Jurassic World is out on Friday and we're going to be watching it at least couple of times in the theatres this weekend, and why not? The original film, Jurassic Park, which released 22 years ago in 1993 made dinosaurs instant celebrities thanks to its amazing blend of animatronics and computer generated imagery. Steven Spielberg and team did such a great job in making the dinosaurs come to life that even today, some of the shots from the movie look better than many films that have come out in the subsequent years.
Most people probably know that the films are based on a book by the same name, written by Michael Crichton. As a writer, Crichton is famous for consulting scientific research, and the film also hired American palaeontologist Jack Horner as a consultant to make sure that the dinosaurs featured in the film were as realistic as possible.
There are definitely still some liberties taken for the sake of storytelling - scientists now say that velociraptors were actually a lot smaller, but Spielberg wanted them to be at least 10 feet tall. Funnily enough, while the movie was being made, palaeontologists uncovered 10-foot-tall raptors, which are now identified as Utahraptors.
In the books, Crichton spends a lot of time explaining genetics, and much of this was considered very accurate when the book was written. Of course, the books (and movie) have a pretty good defence against any inaccuracies as well, since the creatures we see aren't real dinosaurs at all - they're cloned animals which have been made based on what the scientists thought was accurate, so any mistakes are just a result of not having enough information at the time.
The premise of the new movie is that 20 years after the original Jurassic Park, a new version, called Jurassic World, successfully got up and running without raptor armies that eat everything in sight. And then people started to get bored of these creatures, so the scientists at Jurassic World created a new type of dinosaur, which they called named Indominus Rex. But honestly, who could be bored of dinosaurs? It's been 22 years, and we still think that the dinosaurs from the first three films were some of the coolest things we've ever seen, so we decided to rank our favourites.
A full list of all the cloned animals in Jurassic Park has 48 entries; we picked our top 10 dinosaurs from the list. Check out our favourite dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park series, in descending order.
One of the coolest dinosaurs whose name you learned as a kid, it was a huge letdown to see the Triceratops in Jurassic Park just lying on its side as boring as could be, but it still (just about) makes the cut for its iconic status, and its really cool horns. In the second film, we get to watch it wreck stuff a little, but it's kind of lost in the confusion.
The triceratops is one of the only four dinosaurs to appear in all four films, and both the novels. Like many of the other dinosaurs in "Jurassic" Park, this herbivore actually lived in the Cretaceous period. The name literally means three-horned face, and these horns, along with a flared ridge along the back of its head, make this one of the coolest-looking dinosaurs.
This armoured dinosaur appears in the third movie but only in passing, which is a pity because it is easily one of the coolest looking dinosaurs we know of. Ankylosaurus is covered in spikes and looks like an armoured lizard, with a large club on its tail. Ankylosaurus is one of the dinosaurs found in the fantastically named Hell Creek formation in Montana, USA. It looks like it could wreck anyone's day, but sadly, not much screen time was given to this dinosaur.
We're clubbing the Brachiosaurus (the first dinosaur seen in the films) with all the other Sauropods we've seen in the films. These giant dinosaurs look amazing and otherworldly, with their long necks and tails, but the films rarely spend much time on vegetarian dinosaurs, so they're really just used in the early scenes of the movies to show some dinosaurs that aren't trying to kill the protagonists, and then quickly forgotten. These dinosaurs are estimated to be over 55 tons in weight, and 85 feet long, making them some of the biggest creatures that ever lived.
Along with Triceratops, Stegosaurus is one of those dinosaurs we all learned about as kids. This is another one of the four dinosaurs to be in all four movies, and both books. With their unique row of plates standing along their spine, these huge dinosaurs are visually distinctive, and in the second movie, when Sarah (Julianne Moore) tries to take a picture of a baby Stegosaurus, the adults think she's trying to hurt it and charge. It's one of the few times we see a herbivore being dangerous, and a genuinely cool moment in the movie.
Its name, which has been translated as "roof lizard", refers to the bony plates on its back. The plates could have been used as a defence mechanism, or to help control its body temperature. Coexisting with giant hunters including Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus, Stegosaurus would definitely have needed some defence mechanisms!
Remember the giant carnivore with the horn on its nose and the red face from the third movie? It looks like Darth Maul from Star Wars, but it was even more pointless, and was really wasted in Jurassic Park 3. The real Ceratosaurus - whose name means "horned lizard" - had large jaws with blade-like teeth, a large, blade-like horn on the snout and a pair of hornlets over the eyes. Ceratosaurus had a longer, more flexible body, with a deep tail shaped like a crocodile. A recent study by Robert Bakker suggested that Ceratosaurus generally hunted aquatic prey, such as fish and crocodiles, although it had potential for feeding on large dinosaurs.
The Spinosaurus featured prominently in the third Jurassic Park movie, and will be in Jurassic World too. In the movie, it's the main antagonist, and at 50 feet long and weighing 12 tonnes, it's the biggest carnivore we see.
Spinosaurus is known to have eaten fish, and most scientists believe that it lived on both land and in water. While the movies show its spine like a sail, some scientists have also speculated that it might have been covered in fat, like a hump.
These tiny dinosaurs look like they could fit in the palm of your hand and be pets. But they're actually pretty deadly, and show up in the second and third films in the series. These dinosaurs were shown as largely peaceful, but capable of forming up large packs and killing grown humans.
Their name is translated as "elegant jaw", and apparently could grow to the size of a turkey. Until the 1990s, it was the smallest known non-avian dinosaur. Interestingly, they've been found among fossils of fish and mollusks, and no other dinosaurs have been found in association with them, so the Compsognatus might have been the top predators in their environment!
These frilled dinosaurs have showed up in all the movies, and also in the first Jurassic Park novel. They were first seen when Nedry was trying to escape the island with stolen embryos, and got stuck in the mud.
The dinosaur spat poison at him and when he stumbled into his car, one followed him in and killed him. This is one of the rare cases where the film version was actually smaller than what experts believe the size of these dinosaurs would be. Also, disappointingly, it turns out that the spitting was something made up for the movie.
2. Tyrannosaurus Rex
The real star of the first movie, Tyrannosaurus Rex is another dinosaur that's been in every Jurassic Park book or movie till date. It's portrayal was very close to what was known about it at that point in time, though today scientists say that the real T-Rex might actually have been covered in feathers. Shown as 40 feet long and weighing nearly 8 tons, it's a behemoth, and we got the iconic scene showing water in a cup rippling whenever T-Rex took a step.
It also has one of the coolest names of all dinosaurs, which means "tyrant lizard king". One of the biggest carnivorous dinosaurs, T-Rex has been the subject of controversy for decades as people argue about how it hunted, how it ate, how it walked, and what it looked like, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that the T-Rex is possibly the coolest dinosaur ever.
The fourth dinosaur to show up in all instalments of Jurassic Park, these carnivores were almost unknown before the first film, and are probably the best known dinosaurs today. They're shown as the smartest, deadliest, and most vicious dinosaurs in the films, and their depiction has also changed through the films as science has told us more about them over time.
Interestingly enough, the films don't really depict velociraptors - which are supposed to be around 2-feet tall. Instead, they're much closer to the real life Deinonychus. Call it a case of mistaken identity if you must, but today, when you ask anyone which dinosaur is the coolest, they will tell you Velociraptor, and that's why we've got a motorcycle gang of them in Jurassic World, if the trailer is any indication.