A palaeontologist has described his dream hybrid dinosaur as Jurassic World is released in cinemas across the world.
The movie has received mixed reviews and there has been a wealth of articles and commentary about how unrealistic the dinosaurs are. Scientists have also pointed out, however, that in terms of the science the idea of hybrid dinosaurs is probably more plausible than those seen in Jurassic Park.
In the film, Jurassic World is fully operational but its attendance numbers are falling. In a bid to give the park a boost, the Patel Corporation decides to create a new attraction – a hybrid dinosaur created by splicing together the genes of different dinosaurs.
The end product is Indominus Rex – a highly intelligent animal that will kill "anything that moves". She looks like a T. Rex but her head ornamentation links with Abeliosaurs. It is also hybridised from Carnotaurus, Giganotosaurus, Majungasaurus, and Rugops.
Palaeontologist Dean Lomax told IBTimes UK that while he is aware of the various mistakes about the dinosaurs in the film, "it's a monster movie", so errors were "inevitable".
Speaking about the storyline of developing hybrid dinosaurs, he said: "I think it's an interesting angle for Jurassic Park to take and also can apply to modern understanding – at the moment you've got a big emphasis on cloning and trying to match different animal DNA, so they've tried to apply that and it's an interesting way for Jurassic Park to go as a franchise.
"I think for palaeontologists it's disappointing that they've got the emphasis on an animal like that because obviously they have the opportunity to select from thousands of different dinosaur species they could have used but they chose to .... But this is a monster movie."
Like the T. Rex, Indominus Rex has small arms – an interesting choice for creators looking to make a killing machine. While no one really knows why T. Rex had such small arms, it is thought they would have been a hindrance – if running at speed, a fall would prove fatal for the predator.
"Originally they thought T. Rex was a very speedy predator," Lomax said. "But if they were going at 30mph, if it did fall over, it would break its neck because there's nothing to stop it – its arms are too short. It's unusual why they have kept the arms short, perhaps in the movie they may say they used DNA from a T. Rex and perhaps that's why."
Had he been creating Indominus, Lomax said it would have had raptor-like arms but the size of a T. Rex: "Those proportions would be much better."
If he was to make his own hybrid dinosaur, Lomax said he would create something that "really stands out".
"Something like the dinosaur they used in Jurassic Park 3 – the animal called Spinosaurus. Modern science now says this dinosaur probably lived most of its time both on land and in a marine environment, able to swim – one of the very few dinosaurs that could do that. For one I'd have that.
"Then something as agile and quick as a velociraptor but the size of a tyrannosaurus would be quite a phenomenal animal. Maybe give it a sail on its back as well. Why not."
Lomax, who recently identified the first new species of ichthyosaur in 130 years, is now in the process of identifying another species of this marine dinosaur. In Jurassic World, one creature that stands out from the trailer is the aquatic Mosasaurus – which jumps from a giant fish tank to eat a great white shark.
This group appeared "out of nowhere" during the Cretaceous Period, about 95 million years ago. Jurassic World vastly exaggerates the size of the Monsaurus but they were giant predators – about 15 to 20m in length.
"In the movie they've got it very scaly, very lizard-like. It probably would have been rather different – the size would definitely have been different. In the movie the tongue was forked trying to indicate a snake or something, which is not impossible but we can never prove it. But in terms of the evolutionary history of Monsaurus, they're more closely related to animals like monitor lizards, perhaps even komodo dragons. So this animal would have been very different to what they've portrayed.
"But generally speaking I think it's interesting they've used something like a Monsaurus as it's a group that has received very little in the way of media attention or in any of these movies. So it may generate interest from the general public into a group such as this, which would be quite cool."