The Prehistoric Animals of “Jurassic World” – The Rapid Growth of Indominus rex
There are only another twenty-three days to wait before the movie “Jurassic World” opens at cinemas. To say that this film has been eagerly awaited is a bit of an understatement, we expect things to reach fever pitch over the next three weeks or so. In this febrile atmosphere, team members wanted to comment on an aspect of the movie, the fourth in the “Jurassic Park” franchise, that has not been discussed to any great degree. Now we know this is pure science fiction, the extraction of ancient DNA from amber (or copal, the pre-cursor to amber for that matter), is extremely controversial but if we take all this with a pinch of salt, what gets us is the phenomenal growth rate of the genetically engineered dinosaurs.
Take for example, the new hybrid dinosaur developed by those scientists formerly of InGen and now working for the Masrani Corporation (the fictional conglomerate which owns and runs “Jurassic World”).
Fearsome “super-beast” Indominus rex
Picture Credit: Universal Studios
The growth rate for this hybrid dinosaur, which seems to be made up of a variety of Theropod dinosaurs as well as genetic material from a number of extant creatures, is phenomenal. In trailers released to promote “Jurassic World”, Dr. Wu the leading geneticist behind the development of this new type of prehistoric animal, states that this dinosaur was designed to be “bigger than a T. rex.“. In the film, it is believed to be around twelve metres long, a fraction smaller than an adult female Tyrannosaurus rex.
If the project to develop a genetically modified dinosaur was only given the go ahead sometime in 2012, this new species exhibits an accelerated growth rate. It seems to have grown much more rapidly than any other large Theropod. It was Masrani’s Chief Executive Officer, Simon Masrani, who announced that the company had been able to successfully engineer a new species, but that was only last year, so within twelve months the subject of this project has developed into a very big animal indeed!
At Everything Dinosaur, we have attempted to map the growth rate of Indominus rex against that of Tyrannosaurus rex. This work is highly speculative, but we have tried to postulate the growth rates based on the timeline stated by Masrani Corporation and plotted this against the postulated growth rate for a large tyrannosaurid based on the current research. At least in terms of growth rate, this is a no contest, I. rex wins hands down (or should that be claws down)?
Comparing the Growth Rates of Indominus rex and Tyrannosaurus rex
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Quite a bit of research has been conducted on the ontogeny (growth) of dinosaurs, such as Late Cretaceous Theropods, an example being Tyrannosaurus rex. It has been suggested that T. rex did not reach adult size until it got to its twenties. It may even have had a growth spurt in its teenage years just like us humans. Compare this to the genetic dinosaur hybrid Indominus rex, it reaches twelve metres in length in the summer of 2015, that means in three years or so it has had a spectacular growth spurt.
How we love the movies! Of course, this is a science fiction film, the writers and film makers can do what they want, after all, it’s only CGI. If they want a phenomenally quick growing dinosaur, then that is their prerogative. When did science actually get in the way of a good film?
We suspect that I. rex will meet its demise at the end of the picture. Not that we know anything, but just like the “raptors” in the first “Jurassic Park” film (1993),who were about to attack Dr. Grant and company, when a bigger predator intervened, we suspect that another dinosaur might be responsible for the extinction of Indominus rex.
We shall have to wait and see…
As for certification, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has given “Jurassic World” a 13 certificate for it contains “intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.” We are not sure about the UK certification (British Board of Film Classification), but we would expect this film to have a 12A certificate.