This Week In Tyrannosaurs

I’ve written before about my love for the noble and majestic tyrannosaurus rex. Sure, it’s the Coke of dinosaurs and it’s not edgy or cool to say it’s one’s favorite dinosaur. Everybody knows that serious dinosaur hipsters go for other carnivores like Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, or Carnotaurus, but for me, it’s all about the the T.rexes. I recently got to see a T.rex skeleton for the first time during my trip to the Toronto and it was pretty awesome:

Pictured above: pretty awesome.

Which is why this article about the T.rex’s bite force has me grinning for all sorts of reasons:

Recent computer models predict that the back teeth on an adult T. rex were capable of generating a bite force between 30,000 and 60,000 Newtons. That’s about how much force you’d experience if you found yourself trapped beneath a sitting elephant. It also makes T. rex ‘s bite the most powerful of any creature to ever walk the Earth . . . Ever.

Admittedly, this still puts the T.rex out of the running compared to the Megalodon’s bite force of 100,000 newtons . . . but it sure as hell means that the T.rex could out-bite the larger Spinosaurus with its rather wimpy bite force of 30,000 newtons.

Suck it, Spinosaurus.

Jurassic Park IV: Hopes & Fears

I feel confident in saying that the shot of the Brachiosaurus in the first Jurassic Park was my generation’s “Star Destroyer” moment. A Star Destroyer moment, for the less nerdy, is the first film that showed you something truly magical through special effects, in this case, the opening shot of Princess Leia’s Rebel ship being overwhelmed by the massive Imperial Star Destroyer. Seeing that Brachiosaurus brought to life through jaw-dropping CGI was a cinematic milestone and an introduction to the worlds of possibility that we can explore through film.

Jurassic Park is an important movie to me and my affection for it remains undiminished despite the rather lackluster sequels (T. rex parents=very cool, T.rex being killed by a freaking Spinosaurus=bullshit). The leaked details about the upcoming Jurassic Park IV have me tentatively excited; cautiously optimistic, if you will.

Reasons for Optimism

  • The description of the plot sounds like a return to what made the first Jurassic Park great. We’re back at the theme park and this time, it’s up and running in full swing. This is something I always wanted to see; how much worse can it get when the dinosaurs break free while the park is filled with tourists, instead of just previewers?
  • The trained dinosaurs also intrigue me. I think it has the potential to carry forward some of Crichton’s core concepts in that humans like to meddle with things we don’t understand. The problem was that the idea that formed the core of the first film was worked to death like a piece of used gum by the third. The idea of trying to “tame” dinosaurs has the potential for a fresh new critique of how humans interact with animals and the dangerous aspect of anthropomorphizing these creatures.
  • The T.rex is back. I love me some T.rexes and all films with T.rexes are better than films that do not have T.rexes.

Reasons for Caution

  • The description of the exhibit for seeing underwater dinosaurs (well, previously extinct marine reptiles, technically) sounds cool, but the description of it being “Sea World-like” immediately made me think of the premise for Jaws 3, which was absolutely terrible.
  • The “main antagonist” dinosaur will be something new, which has the potential to be either awesome or awful. The last time they tried to replace the T.rex as the main antagonist, we were given a Spinosaurus that was supposed to be more dangerous “because it was bigger” even though it was a fish-eater that lacked the power of a rex’s bite.

I’ll go see it either way, of course, and these leaked details have all been unconfirmed. Who knows what will change between now and 2015, assuming any of these details are even accurate to begin with? Either way, I’ll be looking forward to the next movie; it’s nice to see this movie finally get out of development hell.