You could see it from either side -- appreciate how much the franchise has done to put paleontology in the zeitgeist or deep sigh over how inaccurate the dino depictions can be. With "Jurassic World" breaking box office records, The Washington Post talked to several paleontologists to get their takes on the dinosaurs, and the folks they talked to were very supportive and excited about the franchise. As one expert put it, "These films bridge the gap between dusty fossils in a museum drawer and the public, who are hungry to know more."
However, that's not to say they completely ignored the inaccuracies, and experts pinpointed two main issues for criticism: dinosaurs' lack of feathers and their depiction as noisier than a frat house on Friday night. Here's part of that conversation, from paleontologists Kirk Johnson and Matthew Carrano of The Smithsonian to the Washington Post:
Kirk Johnson: "Another big pet peeve is when a dinosaur arrives and it's like "BOOOOOOOOM."
Matthew Carrano: "They're all way too noisy. That's the other thing. The loudest animals in the world in these movies are the predators. In real life, they're usually the quietest animals. It's a good way to starve, running around screaming your head off."
Johnson: "Hey! I'm killing! Hey! Hey!"
Carrano: "They get there and they see their prey and the first thing they do is open their mouth and yell at it, and the thing turns around and runs. It's a terrible strategy!"
Johnson: "But that's the money shot. Everybody who makes really big dinosaurs uses the standard pose: stop, look, roar, give you a chance to respond and get away. It's something that happens in the movies because it's something movies before it did."
Carrano: "It's like a moment of drama. It's like the point in a musical where someone stops and has a solo. It won't happen in real life, but you sort of expect it's gonna happen, it means something in the context of the storytelling."
The Washington Post asked about the feathers, and the experts basically said they're not surprised we haven't seen them on screen.
Johnson: "Oh boy. They look so ugly. It's really ruined the whole dinosaur thing. They looked pretty cool but now it's like, 'really, that's what dinosaurs look like? Some sort of weird punk rocker.' It's pretty awful."
Carrano: "There's a group of people for whom they've really caught on. But I would say that people at large, it's still a common question. Probably many dinosaurs were just fuzzy. In the way that big mammals kind of have hair, but you don't think of an elephant as hairy."
The good news is, it sounds like more "Jurassic Park" movies are on the way, with Chris Pratt signed on to return, so the dino experts can keep answering questions from excited fans, while bemoaning the lack of feathers.
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