“Early Jurassic Park” – Dilophosaurus wetherilli
Whilst working on their YouTube video explaining about the newly published scientific paper on Dilophosaurus, team members at Everything Dinosaur needed a visual to explain the importance of this North American dinosaur to palaeontologists as they try to improve their understanding about Early Jurassic dinosaur biota. Interpreting Dilophosaurus fossil material has been hampered by their fragmentary nature and poor preservation. Attempting to summarise the research since the University of California field work from 1942, it was decided to modify an iconic book cover “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton. The new research suggests that Dilophosaurus may have looked very different, it was probably not a weak-jawed scavenger but an apex predator, the most dangerous dinosaur in the ecosystem.
The Importance of Dilophosaurus wetherilli – An Important Dinosaur from the Early Jurassic
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Dilophosaurus was popularised in the famous dinosaur movie “Jurassic Park” which was released in 1993. It also appeared in the novel written by Michael Crichton, upon which the film was based. The small venomous dinosaur with its neck frill, reminiscent of the frilled-neck lizard of Australia (Chlamydosaurus kingii) was regarded as a major departure from the science by many movie-goers although Dilophosaurus played a prominent role in one of the most significant scenes of the whole franchise when Dennis Nedry, the computer programmer who had been bribed to smuggle dinosaur embryos off the resort, was attacked and eaten.
The Dilophosaurus from the Film “Jurassic Park”
Picture Credit: Universal Pictures
In the newly published paper (Marsh and Rowe 2020), Dilophosaurus is depicted as a more robust, powerful animal and as far as the fossil record known to date goes, Dilophosaurus represents the largest terrestrial vertebrate known from the Early Jurassic of North America.
A Life Reconstruction of Dilophosaurus wetherilli Based on the 2020 Scientific Interpretation
Picture Credit: University of Texas at Austin
To read Everything Dinosaur’s blog post about the new scientific paper: Time to Beef Up Dilophosaurus.
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