If I built a dinosaur theme park like Jurassic Park, I have a few ideas of what to include. At the front gate, I would build a statue dedicated to Michael Crichton, the man who first presented us with the idea of bringing dinosaurs back to life. There would be a natural history museum that would rival the Smithsonian and will house fossils from all throughout history. There will be the largest prehistory themed gift shop in the world, selling anything from DVDs, books, toys, and actual fossils. The food court would have the most diverse menu and choice of restaurants of any theme park.
Now we come to the fun part of the park: the animals. For the dinosaurs, Ice Age creatures, and other large animals, there would be a series of safari parks. The vehicles that would go through the safari would be heavily armor-plated yet have big enough windows for the passengers to see the wildlife. Next, there would be a section that houses the small creatures such as prehistoric insects, reptiles, and amphibians. For the flying creatures, there would be an aviary and would house prehistoric birds, pterosaurs, and flying mammals. Finally, there would be a Sea World-like section that would house the marine creatures such as prehistoric whales, sharks, fish, cephalopods, and marine reptiles.
Overall, I am picturing a theme park that will not solely feature dinosaurs, but all animals throughout prehistory. Dinosaurs were only one section of prehistory so I would like a theme parks that features all sections. If I write a story about a prehistoric theme park, I would want it to feature all of these attractions and more.
In some of my earlier posts, I considered the possibility of doing my own dinosaur theme park story, but I now know that I need to do something more unique than that if I want this story to succeed. This will not be a theme park story. Instead, I am thinking of basing this story on humanity’s desire to prevent their own extinction as well as our mortality as a species. By reversing the extinction of prehistoric species, they might hope to discover the secret of preventing humanity’s extinction. However, I have been doing research lately and I discovered that it is not just dinosaurs scientists are hoping to bring back, but more recently extinct animals as well such as mammoths and saber-toothed cats. They are not using cloning like in Jurassic Park, but other scientific methods that involve combining prehistoric DNA with modern animal DNA, resulting in the creation of hybrid creatures. In addition to highlighting the mortality of the human race, I will also be toying with the idea of invasive species and how they change and sometimes destroy the world around them. As a child, I have been a huge fan of dinosaurs and prehistory so this will be a fun way to connect with my inner child.
In Jurassic Park, they introduced the concept of salvaging prehistoric DNA from fossils and amber. I learned that this is only partially true in real life. A group of scientists tried to extract DNA like the scientists in Jurassic Park, but they used a different method than in the movie. In the movie, scientists drilled through amber to gain access to the DNA. In real life, scientists sterilized the amber before coating it in liquid nitrogen, which cracked the amber open. They did get DNA, but it was insect instead of dinosaur and it was only extremely small amounts. Later on, scientists cracked open Tyrannosaurus bones to find intact blood vessels and bone cells inside. However, like the amber experiments, there was only an extremely small amount of DNA that could be salvaged, which was nowhere near enough for cloning like in Jurassic Park. Still, these experiments gave me some ideas for my dinosaur theme park story idea. Even though the DNA samples were small, they may still be of use. For example, while retro-engineering birds back into dinosaur-like creatures, you could theoretically splice the embryos with whatever dinosaur DNA that could be salvaged, which could make them even more dinosaur-like. They still will be nothing like the dinosaurs that existed in the past, but they will be the next best thing. With the insect DNA from the amber, you could splice it into modern insects to make hybrids between prehistoric insects and modern ones, which would make good attractions for an insect house like what you find in any zoo.
Out of the many birds out there, I think the most interesting candidate for a reverse engineering project would be the cassowary. The reason for this is because the cassowary is already VERY dinosaur-like in appearance. One look at its eyes and you see the eyes of a dinosaur. Also, the cassowary has powerful scaly legs and feet tipped with sickle-shaped claws like a raptor. Just like a raptor, when the cassowary is provoked it delivers strong kicks that have enough force to kill. In addition to those kicks, the cassowary’s claws are sharp enough to gut a grown human, which is something a Velociraptor would do. Cassowaries can run up to 30 miles per hour and jump six feet in the air. All of these traits combined make the cassowary one of the most dangerous birds in the world. Their diet consists of fruit, mice, lizards, frogs, and carrion, all of which makes them omnivores. Imagine how this animal would look if it was retro-engineered back into a true dinosaur. I will keep this in mind as I brainstorm.
Based on the information of the retro-engineering project, scientists won’t be able to bring back dinosaurs such as Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, or Stegosaurus. Instead, they can recreate dinosaurs from the Maniraptora family, which were feathered dinosaurs such as Archaeopteryx, Raptors, Ostrich dinosaurs like Gallimimus and Oviraptor, and Therizinosaurus. Once they complete the project and work the bugs out, we will be seeing “modern” versions of these animals. I will keep this in mind in the future as I brainstorm.
For those of you who are skeptical of the idea of bringing dinosaurs back, please feel free to check out this documentary from the Discovery Channel, which is how I discovered the project.
I have always been a fanatic of dinosaurs since the day I was born. As I mentioned in my previous post, there are real-life projects taking place that could potentially lead to a real-life dinosaur theme park. With this in mind, I will be paying very close attention to the progress of these projects in order to draw inspiration for my own story of a dinosaur theme park. I am thinking of making it a children’s story about a boy visiting this theme park with his grandfather while attempting to connect with his father. However, since Jurassic Park has been THE dinosaur theme park story for the 25 years, I will need to be VERY careful to not make it too similar. With this in mind, I will be keeping the story based on realism from the two real-life projects that are taking place.
In Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs were cloned by using frog DNA to fill in the gene sequence gaps or combined the DNA of various animals in order to create abominable monsters. The dinosaurs were either grown in vats or from eggs that came from who knows where. In my story idea, I will be using the concept of retro-engineering birds back into dinosaur-like creatures and the natural breeding of Ice Age animals using preserved DNA. These creatures will look nothing like the dinosaurs and megafauna that existed in the past. Instead, they will be colorful, exotic, and down-right bizarre. The “dinosaurs” will be dinosaur-like, but they will still retain traits of the modern birds they were made from. The megafauna will also be mixtures between prehistoric megafauna and their modern descendants. Overall, one could argue that these creatures will be the so-called “modern” manmade dinosaurs and megafauna.
For the moment, I still have five more projects to finish before I tackle this one, which will give me plenty of time to brainstorm ways for the story to be something new. I will keep you updated on any further developments. Wish me luck!