Thursday, November 27, 2014

Jurassic World should be called Kaiju World

So like all other palaeo-geeks, I've found I've been sucked into the Jurassic World trailer, like a bystander witnessing a bus full of orphans crashing into a train full of TNT...

Now of course I'm... displeased... to understate it, by the lack of unfeathered, anatomically broken, boring retro dinosaurs. However that's kind of old none surprising news by this point, given the director's public statements from a while ago.

For me seeing the trailer held a single moment of giddy joy, when the Mosasaur leapt out of the water... Sadly it was short lived. (and no it wasn't due to the question: "how the hell did a mosquito bite a marine reptile?" though that too adds to the sheer stupidity of JP4)

I found the moment and the giddy sapped from me seconds after this exact scene played out (and the trailer went to the chasm of stupidity that was the hybrid threat). I realized the movie didn't need to invent a killer smart Dinosaur hybrid (or to quote Sealab "I took nature's perfect killing machine and needlessly turned it into a robot") to be scary.

They'd invented a movie worthy monster right here in this scene!

The reason being the meal for the Mosasaur.

The trailer goes out of its way to hammer in that's a Great White Shark. The trailer goes out of its way to emphasis this Mosasaur can swallow the Great White in one gulp (which at least is scientifically accurate...). The trailer goes out of its way to hammer all this at me, a rather avid Mosasaur fan... Triggering an amusing thought in my head.

Just how many Blue Whales big is this Mosasaur?

Now the answer wasn't that hard to sort out... However PLEASE NOTE, this was done in a tongue and cheek manner. I'm not claiming scientific accuracy or methodology. Why bother, the answer is so ridiculous (either way) it is a waste of time to try and do completely accurately. I'd rather myself and others spent their time on useful things ;)

 I quickly set up this diagram. Step 1 was to grab a full body shot of a Mosasaur (by myself) and scale it up so the head was the same size as the movie still. This gave me the whole Mosasaur. (and yeah I know his tail is not straight, again this was meant as a fast and loose demonstration of the absurdity on display, not a scientific paper).

Then I took the Shark and subbed a scaled diagram from wikipedia for simplicity, and measured out my full sized Mosasaur. Then going with a biggish size Great White at 6m I could measure out a Blue Whale and the largest known Mosasaurs (another reason I played fast and loose with the mosasaur diagram, is there is contention on the largest genus and specimens among Mosasaurs).

In conclusion I ended up with a Mosasaur that no matter what the size the adult shark is, gives me a marine reptile much much larger than a Blue Whale. That to me puts it into Kaiju size. I'd rather have seen this guy in Pacific Rim then a Jurassic Park film.

Here is a Mosasaur in a much better scale.

Taniwhasaurus with human. Taniwhasaurus by Craig Dylke
Driver photo by Unknown (I lost their name in a harddrive collapse... if you know let me know so I can reapply the credit ;) )

UPDATE March. 4, 2016

This post has proven to be by and large the most popular I've ever posted on ART Evolved. So I thought I could afford to spend the time to this really right.

So I present a more accurate and thorough version of the size comparison...

For all the apologists, here is the due diligence with all the possible shark sizes included.

However the moment our shark drops below 6 meters it does NOT have to be a Great White, it can be a Tiger shark. Which means the film makers emphasised an unimportant thing when they showed the Great White multiple times if it was a smaller Great White.

However to back up my initial conclusion this clip has a Mosasaur easily at LEAST as big as my biggest... You'll note how tiny the humans are in the front row (or better yet notice how the back row humans are the correct size for a real mosasaur).  

And please just try and tell me it is supposed to be a small juvenile Great White, after looking at this promotional poster...

Don't believe me go watch the movie... you're welcome Universal 


Michael Hoskin said...

Actually, that Mosasaur looks like he jumped the fence from an Asylum Megashark film.

BlacknickSculpture said...

Not too mention they'd have a hard time feeding a creature of that size on a diet of GW sharks. There not what you'd call prodigious breeders.

Joe Richardson said...

I wonder how InGen cloned the mosasaurus since they are known to have given live birth (Right?). Maybe they crawl up onto land to lay eggs in the universe that the JP franchise takes place in (perhaps before they grow to outsize blue whales?).

Joe Richardson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Timothy Ellrod said...

Do we actually know the size of the great white being used?

It occurred to me when watching the trailer that there's no reason this shark has to be 6 meters long. Mature adults can be anywhere from 4-6 meters, and if the shark is a juvenile it could be even smaller.

If the shark is a 3 meter juvenile, then the mosasaur drops from Kaiju size to something far more reasonable.

Granted, that's still bigger than any mosasaur known, but given that this is a captive animal, it may well grow bigger than its wild kin, what with vets to take care of disease and a steady supply of food.

@BlacknickSculpture I doubt it's fed exclusively on great whites. That's probably just for the Shamu Show thing it's apparently starring in.

Craig Dylke said...

Timothy- I'm trying to be polite in saying this, but perhaps before commenting on something you could be courteous enough to actually read the explanation provided first.

As I say very clearly in the post:

"this was done in a tongue and cheek manner. I'm not claiming scientific accuracy or methodology. Why bother, the answer is so ridiculous (either way) it is a waste of time to try and do completely accurately. I'd rather myself and others spent their time on useful things "


Craig Dylke said...

Timothy- and no, with a 3 metre shark you still do not have a reasonable sized Mosasaur.

The largest known Mosasaurs have a skull in the 2 metre range. The skull of the JW would therefore have to be larger than 3 metres to eat the shark. That would make it 1/3 larger then the largest mosasaur...
Therefore you are still looking at an animal the size of a blue whale... which is not a reasonable size for an active predator.

Timothy Ellrod said...

I just checked back in and...

"I'm trying to be polite in saying this, but perhaps before commenting on something you could be courteous enough to actually read the explanation provided first."

It seems I made you angry somehow. I'm very sorry for that, and rest assured I certainly wasn't trying to do so.

"and no, with a 3 metre shark you still do not have a reasonable sized Mosasaur."

To be fair, I didn't just say "reasonable", I said "more reasonable". What I meant by this was not that the mosasaur in the trailer would actually match any specimen known, but rather that a blue whale-sized mosasaur made more sense (relatively), than one that could wrestle with Godzilla.

Craig Dylke said...

Timothy- If I were actually mad, I wouldn't have published the comments in the first place. I moderate the site these days.

I'm confused as to what your intentions in that first comment were though...

As either they were meant to be slightly confrontational... I explained WHY I picked 6 meters in the post

Or you didn't bother reading the post, and commented anyways. Which is honestly a bit on the rude side in my opinion.

I'm well aware of your arguments, I've got them elsewhere on the web, and thus why I explained and disclaimed my approach here.

Had you acknowledged that I'd gone over my rational, I wouldn't be so prickly about it.

and no a Blue Whale sized Mosasaur is not more reasonable then a Godzilla sized one. Since you started this all off with a nitpick. A Sperm Whale sized one is about as big as I'd accept within plausible, unless some darn good evidence for exceeding this top range for mega marine predators is presented.

Malguirus said...

Wait... Jurassic Park movies are unrealistic? No wai! :V

These things were never intended to be documentaries, you know. The monsters in Jurassic Park aren't even pretending to be real animals, all of them are chimeras made of various bits of dinosaur and frog DNA. Theme park monsters. The new hybrid isn't any different from what they've been doing since the beginning.

Or did you conveniently decide to forget about the frilled, acid-spitting, undersized Dilophosaurs and the chameleon-like Carnotauruses? If you're going to have a selective memory about these things, then why not just choose to forget that the Mosasaur thing is the size of Godzilla?

What's really happening is that over the years, the first movie became like ALIENS. It was never NOT an abysmally shitty, stupid, terrible B-movie, but because it's old people just sort of choose to cut it some slack. Now when Avatar/JP4 appears, everyone jumps on the hate bandwagon despite the fact that it's exactly the same James Cameron/Jurassic Park movie you've already seen over and over again. No different, no more or less stupid or embarrassing.

Personally, I enjoy terrible B-movies, and I'm excited to see the new Jurassic Park and all of it's weird, dumb "dinosaurs." All you need to do is check your brain at the door, and just enjoy it for what it is. It's like a fart joke, or potato chips. There's no real substance there, but there's no harm in having a little fun.

Craig Dylke said...

Malguirus- Why spend 100's of millions of dollars on something without substance?

Since when does substance NOT have to be fun?

Why use Dinosaurs, unless the things actually are Dinosaurs?

If you want movie monsters, why not just use and make up monsters?

The first Jurassic Park had at least a good 60% substance (the Dilophosaur funny enough would be the thing you NEVER see anyone, myself included, praise... so why bring it up as proof of something?). JP was revolutionary for bringing actual Dinosaur science (of its time) to the screen.

What do all the JP films bring to the table?

At their best old out of date early 90's science. Fine for those that were made in the early 90's, not okay for those made afterwards!

At their worst totally made up movie monsters called Dinosaurs (or marine reptiles)... Which again funny enough, this new film is already clearly way ahead of the pack on.

Want proof you can make a Dinosaur theme park movie/show that is both fun and full of substance, watch Nigel Marvin's Prehistoric Park. I don't watch JP anymore. I turn on Marvin. While it is outdated these days, I know if they remade it, it'd be completely overhauled to match current understandings.

John D. said...

It's like Alan Grant said at some point during the film series (paraphrasing) - what Hammond created are not dinosaurs, but theme park monsters. I'm pretty sure this line was used to justify the complete abandonment of recent scientific discoveries in the later films. I don't really care though - I never personally watched these movies for their educational or philosophical aspects (that's what the books are for) - I just want to see people eaten by large reptiles.

Evan Pan-Bao said...

The wonders of forced perspective. Can make creature appear bigger than they actually are. By all accounts, the Jurassic World Mosasaur is about 60 feet long, not much bigger than the largest known Mosasaur.

Craig Dylke said...

And we now have the film and tada the mosasaur changes size throughout the film.

Every single time it is too big.

So can you please take all this useless apologist nonsense and read some real mosasaur science. You'll enjoy it more then the film if you really are interested in them anyways :p

Justin O said...

was there any marine predator bigger then a mosasaur??? if so what is it and what would it feed on??

Craig Dylke said...

Justin O- Yes it is called a Sperm Whale, and it mostly eats squid (which while obvious due to our continual exposure to this fact, but this is a huge advantage over a swallow water hunting Mosasaur)

Sperm Whales by length and more importantly WEIGHT are still larger than the largest known Mosasaurs.

Whales trounce ALL marine reptiles in size. This is mostly due to energy efficient filter feeding.

When it comes to predation, only whales that catch deep sea cephelopods get to Mosasaur sizes in the modern era. Killer Whales are the largest extant swallow water predatory whales... However Killer Whales are funny enough about the same size as MOST of the bigger Mosasaurs. Only a few behemoths existed even back then.

Nima said...

Leave it to Spielberg to just invent big horrible dreadful things out of thin air with no understanding of science or biomechanics... yet again.

And there's not a single species in the movie that was described in the past 30 years. There have been many far more interesting critters found than T. rexes and raptors in the past decade alone. That would have been far more interesting than gene-splicing dinosaurs and inventing ridiculous 20-pound helicopter-piercing pterosaurus that somehow have opposable toes AND 200 pounds of lift power.

Nima said...

oops I mean pterosaurs, not -saurus.