The Most Ridiculous Scene in Jurassic Park

What do paleontologists think about the movie Jurassic Park? Like most professionals seeing a movie that's close to home, they spot a lot of inaccuracies, but are overall pleased to have a movie about their subject. Paleontologists can deal with the fantasy of viable dino DNA, and they can forgive the dinosaurs without feathers, but what really makes them cringe is the odd depiction of what they actually do.

In the most outrageous scene in the story, a field crew quickly brushes sand off a Deinonychus skeleton as if the dinosaur were a dusty curio.

I wish that digging dinosaurs were as easy as Jurassic Park made it look. I really do. The “raptor” fossil—called Velociraptor in the film, but really a Deinonychus to paleo pedants such as myself—that Grant and Sattler’s team exposes is buried under the thinnest coating of sand. And the complete, articulated skeleton is so sturdy that one of the field assistants can stick his grubby hands right into the dinosaur’s nasal cavity and flick out the sand. Watch the scene carefully. It’s the only time I know of that someone picking a dinosaur’s nose has ever been shown in a feature film.

Recovering dinosaur bones from the earth is an exacting, painstaking (yet rewarding) process. Brian Switek tells us what it's really like at Slate. Link


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