Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bigger. Badder. More teeth?

Okay, show of hands: who has seen Jurassic World? If you haven't seen it I promise this article won't be spoiler-filled. I promise I won't discuss plot points. In fact, I won't discuss anything that you can't see in the trailers. What I will discuss, though, is teeth!

So if you have seen any of the promotional material for Jurassic World you know that the scientists have created a "genetically modified hybrid" named "Indominus rex." Leaving aside issues about genetic modification and dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park universe, one of the tag lines for this new animal was "Bigger. Louder. More teeth."

Jurassic World promotional image. Image (C) Universal Studios.

Fair enough. From the trailers you know that Dr. Wu says, "She was designed to be...bigger than the T. rex." This also makes sense -Tyrannosaurus is obviously a super-cool animal and would be a big draw at an amusement park like Jurassic World. If you were setting out to make a world-beating attraction then you could do worse than to choose T. rex. While other theropods may have been larger, it is certainly the most charismatic and probably the most well known. So when they are saying that "Indominus" is bigger, louder, and has more teeth they are probably comparing her to Tyrannosaurus.

There's just one problem with that. "Indominus" doesn't have more teeth that T. rex.

Skulls of Tarbosaurus (A) and Tyrannosaurus (B) by Jørn H. Hurum and Karol Sabath [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
As you can see, Tyrannosaurus has a combined total of 15 premaxillary and maxillary teeth. Now let's take a look at some of the promotional images and trailer stills from Jurassic World.

All images (C) Universal Studios.
How many teeth do you see? I count between nine to 11, depending on which motion-blurred image I'm using as reference. This is a situation different from, say David Peters, because in the case of "Indominus" there is no actual skull to do tooth counts with. Unfortunately I have to make do with images.
Here is Chris Pratt under a vehicle in a still taken from a Jurassic World trailer. I have numbered the teeth in the upper jaw (that I can make out), though the depth of field and motion blur make it difficult to be certain on their ID.
So last time I checked 9 < 15. Even 11 < 15. The big, scary "Indominus" has fewer teeth than a Tyrannosaurus. Maybe they were referring to ornithomimosaurs when they were making their comparison? Who can say.

Does this really matter? No, not really. Me nit-picking the strange, croc-toothed creation from Jurassic World doesn't change anything in the grand scheme of things. I just found it amusing that one of their promo points is in fact wrong. It doesn't impact how I feel about the movie, which I enjoyed. It shouldn't change how you feel about the movie.

Want more Jurassic World teeth analysis? Join me next time here at the Prehistoric Pub when I try to figure out what the heck is going on with the "Indominus" dentition!

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