MANY Jurassic Park sites on
the web, but NONE deal, in any depth, with the dinosaurs portrayed in the
films. That is incredible! After all, we went to see JP for the dinosaurs,
not for the shallow script or patchy acting.
My vision is as follows. I'd like to create an >educational< Jurassic
site, about >dinosaurs<, real dinosaurs. I'd devote page to each dinosaur
in JP/LW, and on each I'd say a word or two about their roles in the films,
point out any errors/weak points (i.e. wobbly tailed dromaeosaurs,
Dilophosaurus "frills" and "spitting," etc.), in an attempt to weed out
fantasy from reality. Then, I'd do what no Jurassic Park site has yet done:
I'd present scientifically valid information on each taxon, perhaps using
Glut's new and excellent dinosaur encyclopedia as a pivot point. The text
would be accessible to all readers, especially the younger ones. And to
round it all off, I'd do something unthinkable. I'd encourage the site
visitors to actually conduct their >own< research into dinosaurs. I'd
recommend a few books that any library would likely have, and maybe a
magazine article or two. (Lessem's woeful "Raptors: the Nastiest Dinosaurs"
would obviously be sub-par)
The public has the thirst for knowledge, but the resources are not
accessible for them to correct the more sour points that JP has spread. I'd
love to hear from any of you, if you might have any suggestions, pet
peeves, or to voice support/opposition to the concept of a "hard
science"-based Jurassic Park site.