Jurassic Park, Dinosaurs And The Bible -- By: Gary A. Byers

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 06:3 (Summer 1993)
Article: Jurassic Park, Dinosaurs And The Bible
Author: Gary A. Byers

Jurassic Park, Dinosaurs And The Bible

Gary A. Byers

While it is a bit outside my field of study (by about 65 million years), I want to visit “Jurassic Park” with you. Destined to make all other box office records “extinct,” this movie is a mix of Michael Crichton’s literary techno-thrillers, Steven Speilberg’s patented cinematic humor and thrills, and George Lucas’ digital revolution in special effects.

As Sharon Begley wrote in

all great science fiction must be science first and fiction second. Even more, she continued, it must tap into the reigning scientific paradigm of its era. For “Jurassic Park” that paradigm is biotechnology coupled with our continued fascination for dinosaurs.

Here are a few facts related to the movie and the scientific evidence behind them.

1. Jurassic Park is an almost completed amusement park on an uninhabited island near Costa Rica.

The park takes its name from the Jurassic period of prehistory when many dinosaurs are said to have roamed the Earth (which, by the way, had not yet broken into continents yet - they were all still part of one supercontinent called Pangaea). The Jurassic period, which lasted from about 200 million to 140 million BC (give or take a few ill), takes its name from the Jura Mountains of France and Switzerland where many fossils dated to that time period were found during the 19th century.

2. Plans for the park call for 14 different kinds of dinosaurs to inhabit Jurassic Park; including Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, Gallimimus, Dilophosaurus, Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor.

The term dinosaur was coined in 1841 by British scientist Richard Owens after examining fossils found in Britain which were not from typical reptiles. Although he understood they were not technically from large lizards, he called them Dinosaurs (Greek for “Terrible/Lizards”).

For the sake of having Paleontology Correctness, it should be noted only Brachiosaurus and Dilophosaurus were alive during the Jurassic period. The others missed it by about 20 to 30 million years. Scientists have today identified 300 different kinds of dinosaurs which they believe lived on the earth during the 150 million year Mesozoic (“Middle/Life”) Period. They became extinct about 65 million years ago (or was that 65 million BC?).

By the way, one of the leading experts on dinosaurs today, Dr. Robert Bakker who also served as a consultant for “Jurassic Park,” recently said that we probably do not know 99% of the dinosaurs which existed during the age of dinosaurs. He added that 99.999% of what we want to know about dinosaurs is yet to be discovered. So much for authoritative research!

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