What 6 Dinosaurs from Jurassic Park Really Looked Like

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

by Alex Carter

In the 24 years that have passed since the original Jurassic Park hit theaters, what we know about dinosaurs has changed—a lot. Here's some of the new research that may change how you imagine these ancient animals, along with illustrations of what the animals may have looked like when they actually roamed the Earth.

1. VELOCIRAPTOR

Movie:

Velociraptors in Jurassic Park.
Universal Pictures

Reality:

A drawing of a Velociraptor.
Matt Martyniuk, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY SA-3.0

A far cry from the large and vicious hunters of the Jurassic Park movies, velociraptors were in fact small and covered in feathers. More like vicious turkeys, if you will. The dinosaur in the movies was based on the Deinonychus, a much larger species whose name, appropriately, means “terrible claw.” (Even Deinonychus wasn't quite as big as the raptors portrayed in the movie.) That said, other large raptors have since been discovered, including the entire genus Utahraptor. (Its discoverers originally considered naming the type species Utahraptor spielbergi in hopes that the director would finance their research, but the name-for-funds deal never went through, so it was ultimately called Utahraptor ostrommaysorum.)

2. TYRANNOSAURUS REX

Movie:

A T. Rex in Jurassic Park.
Universal Pictures

Reality:

A feathered version of a T. Rex.
A feathered version of a T. Rex.

Large. Imposing. Fluffy? Apparently, the T. rex looked much, much stranger than the beast brought to life on the silver screen. Its face might have been covered with patches of armored skin and large scales, its eyes were placed much farther forward than other dinosaurs, and it carried itself rather horizontally, not upright, as most people still imagine it. It's thought from discoveries in close relatives that T. rex was covered in some feathers for a part of its life (especially as a juvenile, as seen in The Lost World), although the details remain hotly debated. Also debated are what it used its arms for: Hypotheses have ranged from a role in reproduction to lifting itself up (which is increasingly considered unlikely) to nothing at all.

3. COMPSOGNATHUS

Movie:

A Compsognathus in Jurassic Park.
Universal Pictures

Reality:

A feathered version of a Compsognathus.
A feathered version of a Compsognathus.

This dinosaur was actually bigger in real life, although not by much. The smaller version depicted in the movies was based on what is now believed to be a young (and therefore small) Compsognathus. While many dinosaurs of its type were covered in feathers, there has been a notable lack of evidence about whether compies, as they're known, had feathers or scales. Most artists tend to draw simple proto-feathers, though; the result is an animal that looks more furry than feathery—and remarkably like a stretched rat.

4. TRICERATOPS

Movie:

A Triceratops in Jurassic Park.
Universal Pictures

Reality:

These creatures are generally portrayed as leathery and pointy—a bit like a rhinoceros designed by committee. The reality is somewhat stranger: They actually resembled porcupines. Some paleontologists believe that several nipple-shaped protrusions in their skin suggest where bristles would have been. In other areas, their skin was likely scaled rather than leathery. Their horns are another mystery. A 2009 study indicated that they were used largely for combat with other Triceratops, but they probably had a role in courtship as well.

5. BRACHIOSAURUS

Movie:

A Brachiosaurus in Jurassic Park.
Universal Pictures

Reality:

A drawing of a Brachiosaurus.

In Jurassic Park, the Brachiosaurus is the first dinosaur seen after everyone arrives on the island, memorably rearing up to get at some particularly delicious leafage. But that behavior is now considered unlikely. The book Biology of the Sauropod Dinosaurs attempted to calculate if Brachiosaurs were able to rear on their hind legs and concluded, “Brachiosaurus would have expended considerably more energy [than a Diplodocus], could not have attained a stable upright pose, and would have risked serious injury to its forefeet when descending too rapidly.” Dr. Heinrich Mallison noted that it “was probably unlikely to use a bipedal … posture regularly and for an extended period of time. Although this dinosaur certainly could have reared up, for example during mating, this was probably a rare and short-lived event.”

6. SPINOSAURUS

Movie:

A Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III.
Universal Pictures

Reality:

A drawing of a Spinosaurus.

Joschua Knüppe, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

The Spinosaurus was discovered only a few years after the Tyrannosaurus, but it never attracted fans in quite the same way. The fossils were destroyed in World War II during an Allied bombing raid on Munich, and the dinosaur became largely forgotten. However, Jurassic Park III resurrected the dinosaur's fame with a showdown that saw the Spinosaurus kill a Tyrannosaurus. Many fans cried foul, and the size of the Spinosaurus was indeed a mistake … in reality, it was much bigger.

It would have been up to three times heavier and 20 feet longer; a creature on the higher end of that range would have been bigger than even Jurassic World's (invented) I. rex. But could Spinosaurus have taken on a T. rex and lived? Almost certainly not. While physically bigger and armed with a bigger jaw, it was much less powerful, as most paleontologists now believe Spinosaurus used its long jaws for fishing. It actually lived mostly in the water.

13 Landmark Intellectual Property Disputes

In one corner: Dr. Dre. In the other: A ... gynecologist?
In one corner: Dr. Dre. In the other: A ... gynecologist?
mangsaab/iStock via Getty Images

In 1813, Thomas Jefferson had this to say about patents: “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” A noble thought indeed, but try telling that to two parties locked in a multimillion-dollar court case over a bagless vacuum cleaner. And with no shortage of jealously guarded ideas in the world, major intellectual property disputes are never in short supply. As Bill Gates supposedly said, “intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”

1. Dr. Dre vs. a gynecologist

In 2018, Draion M. Burch, a gynecologist and the author of 20 Things You May Not Know About the Vagina, trademarked the name Dr. Drai. No one in the world had a problem with that, apart from Andre Romelle Young, better known as Dr. Dre. The rapper tried to prevent the trademark, arguing that the public would be confused at the similarity of the names. The U.S. trademark office, however, sided with the real doctor, quite reasonably arguing that the public would be unlikely to confuse a rapper with a gynecologist.

2. Tattoo artist Victor Whitmill vs. Warner Bros.

Premiere Of Warner Bros. "The Hangover Part II"
The dispute took getting in trouble for your tattoos to a whole other level.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Plenty of big name movies have been plagued by lawsuits, but one of the strangest intellectual property cases was that of tattoo artist Victor Whitmill vs. Warner Bros. Whitmill was the artist responsible for Mike Tyson’s facial tattoo, and he wasn’t happy when the design was replicated on the face of Stu (Ed Helms) in The Hangover Part II. He took Warner Bros. to court over the issue of the “original tattoo” and almost derailed the release of the movie. In the end, Warner Bros. settled the claim for an undisclosed amount.

3. Louis Vuitton vs. Haute Diggity Dog

High fashion and dog toys don’t often come into conflict, but they did in 2006 when Louis Vuitton sued Haute Diggity Dog for trademark, trade dress, and copyright infringement. Haute Diggity Dog, a designer and manufacturer of parody plush dog toys, provoked Louis Vuitton’s wrath with its furry "Chewy Vuiton" dog chews. Louis Vuitton argued the toys were likely to cause confusion. The federal appeals court, however, didn’t side with the French fashion house, finding that Chewy Vuiton was “a joking and amusing parody” [PDF] and nothing more.

4. Isaac Newton vs. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Back in the 17th century, mathematicians Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz went head to head in a bitter argument over who had invented calculus. In the mid-1660s, Newton began working on his form of calculus, which he called "the method of fluxions and fluents." Leibniz began work on his calculus around 1673, but neither man published any serious paper on the subject until years later. The argument reached a peak around 1711 [PDF], when both scholars and their supporters engaged in a fully fledged, retrospective war of words about who deserved the credit. Today, most people accept that they developed their ideas independently. But Leibniz died poor and dishonored, while Newton was given a state funeral.

5. Star Wars vs. Battlestar Galactica

A year after the release of 1977’s Star Wars, which was retitled Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope upon its 1981 re-release, Universal Studios produced its own space opera, the TV series Battlestar Galactica and its pilot film Saga of a Star World. Twentieth Century Fox, which produced Star Wars, was highly unimpressed with the similarities between the two and promptly filed a lawsuit against Universal. To support its case, Fox highlighted 34 supposed similarities between the two productions, including “a friendly robot, who aids the democratic forces”; spaceships that “are made to look used and old”; and the destruction of “an entire planet, central to the existence of the democratic forces.” Fox's copyright claims were initially dismissed but later revived on appeal. The whole messy affair was later resolved without a trial.

6. Apple vs. Microsoft

Apple Museum (Prague) Apple II Platinum (1987).
Back in 1987, this Apple II Platinum was a technological wonder.
Benoît Prieurm, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

When Microsoft released Windows 2.0 in December 1987, Apple Inc. went ballistic. Apple claimed Microsoft had copied the look and feel of the graphical user interface (GUI) used on its own Macintosh operating system. Apple filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in March 1988, kicking off a four-year legal dispute. The court finally ruled in favor of Microsoft, stating Apple’s arguments failed on the basis of originality. Some ideas were seen to be basic elements of a GUI desktop, including windows, icon images, menus and the ability to open and close objects.

7. Apple vs. Google

The smartphone patent wars have been raging since 2009, and pretty much every smartphone manufacturer has been involved at some time. It’s no surprise, as a new smartphone can contain hundreds of thousands of patents, creating a tangled web of intellectual property disputes. Apple and Google have been going at it for years, the argument mainly revolving around the Android mobile operating system, which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs called a “stolen product.” Finally, in 2014, the two companies agreed to settle all patent litigation between them, ending one of technology’s highest-profile lawsuits. For now, at least.

8. Adidas vs. Payless Shoesource Inc. and Shoe Branding Europe

A pair of feet wearing white Adidas sneakers
Who knew three simple stripes could cause so many legal complications?

How do you trademark three stripes? That’s the problem Adidas has been facing in both the U.S. and Europe, with varying results. In 2008, Adidas took Payless Shoesource Inc. to court, arguing the company’s two- and four-stripe designs were copied from the classic Adidas three-stripe design, but with one stripe added or removed. Adidas won the case and Payless was ordered to pay a hefty $304.6 million for trademark infringement. In Europe, however, things didn’t go so well. In 2016, Shoe Branding Europe applied to have Adidas’s trademark annulled, arguing it wasn’t distinctive enough. The EU intellectual property office sided with Shoe Branding Europe.

9. Dyson vs. Hoover

In 1999, the British inventor James Dyson took the Hoover Company to court. He argued that the vacuum cleaner industry giant had copied his Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, which had become the fastest-selling vacuum cleaner ever made in the UK. The two-year-long case became the David vs. Goliath battle of the floor-cleaning industry. Dyson came out on top, first rejecting an offer to settle the claim for £1 million, and later accepting a settlement offer of £4 million plus £2 million in legal costs.

10. Mattel vs. MGA Entertainment

A Barbie doll posed as if playing tennis.
Both tennis courts and legal courts are no match for Barbie.
ErikaWittlieb, needpix // Public Domain

Few people could have expected that the case of Barbie vs. Bratz would turn into one of the most epic intellectual property disputes of recent years. It all began with Carter Bryant, a 31-year-old designer who was working for Mattel, the creators of Barbie, in 2000. While working for Mattel, he came up with the idea for Bratz. He then sold his idea to MGA Entertainment, one of Mattel’s competitors, two weeks before he quit Mattel. Bratz became an international hit and the first dolls to rival Barbie since she first strutted onto the scene back in 1959. Chaos ensued: Mattel sued Bryant, then Mattel sued MGA, then MGA sued Mattel. Damages were awarded then reversed, counterclaims flew in every direction, and the whole thing was a mess. Things didn’t settle down until 2013, with no one entirely sure who had come out on top— save for the legions of lawyers involved in the whole debacle.

11. Napster vs. pretty much everyone in the music industry

Napster, an online sharing service for digital audio files, faced the wrath of various parties for copyright infringement and numerous other claims. In 2000, Metallica became the first band to take on Napster, in the first legal case of its type. Dr. Dre, the Recording Industry Association of America, A&M Records, and various other record companies all filed similar lawsuits, and Napster was taken down a year later.

12. Daniel Morel vs. Agence France-Presse and Getty Images

In 2010, photojournalist Daniel Morel posted his own photos of the 2010 Haiti earthquake onto his Twitter account. When Getty Images and Agence France-Presse used the images without his permission, Morel took them to court in what would become a landmark trial for online news agencies and digital journalists. Twitter’s own terms and conditions supported Morel’s case, but the trial nonetheless dragged on for three years. Morel was eventually awarded $1.2 million in damages.

13. David Slater vs. PETA, on behalf of Naruto the monkey

Self-portrait of a female Celebes crested macaque.
When it comes to protecting intellectual property, there's no monkeying around.
Self-portrait by the depicted Celebes crested macaque, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

When British nature photographer David Slater was hanging out with a group of Celebes crested macaques in Indonesia, he had no idea the storm that would come from his photography expedition. During his time with the monkeys, some of them picked up his camera and managed to take a few surprisingly good selfies. When Slater returned home, the fun photos were published in newspapers such as The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and The Guardian. An editor at Wikimedia Commons, an online photo resource for free-license and public domain images, took the selfie photographs from The Daily Mail and uploaded them to the website. When Slater discovered this a few days later, he requested their removal. But Wikimedia Commons argued that the photos belonged to the monkeys, a position it maintains to this day (the U.S. Copyright Office agrees). On images such as this one and this one, the licensing note still reads: “This file is in the public domain, because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested.” Slater was then taken to court in 2015, not by Wikimedia but by PETA, who used the “next friend” principle of law, which allows someone to sue in the name of another person—in this case, Naruto, one of the crested macaques. In 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the selfie-taking monkey, threw out the copyright lawsuit and heavily criticized PETA, stating that Naruto was “as an unwitting pawn in its ideological goals.”

7 Tips for First-Time Pet Foster Parents

Ready to open your heart and home?
Ready to open your heart and home?
vvvita/iStock via Getty Images

As more and more people became cooped up at home due to the spread of COVID-19, animal shelters throughout the country began reporting a higher number of foster applications than usual. Not only is fostering a pet a great way to help your local animal shelter, it's also a way for many people to alleviate some of the loneliness they may feel while social distancing. If you're considering fostering a cat or dog for the first time, here are seven helpful tips to keep in mind.

1. Get to know your local foster pet organization.

Spend some time researching the foster organization you’d like to work with. You want to make sure you've found a safe, reputable organization. Once you've made your choice, the shelter or foster organization will match you with an animal. As much as it’s important for the organization to feel comfortable with you—they’re trusting you to care for one of their adoptable animals, after all—you should feel comfortable checking in with them and asking any questions you may need answered. Most organizations will make themselves available for any emergencies or to answer any questions, and they’ll also typically handle veterinary services.

2. Know that each foster pet is unique.

A silly blue great Dane puppy plays with her pink ball
Every animal is special.
dmussman/iStock via Getty Images

Every animal has its own individual personality. As such, each foster pet will have its own needs. “Animals are in foster programs for a variety of reasons,” Joanne Yohannan, senior vice president of operations at New York's North Shore Animal League America, tells Mental Floss in an email. “They may be recovering from a surgery, pending a procedure, in need of socialization, or may be too young for adoption.” If possible, it’s best to do a “meet and greet” with a prospective pet. This way, you—and the fostering organization—can ensure you’re a good fit. If a meet and greet isn’t possible, let your new animal warm up to you slowly. Staying calm, being patient, and using positive reinforcement will help them adjust to their new home.

3. Give your new foster pet appropriate space.

Try to set up a special area for your new foster pet. Providing a quiet space will help them ease into their new situation gently. If you can, keep them confined to one small room at first. For tiny animals like kittens, you can even start out by having them stay in your bathroom (just make sure you don't leave the toilet lid up) [PDF].

4. Introduce your new foster pet to any animals you already have slowly.

Sleepy cat and dog sniff noses while cuddling
Sniff first, snuggle later.
Courtesy of Michael Bonassar

If you already have a pet, it may be tempting to want them and your new foster to become best buds right away. But don’t rush. Once your new foster pet has gotten used to its designated part of the house, introduce it to any other animals you have slowly. “Try letting them sniff each other through the door,” Carly Gove, volunteer coordinator and marketing assistant at Philadelphia's Morris Animal Refuge, says. Then, if they seem comfortable, after seeing each other, let the animals have supervised play dates. Make sure you keep their initial time together short, using positive reinforcement to reward positive interactions. It’s also important to ensure all animals are appropriately vaccinated—the last thing you want is for one animal to accidentally get the other one sick. Most animals in a foster care program have already been vaccinated. But if you’re fostering a kitten or puppy that’s too young to have been inoculated, you’ll need to keep them isolated. You should also make sure your existing pets are caught up on their vaccines.

5. Make sure you’re stocked up on the essentials.

Most foster organizations will provide you with everything you’ll need to care for your new animal. Make sure you’re prepared with pet food, cat litter, and toys. You’ll also need bedding, a carrier, and it’s a good idea to have a crate, especially if you’re fostering kittens or a dog. If you’re using a dog crate, the enclosure needs to be large enough that the dog can comfortably stand and move around.

6. Consider your future routine.

German Shepherd lying on floor with laptop and books in and gray cat lying on couch
Think ahead to the days when your home will no longer double as your office.
LightFieldStudios/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re fostering a pet while quarantined, make sure you’re still keeping your usual routine in mind. “Think about what your schedule will be like in one, two, or six months,” Gove says. Fostering a kitten or puppy can be a lot of work, so you need to make sure you can still care for them once you resume your typical, non-social distancing schedule. And it’s a good idea to prepare your foster pet for the day when people start leaving the house more. Puppies in particular can get separation anxiety, so you may want to have them spend some time in separate parts of the house so that they get used to not having a human around 24/7.

7. Remind yourself that your foster pet is a temporary guest.

In theory, fostering a pet is meant to be a temporary situation. But that doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier. To keep your expectations in check, remind yourself that you’re fulfilling an important role in the animal’s socialization, which will eventually help them find their forever home. “Think of it like you’re giving them a vacation from the shelter, or babysitting,” Gove suggests. And, if you do wind up growing attached to your foster pet, there’s no shame in becoming a “foster failure” and adopting your furry friend. “Sometimes foster parents end up choosing to adopt their foster pet,” Yohannan says, “a real win/win.”

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