The Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1993’s classic action film Jurassic Park was an awe-inspiring monster and a special effects breakthrough, but chances are, it didn’t resemble the real dinosaur very closely.
New scientific research has proposed an updated image of the famed T-Rex, as explained in The Guardian. Evidence suggests that instead of a mouthful of fangs sticking out like a crocodile’s, the giant predator had lips which covered its teeth whenever its mouth was closed. This would cause its head to look more like a lizard than the iconic T-Rex face that has been used in media interpretations for decades. “If you just imagine the Komodo dragon scaled up with a 5ft-long skull, it is not going to look much different from something like a T rex,” said one author of the study, University of Portsmouth’s Dr. Mark Witton. The Komodo dragon, native to Indonesia, is the largest lizard alive today.
To find answers about T-Rex’s true appearance, researchers studied a tooth from the dinosaur and found it largely free from the type of wear and tear that it would have shown if it had been constantly on the outside of the mouth while T-Rex had been alive. “No animals can repair or replace worn enamel, and yet the thin enamel of tyrannosaurs remains intact even though some retained their teeth well over a year,” said Dr. Witton.
Jurassic Park’s Centerpiece Dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus Rex
Dr. Witton even cited the depiction of T-Rex in Jurassic Park, saying, “We are basically still living in the shadow of Jurassic Park [from] 30 years ago… We need to move away from this toothy lipless look for things like Tyrannosaurus and towards these animals having more lizard-like faces.”
Dinosaurs have always been a popular subject in speculative fiction, from early sci-fi literature to children’s cartoons, but for many people, Jurassic Park — along with its sequels and spinoffs — remains the definitive image of the extinct reptiles. Based on the 1990 novel by Michael Crichton, Stephen Spielberg’s live-action movie featured a theme park where dinosaurs had been brought back into the world through genetic engineering. Although primarily focused on the adventures of the characters when the dinosaurs break free of their enclosures, the film also followed Crichton’s book in imagining a superficially plausible scenario for science to recreate extinct creatures.
Jurassic Park spawned two sequels, both widely panned, and has lately seen a resurgence through the Jurassic World trilogy. The newer films take up much later in the same continuity, exploring a world where the dinosaur theme park has become a successful industry, only to accidentally release its creatures into the wild so that they begin to reproduce all over the globe. Unrelated movies have also made use of modern special effects to create realistic dinosaurs, most recently Adam Driver’s 65, but so far, Crichton and Spielberg’s vision is still the most familiar.
Whatever may change with scientific advances, Jurassic Park has supplied a vision of T-Rex that seems to be indelible.
Source: The Guardian
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