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Here's Just How Wrong Jurassic Park Is About Dinosaurs

Updated May 19, 2020 24.3k votes 5.1k voters 528.5k views12 items

List RulesVote up the inaccuracies that would make even the stoic Jeff Goldblum reel backwards in surprise.

Another day, another lie from Hollywood. Inaccuracies in the Jurassic Park movies abound, and the biggest scientific errors glare at you with the intensity of a T.rex staring down two kids trapped in a car. As crazy as it sounds, Steven Spielberg never tackled the film with the intent a National Geographic-worthy film. From the original movies and pre-glam Laura Dern to Bryce Dallas Howard running from a dinosaur in heels (seriously, when will women in movies wear reasonable shoes?), the popular film saga takes plenty of artistic liberties when it comes to even the simplest dinosaur facts. The biggest scientific errors in Jurassic Park sound surprising, until you recall most sci-fi movies employ bad science.

The Jurassic Park series plays the same game, adding traits to dinosaurs that range from bada** (venom spitting) to bizarre (sneezing). But inaccuracies in these films include more than just what Jurassic Park gets wrong about dinosaurs; their "rules" on fossils and genetics unravel faster than strands of DNA encased in amber (yep, even the insects lied in this film). But don't let the Jurassic Park movies's sci-fi lies get you down. The world will always have Chris Pratt's abs... unless those were CGI, too.

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    The Proper Amber Would Not Turn Up In The Dominican Republic

    The Dominican Republic does produce amber fossils, but not the kind necessary to clone dinosaurs from it (usually). However, after the release of the first Jurassic Park movie, sales of amber from the Dominican Republican increased by a whopping 500%. This prompted a healthy counterfeit market that the country, particularly for pieces that have preserved insects. Nearly all of the amber dates from 15 million years at the young side to 40 million years on the old side. Considering that dinosaurs roamed Earth around 65-230 million years ago, it's pretty unlikely any of the amber would have dinosaur DNA. 

    The oldest insect found preserved in amber in the DR - a spider - dates back to about 130 million years ago, earning it a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. However, this is clearly the exception, not the rule. 

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  • 10

    Where Did The Plants Come From?

    Photo: Rickydavid / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    If you're willing to swallow that the Jurassic Park team cloned dinosaurs, you then need to ask yourself: where did the plants come from? Even today, is anyone cloning plants? Well, it turns out cloning plants from the Jurassic era (or any era) makes for a basically impossible task. Though fossils of plants exist, they are either imprints of plants or fossils with minerals in place of actual tissue.

    That being said, certain trees and plants still exist today that likely thrived around at the same time dinosaurs roamed the earth, as evidenced by the petrified trees in Arizona. So, in the event someone managed to clone a dinosaur, people could probably populate the theme park in a way that would be to their liking. 

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  • 11

    The Time Periods Were Kinda Messed Up...To The Tune Of Millions Of Years

    Among the most basic things any of the Jurassic movies could accurately portray would be dinosaurs from the correct time periods. But alas, such dedication to the facts would screw up the producers' storyboard. Stegosaurus and Triceratops, for example, never lived in the same time period; the Triceratops lived around 65 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, while the Stegosaurus lived around 150 million years ago (which was actually in the Jurassic period, so points for that).

    Particularly interesting, and neglected in the movies, is that the Stegosaurus - despite being 30 feet long - would have had a bite weaker than yours. It actually used its cheeks to store food, like a very, very, very big, armored hamster. 

    Clearly, the difference between 65 million years and 150 million years is a solid 85 million years, so these two massive beats would have never crossed paths. 

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  • 12

    Archaeological Digs Are The Same As They Were In 1800: Boring And Slow

    Photo: woodleywonderworks / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    If you ever go digging for fossils, expect it to go far differently than what you see in Jurassic Park. Despite what the film depicts, dinosaur skeletons aren't waiting to be unearthed in plain sight. The sonic technology used in Jurassic Park won't help you much, as it's more inaccurate than the film makes out to to be.

    The reality is that digging up fossils today is much like it was back in the 1800s: a bunch of people carefully dig and cross their fingers that they find something. That's it. Not very glamorous. There certainly aren't any hammers and chisels involved in removing incredibly fragile fossils, even if Dr. Alan Grant says there are. 

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