Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

13 "Jurassic World" Events Ranked By Scientific Absurdity

Never should have thrown those cuttlefish bits into that dino-hybrid... SPOILERS!

Posted on June 15, 2015, at 4:50 p.m. ET

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

Jurassic World was awesome. It features a hyperintelligent raptor-tyrannosaur hybrid, velociraptor mercenaries, and a motorcycle-riding, raptor-taming Chris Pratt.

Universal Pictures

To get some scientific insight into the films, I spoke with two people who know a thing or two about dinos:

Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, soon-to-be-professor at Yale, who recently made headlines (along with his doctoral adviser Arhat Abzhanov) by reversing some aspects of bird evolution to re-create a dinosaur-like snout in developing chickens.

Steve Brusatte, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, an expert on dinosaur evolution, and currently the scientist behind the National Geographic show T. rex Autopsy.

Despite the stereotype of scientists as heartless nerds lacking a sense of humor, both scientists really enjoyed Jurassic World.

I asked each of them about the science behind some events in the film.

The events are ranked on a scale of Camera-Wielding Velociraptors. One raptor is the least absurd, 10 raptors is the most absurd.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

1. There are no paleontologists employed by Jurassic World.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): Throughout the film, there are plenty of lab-coat wearing scientists, but none of them is identified as a paleontologist.

The reaction: The insight of a paleontologists into these creatures “would probably be fairly limited … because these are new creations," said Brusatte. "Chris Pratt, you know, or some military guy, is probably better placed than a paleontologist to handle these things.”

Absurdity ranking: 1 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

2. The velociraptors are capable of being trained.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): Putting aside the well-documented fact that the velociraptors in the movie are too big and are more likely based off of a closely related dinosaur called Deinonychus, the fact remains that Chris Pratt is taming and training these raptor-dinos for purposes of dubious morality.

The reaction: According to Brusatte, if there were any dinosaur that you would want to train as a weapon, the raptor kind would be the way to go. “These raptor dinosaurs were very intelligent, had great senses, and were very active, dynamic animals,” he explained. “Their brain size to body size is, in general, kind of like a dog's. So if you can domesticate dogs, you could probably do it to dinosaurs.”

Absurdity ranking: 2 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

3. The pterosaurs fly in a large pack.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): After the Indominus rex breaks into the Jurassic World aviary, a swarm of pterosaurs escape in a group (resembling some sort of Hitchcockian nightmare) through a hole made by a crashing helicopter.

The reaction: Many pterosaur ancestors and descendants were social, Bhullar said, so "it’s likely pterosaurs were social as well.” He added that "there are several pterosaur bonebeds that appear to show individuals all from the same species and from many different stages of life. ... They probably did like being near other members of their kind, and it's not at all unlikely that they would have flown in groups."

Absurdity ranking: 2 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed
Will Varner for BuzzFeed

4. The velociraptors keep up with a motorcycle driven by Chris Pratt.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): After a reluctant Chris Pratt finally agrees to accompany his trusty velociraptors on an Indominus rex hunt, he grabs a motorcycle and speeds effortlessly with the pack through the Costa Rican jungle, seemingly without any kind of trail.

The reaction: “It depends how fast the motorcycle is going,” Brusatte joked. “We can be pretty confident they were fast, as far as dinosaurs went," he said, speculating that they went around 20 mph when running. “I mean they had long, slender limbs and really lightly built skeletons, and they have a body that looks like it is optimized for speed.”

Absurdity ranking: 3 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

5. The velociraptors attack their victims slasher-style.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): In all of the Jurassic Park movies, the raptors use their sharp claws to grab onto and (along with their teeth) tear apart their victims.

The reaction: Raptors did not use their claws in the way portrayed in the movie, Bhullar told me. "They could not turn their palms down," Bhullar explained. "Their palms were permanently facing inward, and that primed the hands to perform this terrible killing stroke that you can't do with the orientation of the hands of the Jurassic Park raptors." It was crocodile-jaw fast, he said. “It would have been a terrifying grab, shredding anything in front of it, sinking the claws in, priming it for a bite.”

Absurdity ranking: 4 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

6. The head of Indominus rex is weird and emaciated.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): Unlike many of the other dinosaurs in the film, the head of the hybrid monster-dinosaur Indominus rex is kind of emaciated. You can see, through its skin, places where there are holes in its skull.

The reaction: “Lots of dinosaurs are very inaccurately reconstructed as having the hollows that are present in the skull showing through when the skin is over them,” Bhullar told me. “But in truth those holes would be filled by sinus and muscles and other structures. ... We have holes in our head, and they don’t show unless we are starving.”

Absurdity ranking: 4 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries

Will Varner for BuzzFeed
Will Varner for BuzzFeed

7. Many characters are under the impression that the T. rex has poor eyesight.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): In a throwback to the earlier films, the characters are concerned about the Indominus on the loose because it was reportedly engineered to have better vision than a T. rex, partly due to its thermal vision. In the early films, the prevailing logic was that you could hide from a T. rex so long as you didn’t move.

The reaction: T. rex "had binocular vision like we do, so it could see depth perception,” Brusatte explained. "We know that simply from the geometry of the skull … it’s similar to so many different types of predators around today, so it would have had good eyesight.” More than ‪likely, Brusatte argued, eyesight for either T. rex or Indominus rex wouldn’t have been a big problem.

‪Absurdity ranking: 4 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries‬

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

8. The mososaur is huge and it heroically kills the Indominus rex.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): In a scene rivaling the iconic final T. rex scene in the original Jurassic Park, a fucking MASSIVE mosasaur ultimately kills the Indominus rex. (Not pictured above, obvs.)

The reaction: Brusatte told me that biggest mosasaurs we know of were about 50 feet long. “Hey, there might have been bigger ones out there,” he said, adding, “We know they were top of the food chain at the end of the time of the dinosaurs.” He told me that they were known to eat large fish, perhaps some sharks, and even birds from time to time, but probably not other dinosaurs.

Absurdity ranking: 6 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed
Will Varner for BuzzFeed

9. Pterosaurs pick humans up with their feet and drop them to the ground.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): After the pterosaurs fly the coop, so to speak, they make a beeline for the park’s visitor center, where they dive down violently, impale their victims, or pick them up and drop them. It’s pretty wild stuff, really.

The reaction: "A bird the size of a person couldn't carry a person. A HUMAN the size of a human can't generally carry other humans, and we are ground-based," Bhullar argued. He also made the point that that pterosaurs “are delicate animals," asking, "If it’s going to come crashing down on something, what’s it going to hit it with? Its super delicate paper-thin head? Its weird little flat-footed feet?” Still, he cautioned, they certainly could "mess you up."

Absurdity ranking: 7 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

10. The InGen lab has all kinds of weird shit floating around in tanks.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): B.D. Wong’s lab is where the genetic magic happens. There are a bunch of mini-dinosaurs apparently living in fish tanks, as well as some errant bodiless spinal cords apparently being nurtured for future development.

The reaction: Bhullar told me that while you can grow things like chicken or maybe even alligator embryos in tanks outside of an egg, “these things aren’t commonly displayed in the center of a lab like some cocktail party talking piece.” He also had some harsh words about the spine. “The spine growing sorta irritated me,” he said. "You can’t just grow a spine.”

Absurdity ranking: 7 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

11. A hybrid dino is built from the genes of a T. rex, velociraptor, some other dinosaurs, tree frogs, and cuttlefish.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): Indominus rex, the archvillain of the film (besides the people who created it) is an entirely human-designed dinosaur bred from the traits of multiple extinct and living creatures. The goal: ALL the money.

The reaction: Even if, magically, we actually had access to the entire T. rex and Velociraptor genome, Bhullar told me we couldn’t do this kind of thing right now, “unless there are some projects going on at DARPA or some other classified organizations that we are not privy to.” But he added that “we are on the cusp of that sort of technology.” Besides the lack of dino DNA, he told me, the two big sticking points are figuring out exactly how each gene and the proteins they create work, and being able to synthesize an entire genome.

Absurdity ranking: 8 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed
Will Varner for BuzzFeed

12. Geneticists create a dinosaur that can camouflage itself.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): The Indominus is a wily beast. When the Asset Containment Unit is first on the hunt for the escaped dino, they find that it has been hiding by mimicking its surroundings. Later, scientists explain this possibility as the result of some cuttlefish genes they put all up in there.

The reaction: “You can’t just put a cuttlefish gene, or even a set of cuttlefish genes, into something that doesn’t have cuttlefish skin,” explained Bhullar. “To change colors would require a cuttlefish-like system, and that would require redoing the nervous system and maybe getting rid of the spinal cord. The filmmakers' inspiration, he theorized, probably came from searching YouTube for "amazing color-changing animals."

Absurdity ranking: 9 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

13. None of the dinosaurs had any feathers.

Universal Pictures

The scene(s): Throughout the whole movie, nary a dinosaur sports even the hint of a feather.

The reaction: With respect to all that theoretical genetics stuff, Bhullar said that he “wouldn’t put any limits on human ingenuity.” But, he added, “history is history ... I’m not a postmodernist — there is a reality.” And when it comes to that reality, most dinosaurs, including T. rex and velociraptors, had feathers. There is no debate about it. Both scientists were emphatic about this point.

Absurdity ranking: 10 (out of 10) camera-wielding velociraptor-mercenaries.

Will Varner for BuzzFeed

Regardless, Jurassic World was still totally...

Universal Pictures

ADVERTISEMENT