dinosaurs are finally sporting feathers, but are they realistic?

Twenty-nine years after the first Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg, who revolutionized the general public’s view of giant reptiles, the final episode of the saga Jurassic World: the world after proposes a revolution. Not in its screenplay, which disappointed critics, but in its depiction of certain dinosaurs appearing there for the first time adorned with real feathers (in Jurassic Park 3, the velociraptors had been decked out with meager feathers on the skull). If the new scientific discoveries made in recent years accredit the idea that a large number of giant reptiles were covered with plumage, Hollywood had not yet taken the plunge in its representation of saurians. It is now done and we asked more generally to Florent Goussard, paleontologist at the Natural History Museum, if the new feathered dinosaurs are credible in the last opus of the series.

New Evidence That Dinosaurs Had Feathers

In the third and last Jurassic Worlddirected by Colin Trevorrow, several dinosaurs appear with quite exuberant plumage, such as the ferocious pyroraptor with bristling red feathers on the skull and body. “Since the release of the first Jurassic Park, there is plenty of evidence that dinosaurs had feathers. It was first thought that it only concerned theropod carnivores, but today we are expanding. It is believed that many dinosaurs actually wore feathers“, says Florent Goussard.

In The world afterthe pyroraptor that tries to devour Chris Pratt and DeWanda Wise on the pack ice is represented fairly faithfully to reconstructions made by scientists from unearthed fossils, even if there is no formal proof that it had plumage.

Before episode 3, the only specimens that wore feathers in the saga were the velociraptors in Jurassic Park 3.”It was a little ahead of its time knowing that at the time there was no reason to think that velociraptor had it, judge Florent Goussard. In the meantime, ideas have evolved and when Jurassic World was released, the choice was made to return to the aesthetics of the first two films with velociraptors without these ‘feathers’. As a result, the film was even criticized by some for this ‘rewind’, even though there was still no clear evidence of the existence of this type of ornamentation in velociraptor but then we knew more and more feathered dinosaurs.”

The case of the velociraptor has stirred up a lot of fans. Paleontologists have so far found no feather prints next to velociraptor fossils.. “The only evidence for the existence of feathers in dinosaurs of the raptor family correspond to small marks on a bone of the arm, the radius, similar to those observed in modern birds and which correspond to traces of insertion of feathers”Explain Florent Goussard.

‘Jurassic World 3’ turns feathered herbivores into carnivores

The therizinosaurus, a bipedal dinosaur depicted in the film with huge claws and a long neck, is seen as a predator, when it was more of a peaceful vegetarian. “We see the therizinosaurus kill a deer in the forest, but the next moment lean more towards the leaves to seize them with its ‘beak’. On the one hand, we therefore understand that the animal would be rather vegetarian , but on the other hand it is true that one wonders then why he attacks this doe, then the heroin (Claire, played by actress Bryce Dallas Howard) who flees by hiding under water. However, the ambiguity of this behavior remains interesting in that it raises the question of the exact diet of this dinosaur, effectively debated in the scientific community. reflected Florent Goussard.

Some scientific reconstructions represent the therizinosaurus with feathers on the forearms. In the movie, he sports what looks like a fur instead.

The feathers of dinosaurs did not necessarily resemble those of birds

On the big screen, Hollywood wants spectacular dinosaurs. Even when adorned with feathers, giant reptiles remain terrifying with, for example, half-legged, half-winged hind limbs in the pyroraptor. Yet the feathers of the dinosaurs did not look exactly like the feathers of the birds that inhabit Earth today.

“The feathers appeared in dinosaurs, but not in the form we know in birds today. They were not used for flight, but to regulate their temperature. In dinosaurs, there was first protoplumes that looked more like fluff or filaments”, analyzes paleontologist Florent Goussard. The famous tyrannosaur thus perhaps wore a kind of down. But in Jurassic World 3as in previous games, the T-rex’s skin is covered only with scales.

The scarlet-hued plumage of pyroraptor as shown in the new Jurassic World would represent the final stage of feathers in dinosaurs.

The pyroraptor in

The relationship between dinosaurs and birds is not exaggerated. The blackbirds or magpies that trample in our gardens are directly descended from the terrible theropods. Birds, also called “avian dinosaurs”, derive directly of these dinosaurs and more precisely of… raptors. Archeopteryx150 million years old and considered to be the oldest known bird, thus combines characteristics of both dinosaurs (a jaw with teeth, clawed fingers on the hands) and modern birds with large wings fitted with suitable feathers theft.

Archeopteryx fossils 150 million years old have been discovered. These tropical animals are considered the oldest known birds. “The archeopteryx finds have largely contributed to the foundation of the most common theory of the evolutionary history of birds, namely that birds descended from the dinosaurs of the order theropods”can we read in the Encyclopædia universalis.

Could feathered dinosaurs live in a polar climate?

In Jurassic World 3, several sequences take place in a snowy environment. Director Hake Trevorrow depicts dinosaurs that live in the high latitudes of our planet, far from the usual tropical climate of Jurassic Parkwhose iconic fauna is actually from the Cretaceous period (and not the Jurassic), a geological era that ended with the disappearance of the dinosaurs.

In the movie

Could the dinosaurs and more particularly the feathered ones withstand such conditions? “70 million years ago in the Upper Cretaceous the climate was generally warmer at high latitudes. But in the Lower Cretaceous 120 million years ago, there may have been colder temperate climates, characterized by winters harsh as we know today and therefore with possible snowfall. So some dinosaurs could indeed have evolved in colder climates than others, and in particular in China where we know precisely the most feathered dinosaurs”judge Florent Goussard.

Jurassic World: the world after” is currently showing in cinemas. It is the sixth installment in the Jurassic Park saga.

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