Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"T-Rex Week" (Episode 2)

Today's T-Rex artwork was done by son #2 when he was 10. It is a fine rendering of that famous scene from the movie Jurassic Park, when the electricity fails and the dinosaurs break through the security fences, wreaking havoc all over the compound. Here, the escaped T-Rex is eating the tire on one of the jeeps that brings visitors on a tour throughout Jurassic Park. The rain is coming down in torrents and two terrified children, Tim and Lex, are trapped beneath the jeep screaming.

This movie was a favorite of all of our boys, but especially our baby. He would have it on in the background while acting out the scenes with our vast assortment of JP toy dinosaurs, vehicles, and figurines. And he did a mean imitation of a Tyrannosaurus Rex--throwing his head back to make the same roaring sound as the beast in the movie, while holding his arms close to his body with two crooked fingers and stomping around the house. It was really quite hilarious. And spot on, too! It was an inspired bit of acting, you really should have seen it.

The thing about the scene depicted above that always bothered me, though, was that after Dr. Grant rescues Lex from the jeep, the T-Rex approaches and he tells her not to move, because T-Rex's visual acuity relies on motion. Apparently, if they don't move, the dino won't see them. (How this could be determined from studying bones, I wasn't quite sure; but for argument's sake, let's say this is true.) However, as Dr. Grant and Lex are smashed up against the jeep not moving, the T-Rex's nose is mere inches from their bodies; he's sniffing and snorting, and yet he doesn't appear to realize that two tasty snacks are right there for the taking. I always thought: C'mon, they could smell, couldn't they? Wouldn't that be handy for a carnivore to be able to smell its prey?

I decided to do a little research on this; I did some investigating on-line and found that there have indeed been studies done on the olifactory cavities of dinosaur skulls, and CT scans have proven that T-Rex's olifactory capabilities far surpassed those of any of the other huge predators that were examined. That's right, T-Rex was found to be the undisputed king of smelling. This would make sense, as it would give T-Rex the ability to locate prey and patrol a large area of territory. So it seems a bit of creative license was taken in Jurassic Park as far as that scene by the jeep, where the T-Rex comes off as being unable to either see or smell what's right in front of his nose. But it makes for a great dramatic effect, and I hate to find fault with a film that delighted my dinosaur-loving sons by bringing these prehistoric creatures to life in a way that had never been done before.

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