Tech UPTechnologyNew facts about the true appearance of the dilophosaurus

New facts about the true appearance of the dilophosaurus

The science fiction work Jurassic Park , despite being a cult book and film that has helped spread a lot about scientific knowledge, falls into some unforgivable errors ; Among other things, because in the 1990s we already knew that dinosaurs looked much more like birds than lizards, as is especially exposed in the Steven Spielberg film. In addition, most of the park’s species lived during the Cretaceous, and not during the Jurassic, the period that gives the saga its name.

The most bibliophiles (or moviegoers) will remember in detail the death of the antagonist of the first film, the computer programmer Dennis Nedry. When trying to remove from the park a bottle of shaving foam filled with embryos of different species of dinosaur, he comes across a dilophosaurus, a small carnivore that expelled a paralyzing substance after unfolding its striking crest , located around the neck. But, did the fiction match this description?

Almost 30 years later, scientific research knows many more details about dinosaurs, which lived on Earth in a period between 240 and 66 million years ago in time; and, more specifically, on the dilophosaurus. Keep reading.

Dilophosaurus wetherilli did live in the early Jurassic, about 183 million years ago. This theropod was one of the first large carnivores. Despite this, it was one of the least known dinosaurs, until now: an investigation published on July 7 in the Journal of Paleontology has shed light on the family tree of this dinosaur, and on its characteristics. The authors are Professor Timothy Rowe, who discovered two of the five dilophosaur specimens that were studied; and Professor Adam Marsh.

The first dilophosaur fossil was found in the mid-20th century. Although in the scientific article of 1954 many of its characteristic features are not clear; but the brittle crest and weak jaws were described then, which influenced the depiction of the dilophosaur in the Jurassic Park book and movie.

Surprisingly, the new analysis has revealed otherwise. The jaws show signs of serving as a skeleton for very powerful muscles. Additionally, some bones were found to be perforated by air pockets , which would have helped to reinforce the skeleton, including its double crest.

These ‘air sacs’ are not unique to Dilophosaurus . Modern birds and the world’s most massive dinosaurs also have air-filled bones. In both cases, the alveoli ease the load, which helped the large dinosaurs manage their bulky bodies; and birds, to fly, as described in a statement from the University of Texas Austin.

In addition, today we know that this dinosaur could measure up to seven meters long , much larger than that represented in the Jurassic Park work.

Many birds use air sacs to perform other functions, from inflating elastic areas of the skin during mating rituals to dispersing heat. The intricate array of air pockets and ducts that run from the dilophosaur’s sinus cavity to its ridges means that the dinosaur may have performed feats of this kind.

The research also revealed that there is a significant evolutionary gap between the Dilophosaurus and its closest dinosaur relatives, indicating that there are likely still many other relatives to discover.

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