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Friday, 28 November 2014

Top 10 Dinosaurs (and other Mesozoic animals) that I want to see in Jurassic World

What new creatures will be in Jurassic World?
When I was growing up the Jurassic Park films made my childhood and for years I waited for a fourth installment. A few days ago the trailer was released and I must say that I am excited although a little disappointed. Not because I feel the film will be bad but because the Velociraptors and Gallimimus had no feathers but I am getting off topic. Here is a top ten list of some dinosaurs and other Mesozoic animals, (animals from the time of the dinosaurs), that have not been announced being in the film but I hope to see them in. To make the list however they have had to not appear in any of the films; although they can appear in the books the films are based on by Michael Crichton.

Number 10- Diplodocus Carnegie
One of the largest sauropods, (although far from the largest), who are the long-necked dinosaurs, Diplodocus is a well known dinosaur whose skeleton can be found in many of the world's museums from the London Natural History Museum to the New York Natural History Museum. They lived in the Late Jurassic Period from 155 to 148 million years ago, (in perspective our first ancestors came down from the trees around a million years ago). The Diplodocus is a truly interesting dinosaur with it even managing to defend itself with a long whip like tail which it could crack against a predator and possibly even break its neck. Despite how iconic the sauropod is the makers of the Jurassic Park films and Michael Crichton has always passed it up for the Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus or the Mamenchisaurus. It would be good to see a formidable sauropod that can actually physically defend itself against attack instead of using its bulk as a deterrent and I would like to see a battle between the new Diablos-Rex and a Diplodocus which I feel in real life the sauropod could win with a good hit from the whip like tail.

Number 9- Deinosuchus 
This was a genus of crocodilian, (more related to alligators than crocodiles), that lived from 80 million years ago to 73 million years ago in the Cretaceous period. Only the skull has been found, (reconstructions attach a body on so people can better get an image of scale), but paleontologists have managed to scale it to estimate the size of the animal: it was 11 m, (36 ft), long. This crocodilian actually ate dinosaurs. We can easily imagine the Deinosuchus living exactly like a crocodile except instead of eating an antelope it would eat a dinosaur. The appeal of this giant crocodilian for being in Jurassic World is obvious and with the trailer showing people canoeing on a river I can easily imagine them having to go past a cornered off area with a giant alligator lurking in the water. Deinosuchus was one of the largest crocodilians along with the Sarcosuchus of North Africa and South America so it would be a good thing to see in the new world. I chose Deinosuchus instead of Sarcosuchus for one simple reason: it would have eaten the ancestors of Tyrannosaurus.

Number 8- Kentrosaurus aethiopicus
 This was a close relative of Stegosaurus but lived in Late Jurassic, Tanzania. This placing is largely through nostalgia as Kentrosaurus was one of my favorite dinosaurs. Although smaller than its more famous cousin the Kentrosaurus is an interesting dinosaur with it not having the traditional plates on the entire body associated with a stegosaurid but instead giant spikes as shown in the picture. Kentrosaurus would swing these spikes on the tail to deter a possible predator but the side spikes would also deter predators coming from the side of the body. It is a truly unique looking dinosaur and in the video game Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis where you could build your own Jurassic Park I always had one or two living alongside Stegosaurus so with the Stegosaurus confirmed in the trailer I would like to see one in the film, (obviously with less screen time to Stegosaurus).

Number 7- Iguanodon bernissartensis
The Iguanodon was a herbivore that lived in the Early Jurassic period and could walk on both its hind legs and all four legs. However, Iguanodon is very special as it was the second dinosaur genus to be discovered and was used to describe dinosaurs in general. Iguanodon has gone through many reconstructions which represents the changing view on dinosaurs: the sluggish, lizard like creature with a horned nose with the statues in Crystal Palace in the Victorian era, to the bipedal creature dragging its tail on the ground in the early 20th century to the current reconstruction above which has been made since the 1960s showing an agile animal. Iguanodon could also defend itself if need be with it deploying a thumb spike although its main defense was running. Despite its history Iguanodon has never appeared in the books or films so hopefully Jurassic World could spell its debut in the franchise.

Number 6- Eoraptor Lunensis
 The Eoraptor was a small genus of therapods, (bipedal dinosaurs ranging from Tyrannosaurus to Gallimimus), a meter, (3.3 ft), in length. However what makes it special is that it is the oldest known dinosaur. At 231 million years old the Eoraptor is the oldest dinosaur genus, so far, and comes from Argentina during the Triassic period. Although not as spectacular as some later dinosaurs the nimble little Eoraptor would be a good edition to the Jurassic World roster. It does raise a good point about the Jurassic Park franchise. There is a lack of dinosaurs from the Triassic, (the earliest time period), in the franchise with the only one appearing in Michael Crichton's novels, the Procompsognathus. The Eoraptor would be an interesting dinosaur nevertheless to appear in the new film.

Number 5- Plesiosaurus
 The Plesiosaurus was a genus of aquatic reptiles that lived in the seas of the early Jurassic period. They were a unique group with them managing to swim at fast speeds by coordinating their flippers to speed through the water. Plesiosaurus primarily ate fish and squid which they would sneak up on using their long necks so they can get up close without disturbing their prey. At 1.8 m they were the precursors for larger sea monsters but still unique in their own way.  The Plesiosaurus has had a great lasting legacy with legends of the Loch Ness Monster and Ogopogo possibly being inspired by the Plesiosaurus. With Mosasaurus confirmed for Jurassic World the potential for aquatic animals is massive and who better to show alongside Mosasaurus than the Loch Ness Monster.

Number 4- Therizinosaurus 
The Therizinosaurus is a very bizarre therapod dinosaur. It lived in Mongolia during the late Cretaceous period 75 million years ago, alongside the real life Velociraptor. They were very bizarre with a long neck, 2.5 meter, (8 ft), long forearms and a meter long, (3.28 ft), claw on each finger. It was safe to be around though with its diet consisting of plants, which they would use their claws to strip from trees, eggs and small animals like lizards. If attacked those claws could be used against a predator including a close relative of Tyrannosaurus called Tarbosaurus, (although some paleontologists believe that Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus were the same). Therizinosaurus was covered in feathers like all therapods, including the Velociraptor and yes even the Tyrannosaurus, making it look even more strange. Although the producers have said that no feathered dinosaurs will be appearing in the film they can easily do a reconstruction of a featherless Therizinosaurus such as in Chased by Dinosaurs, the spin-off to Walking With Dinosaurs, so I think audiences would be willing to accept Therizinosaurus if Diablos-Rex is in the film.

Number 3- Quetzalcoatlus Northropi
This species of pterosaur, (not a dinosaur), lived in the Late Cretaceous in North America 65 million years ago. Although Pteranodon has been scheduled to appear seeing the Quetzalcoatlus Northropi would be a nice edition. Mainly because it was the largest thing ever evolved to fly. When they weren't flying one was the same size as a giraffe but in flight they had a staggering wingspan of 11 meters, (36 ft). It was a true giant that could actually eat dinosaurs and was top of the food chain in regards to the sky. If one appeared in Jurassic World it would definitely steal the show although its colossal size would cast a literal shadow over the film.

Number 2- Deinonychus antirrhopus
Deinonychus was a raptor that lived in the early Cretaceous and actually caused the 'dinosaur renaissance' where paleontologists started to believe that dinosaurs were fast, agile and sociable animals. Although this placing could be controversial as you could argue that technically the Velociraptors in the films are Deinonychus. When writing the first book Michael Crichton liked the name Velociraptor but its diminutive size made it a lackluster 'villain' so he took the name Velociraptor and gave it to the body of Deinonychus. With the similarity between the two he had a character say that they reclassified Deinonychus to be a Velociraptor. When Spielberg adapted the book the change came as well, (although upping the size to be more formidable). I would actually like it if Deinonychus appeared alongside the Jurassic World Velociraptors and see how the greatest recent errors in dinosaur reconstruction has occurred. Also I'm going to say this again I want them to have feathers.

Number 1- Carnotaurus sastrei 
The Carnotaurus was a dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous Argentina from 72 to 69 million years ago and was quite a robust dinosaur. It evolved to fight for dominance with members of its own species and to take quick bites out of prey to possibly make them bleed to death. It didn't have the bite strength of Tyrannosaurus and was the dominant predator after second largest carnivorous dinosaur, Giganotosaurus, had gone extinct in the area. Why did I put it number one then? When I heard about Diablos-Rex I thought it was a hybrid of Tyrannosaurus and Carnotaurus. With it being a brawler and the 'devil horns' on its head I made the assumption that this would be the other half of the hybrid. With the trailer indicating that a raptor may be the more likely candidate I still want to see Carnotaurus. It appeared in the second book with an ability to change color but I quite fancy seeing a realistic Carnotaurus. It was the main villain in Disney's Dinosaur so I am sure a good version of it can appear in Jurassic World.

Do you agree with my list? Was there any other Mesozoic animals that I should have put on it? Please leave your comments.

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