I just had an idea regarding my reverse engineered crocodilian in my dinosaur series. Anyone who has watched a nature documentary knows that the saltwater crocodile is capable of swimming in the open ocean. The average size of a saltwater crocodile is around 17 feet in length and weigh up to 1.1 tons. Imagine a crocodilian that is more than twice the size and weighs five times as much swimming in the open ocean. Fossil records prove that some crocodilians evolved to live in the ocean like the plesiosaurs, pliosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and mosasaurs. It would make sense for my reverse engineered crocodilian to be able to swim in the sea as well. Next time you go fishing in the sea, keep an eye out for something big, scaly, and hungry.
“Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat.”
Dr. Henry Wu, Jurassic World
A new toy line for Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous revealed what could be the mysterious genetically modified hybrid known as E750. Whether or not this is the final version of the animal is up for debate, but it is still fascinating. By examining this creature, you can see traits belonging to Carnotaurus, Velociraptor, and Indominus Rex. If I were to guess, these traits likely grant E750 the strength and durability of the Indominus Rex, the speed and intellect of a Velociraptor, and the aggression and ferocity of a Carnotaurus. When you take these features into account, we are looking at a potentially dangerous and formidable beast in Season 3 of Camp Cretaceous. If it does have the traits that I think it does, it could easily be a more frightening genetic abomination than either the Indominus Rex or the Indoraptor. Speaking of the Indoraptor, it is clear that the showrunners have taken inspiration for E750 from early concept art of the Indoraptor. With this in mind, this further reinforces the possibility that E750 is the more compact weaponized hybrid that Vic Hoskins wanted Dr. Henry Wu to make during Jurassic World. Due to this, Dr. Henry Wu may have specifically designed E750 for combat much like he did with both the Indominus Rex and the Indoraptor. The kids in Camp Cretaceous have a hard enough time living on an island full of dinosaurs. Now, they will have to deal with a weaponized genetic freak like E750 as well. I look forward to when this creature makes its big debut next month.
“Big things have small beginnings.”
The Tyrannosaurs have always been one of the most iconic family of dinosaurs ever to walk the Earth. However, their ancestral evolution largely remained a mystery until recently. Two years ago, the earliest ancestor of the Tyrannosaurs was discovered. This animal was no larger than a deer and was built for speed. Its name became Moros intrepidus, which means “harbinger of impending doom”, which is a fitting name considering what this creature’s descendants would one day become. Due to this discovery, experts theorize that Moros intrepidus lived in the shadow of larger carnivorous dinosaurs such as the carnosaurs. However, when the large theropods fell into extinction, Moros intrepidus and its kin wasted no time filling the power vacuum. Over the course of 16 million years, this one small predator evolved and diversified into over a dozen species of powerful predators including Tyrannosaurus Rex itself. This goes to show that even the mightiest of beasts come from the humblest of origins.
Easily the most iconic weapons of carnivorous dinosaurs would be their sharp teeth and deadly bite. Every group of carnivorous dinosaur had teeth that operated in a particular way. Carnosaurs had blade-shaped teeth for slicing through flesh, Tyrannosaurs had thick teeth for crushing bone, and Spinosaurs had cone-shaped teeth for gripping onto struggling prey. I will be giving each of the carnivorous dinosaurs in my dinosaur series a specialized bite. One will be equipped to crush bone, one will be designed to cut through flesh, one will be able to grip onto prey, one will have a venomous bite, one will have an anticoagulant in its saliva to make its prey bleed to death faster, and one will have a hooked beak to rip off pieces of meat while feeding. Overall, my fictional predators will literally be armed to the teeth and beautifully evolved for killing.
Although Triceratops is the most famous ceratopsian dinosaur, there were hundreds of different species. One unique species was Pachyrhinosaurus, which has gained fame after the Walking With Dinosaurs film that came out in 2013. Pachyrhinosaurus was discovered in the 1980s and fossils have been found throughout Canada and Alaska. Because of the Arctic climate it lived in, some experts theorized that Pachyrhinosaurus had a coat of feathers that kept it warm. Its head is a distinct build compared to other ceratopsians. While most ceratopsians had horns, Pachyrhinosaurus had a robust skull that seemed designed to ram into predators and smash their bones. However, recent studies theorize that Pachyrhinosaurus had a fibrous horn on its nose like a rhino’s, which would have rotted away after the animal died. Fossil records indicate that herds of Pachyrhinosaurus would migrate to and from Canada and Alaska in search of new sources of food and warmer climate. Pachyrhinosaurus was often hunted by predators such as Gorgosaurus and Nanuqsaurus, which were smaller cousins of Tyrannosaurus Rex. I like to think of Pachyrhinosaurus as the buffalo of the Cretaceous. Pachyrhinosaurus will appear in my dinosaur series as a genetic donor for the creation of my fictional ceratopsian dinosaur.
The time of the dinosaurs was a great time for crocodilians. It was an era where crocodilians grew from their archosaur ancestors and diversified into countless different species. Some became marine reptiles, some became large enough to eat giant dinosaurs, and some became regular fish eaters. One unique crocodilian that lived alongside dinosaurs was Kaprosuchus. Kaprosuchus was as big as the largest of modern crocodiles, but it had a number of distinct physical adaptations. Compared to most crocodilians, Kaprosuchus had a lean build with long slender legs. This allowed it to move swiftly on dry land in short bursts of speed. A number of its teeth were longer than others, giving them a tusk-like appearance. These teeth were often used against rivals to settle disputes and they also gave the animal additional weapons to grip onto struggling prey. I find Kaprosuchus to be a very intriguing specimen from a time long forgotten. Kaprosuchus is one of the genetic donors that are used in the creation of one of my fictional dinosaurs in my dinosaur series.
Over the years, I visited the La Brea Tar Pits several times. It is one of the biggest Pleistocene fossil hotspots in the world. The La Brea Tar Pits are what is called a “predator trap”. Large herbivores such as mammoths, ground sloths, and wooly rhinos would get stuck in the tar. Their helplessness and cries of distress become a dinner bell for opportunistic predators such as saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and short-faced bears. These carnivores would feast on the trapped herbivores until they themselves become stuck. These trapped predators then attract more predators to the tar pit. Finally, all these piled up corpses attract scavengers such as vultures, which also become stuck. This starts an endless cycle where predator and prey become stuck together in the tar, which created one of the biggest prehistoric mass graves in America. I am thinking of writing a scene in my dinosaur series where my fictional dinosaur species get caught in a similar predator trap.
One of the most intriguing examples of mammal evolution would be the horses. When they first began, the earliest horses, Propalaeotherium, were no larger than cats. These small creatures had feet that possessed four hoof-like toes. Due to their status as a prey item for predators, these animals were very skittish, ready to bolt at the slightest sound. As time went on, this small horse evolved and diversified into many forms. Some walked like gorillas and ate like pandas, some resembled rhinos and were twice as big as modern rhinos, and the rest became the horses we know today. I wonder if reverse engineered modern horses could turn into something resembling Propalaeotherium or the species that succeeded it. This will be something I will tinker with as I continue my dinosaur series.
One of the more intriguing prehistoric mammals would be Andrewsarchus, the largest terrestrial mammal carnivore that ever existed. It was as tall as a horse, weighed up to a ton, and had a 2.5 foot long skull full of crushing teeth. Even though Andrewsarchus was physically shaped like typical mammal carnivores such as wolves and hyenas, it had one unique feature that set it apart. It had hooves on its feet instead of claws. This was due to the fact that Andrewsarchus was the ancestor of hoofed animals like sheep and goats. Upon learning of this, I named a baby goat Andrew in the honor of its prehistoric ancestor. As I contemplate on what kinds of reverse engineered life forms to include in my dinosaur series, I turn my attention to Andrewsarchus and its sheep and goat descendants. If sheep and goats were reverse engineered into something resembling their prehistoric ancestors, would they become carnivores once again? That will be a question I will ponder as I continue to write.
I just finished the audiobook version of Jurassic Park and it has been such a thrill. Not only was it far more brutal than the film, but it had a lot more complexity and moving parts. While the film portrayed the dinosaurs as theme park monsters running amok, the book portrayed the dinosaurs as actual animals with their own unique behavioral patterns. The human characters were more complex than they were in the film and some we even more unlikable than they were in the film. As I paid attention to the dialogue, I noticed numerous lines that appeared in one form or another throughout the film franchise, particularly the first film and the Jurassic World trilogy. Also, if you know where to look, you can see some elements of this book that appeared in the Jurassic World trilogy but not the original film. Specifically, the two things that the book and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom had in common were the destruction of Isla Nublar and the dinosaurs escaping onto the mainland. I liked that the book highlighted the possibility of the dinosaurs somehow escaping onto the mainland and carved out their own territories in the Costa Rican jungles and mountains. Overall, I would recommend this book whether you watched the films or not.