Jurassic Park was the biggest blockbuster film to hit theaters the summer of 1993. Steven Spielberg teamed up with author Michael Crichton and composer John Williams and directed a film based on the original novel, Jurassic Park: a story about scientists who discovered DNA left by dinosaurs millions of years after they ruled the planet. As they create the world’s most daring, and deadly, theme park, they use dinosaur, frog and chicken DNA to create real dinosaurs for people to come see.
Or so they say. Dinosaurs have always been mysterious to the human species, as all we have left is small evidence of their existence. We have long wondered what they look liked, how they behaved, and their biological makeup. Like every good mystery, we became obsessed. The creators, John Hammond and scientists, planned to play upon this obsession and the dreams of modern day culture, promising to bring us the giant creatures we’ve only read about.
Science In Movies Is Never Good Science
And it would have worked (had the park successfully opened)! Just the idea of real dinosaurs walking about created a huge public draw to see the movie. When it was first released to theaters in June of ‘93, audiences went crazy over the new science fiction adventure, with Universal Studios drawing in an accumulative $357,067,947 in box office sales, Jurassic Park opened up a new possibility the world had never before visualized of creating dinosaurs just from their DNA. There was no cloning involved.
But science in movies is never good science. This is true for Jurassic Park, as the science in the movie (and book) leaves gaps that are unmistakably impossible to fill with the science we have available to us in the modern day, let alone the science available at the time of the movie/novel release.
When examining all the claims made throughout the story, one can decipher the one big lie surrounding and sustaining the appeal of Jurassic Park. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park weren’t real dinosaurs. The technology wasn’t available to create actual animals several million years extinct. They were new monsters that had never before existed created by scientists through DNA splicing and coding, not by manipulating actual dinosaur DNA. Furthermore, based on Hammond’s past behaviors, it’s reasonable to believe that the creators behind the park would realistically rely on lies to forward the park’s success.
Before I go any further though, I’ll make it clear this article may be full of spoilers. You’ve been warned!
Dr. John Hammond Is A Hustler
Beginning with Mr. Hammond, the creator and sponsor of Jurassic Park, it’s easy to see how his character was capable and comfortable with misrepresentation long before he began his experiments in DNA manipulation. Right out of the gate, Mr. Hammond makes it clear he and his corporation are in it for the crowd drawing appeal of the park (aka: $$$). He’s done it before.
Hammond relays that when he was younger, he fashioned a so called “flea circus.” He created a playground like setting that he describes as having “had a wee trapeze, and a merry-go... carousel and a seesaw. They all moved, motorized of course, but people would say they could see the fleas. ‘Oh, I see the fleas, mummy! Can't you see the fleas?’ Clown fleas and high wire fleas and fleas on parade...” He created an entire world with motors and imaginations of customers.
“Hammond was a hustler, and his true talent was raising money,” according to Ian Malcolm. Hammond was in the business of deception to make a buck; and he had intentions of making a lot of them with this new park. Though he does express his desire to make Jurassic Park real (“I wanted to show them something that wasn't an illusion. Something that was real… An aim not devoid of merit.”), this statement doesn’t necessarily imply that the dinosaurs themselves are real. Hammond made off with the fact that the spectacle was indeed, real. There were creatures there to see and hear that resembled what people would like to imagine dinosaurs to be, but here again, he relies on the imaginations of the public to fill in scientific gaps in order to make them believe the dinosaurs in his park are truly created from original dinosaur DNA.
But this DNA is nearly impossible to come across! The Jurassic Park scientists claim to have retrieved the DNA from about 66 million year old mosquitos fossilized in amber (tree sap) by drilling tiny holes into the amber, down to the mosquito and extracting the DNA of dinosaurs out of the blood left in their bellies…
Why It's Impossible To Find Dinosaur DNA In Mosquitoes
Ok. Let’s go over the rarity of this happening. First off, in order for this to work, the mosquito would have to fit the profile of a young female that drank a large amount of blood from just one dinosaur specimen, though most mosquitoes typically take from more than one animal in a short period of time.
The female would then have to be immediately covered in tree sap. The fossilization would most likely dry up the sample of dinosaur DNA since the insects decompose from the inside out when preserved in amber and most soft tissues that contain the DNA would not survive any amount of decay. The mosquito would also have to be alive in the correct time period to supply any useful DNA, while most insects that were fossilized came after dinosaur’s extinction.
Even if they did happen upon a perfect fossilized female mosquito that had a sample of a dinosaurs original DNA, the DNA in the mosquito would have potentially mixed with the dinosaurs (along with other cells), resulting in a compromised DNA strand.
How impossible is that?! Getting the perfect specimen of DNA from a 66 million year old sample?
Practically perfectly impossible (we should be thanking our lucky stars after watching the Jurassic series), therefore, the scientists behind the park would have no way to create real dinosaurs. Dinosaur DNA took no part in the genetic makeup of the creatures in the park. The title of “Dinosaurs” is given to the creatures in the park to attract attention of the world. They are, technically speaking, merely a hoax.
So How Were The Dinosaurs Of Jurassic Park Created?
However, this does raise the question: if there was no dino DNA, how did they create larger than life, ferocious animals without the genetic codes of dinosaurs? They succeeded in creating dinosaur like creatures by manipulating and replacing codes from other animals, specifically chickens and frogs, and filling in other grabs with an assortment of DNA.
In each cell, RNA pumps out DNA. By sequencing the DNA of an animal, they could change individual aspects of it and have it replicated by giving the RNA in a cell a different blueprint. The result? Slightly different DNA created from one cell. (Note: In theory, one could take the DNA of an elephant, mix it up a bit with other DNA, manipulate the output of the RNA and make a wooly mammoth.) Doc Wu leads to this conjecture by stating that they “designed” the dinosaurs.
In both Park and World, Wu explains that the dinosaurs are genetically altered to create the look and behavior that appeals to most consumers. In the Jurassic Park novel, it is revealed that when they first began producing the dinosaurs, they were very docile and sweet. This docile behavior is the result of using only existing and currently assessable animal DNA (aka animals you might see at a zoo or in your neighborhood today).
Sweet, docile and tamable sounds nothing like the hunter instincts dinosaurs had millions of years ago. If dinosaur DNA had been involved, their primal hunting traits would have expressed themselves. We also know Hammond rejected these first experiments because he wanted the dinosaurs to be bigger and more aggressive. If the DNA used was really from dinosaurs, they couldn’t have simply rejected them without wasting the samples they had. The ability and need to genetically modify and change the DNA to produce dinosaur like behaviors and appearances is proof no dino DNA was ever involved in the process of creating the dinosaurs. In short, they were able to manipulate the outcome of DNA in order to make what we think a dinosaur should be.
This is also shown is the last Jurassic movie, Jurassic World, as raptors are able to communicate with and take mildly difficult orders from Owen (Chris Pratt), a velociraptor trainer. Creating raptors that were tamable would have required severe modification to their prehistoric instincts had the DNA been that of raptors. In the movie cannon, many raptors had been dying during the training process. The park claimed that is was because they hadn’t “discovered” the raptors pack dynamic. It is more likely however that the raptors they created from chicken and frog DNA simply had the genetic coding for pack orientated behaviors added in.
Before this, the raptors had been attacking and killing each other off. Once they created the monsters to include pack instinct, Owen was able to start training and “imprinting” on them. As unbelievable as it was for many fans that to grasp that Owen was able to connect with the raptors (to the point of riding a motorcycle alongside them and not being eaten), it would make sense that if their gene code was scientifically modified in a lab to include pack oriented behaviors, they would be more trainable (like dogs) allowing for Owen to become their alfa.
However, this does present the argument regarding the raptors communication with genetically modified hybrid Indominus Rex.
If no dinosaur DNA was present in either of these animals, what DNA code would they have in common that could lead to their communication abilities? The only explanation would be that whatever animals were used to infuse the pack oriented instincts into the raptors would also have to be included in the hybrid I-Rex makeup.
If two species share the same instinct of pack oriented behavior, it is very possible for them to connect and relate to one another, even accepting an outsider into the group, which is seen in many cases in the wild. A common example is feral monkeys taking in stray dogs. Both share a common intelligence level and this promotes communication and acceptance. There is still the question as to why the I-Rex willingly destroyed the other pack dynamic herds and not the raptors. The short answer is simply that the raptors and I-Rex shared a common DNA ancestor or donor that the herbivores which I-Rex wiped out did not share. It would make sense for a lion and a liger to get along better than say a lion and a sheep. One group (the lion and the tiger) shares a genetic link while the other (lion and the sheep) is totally without predator to predator understanding or challenge.
In conclusion, it’s very clear that the dinosaur DNA so widely acclaimed by Mr. Hammond to be the true creator of Jurassic Park is merely a lie made to draw crowds and money into his corporation. The DNA is impossible to extract or even get a hold of and the dinosaur’s exhibit behaviors that strongly suggest animal DNA use only. Although Mr. Hammond’s sponsored research led to incredible advances in science with the genetic mutation of animals to create dinosaur-like creatures, his scientists did not ever come close to creating the real deal without the original, untainted DNA of dinosaurs. The Jurassic Park method of madness leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to honest to goodness dinosaurs.