Study: Humans Played Significant Role in Extinction of Woolly Mammoths

Friday, November 12, 2021

Fordham et al. revealed a 20,000-year pathway to the extinction of the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). Image credit: Mauricio Anton.

New research shows that the role of humans in the extinction dynamics of the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) began well before the Holocene epoch, which started 11,700 years ago.

“Our research shows that humans were a crucial and chronic driver of population declines of woolly mammoths, having an essential role in the timing and location of their extinction,” said Dr. Damien Fordham, a researcher in the Environment Institute and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide and the Center for Macroecology, Evolution, and Climate at the GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

“Using computer models, fossils and ancient DNA we have identified the very mechanisms and threats that were integral in the initial decline and later extinction of the woolly mammoth.”

Signatures of past changes in the distribution and demography of woolly mammoths identified from fossils and ancient DNA show that people hastened the extinction of these ancient creatures by up to 4,000 years in some regions.

“We know that humans exploited woolly mammoths for meat, skins, bones and ivory,” Dr. Fordham said.

“However, until now it has been difficult to disentangle the exact roles that climate warming and human hunting had on its extinction.”

The study also shows that woolly mammoths are likely to have survived in the Arctic for thousands of years longer than previously thought, existing in small areas of habitat with suitable climatic conditions and low densities of humans.

“Our finding of long-term persistence in Eurasia independently confirms recently published environmental DNA evidence that shows that woolly mammoths were roaming around Siberia 5,000 years ago,” said Dr. Jeremey Austin, a researcher in the Environment Institute and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

“Our analyses strengthens and better resolves the case for human impacts as a driver of population declines and range collapses of megafauna in Eurasia during the Late Pleistocene.”

“It also refutes a prevalent theory that climate change alone decimated woolly mammoth populations and that the role of humans was limited to hunters delivering the coup de grâce.”

“And shows that species extinctions are usually the result of complex interactions between threatening processes.”

“The pathway to extinction for the woolly mammoth was long and lasting, starting many millennia before the final extinction event.”

The findings were published in the journal Ecological Letters.


Damien A. Fordham et al. Process-explicit models reveal pathway to extinction for woolly mammoth using pattern-oriented validation. Ecological Letters, published online November 5, 2021; doi: 10.1111/ele.13911


Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous' Newest Monsters Aren't Even Dinosaurs

Saturday, November 13, 2021

The trailer for Season 4 of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous shows entirely new threats in a brand new location.

In the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies, it's safe to say the thing visitors have had to worry most about -- well, apart from mankind's desire to play God and experiment -- has been the dinosaurs. We've seen them running loose on Isla Nublar, Isla Sorna and in the American open, hunting and doing what apex predators do best: feed. However, as the Season 4 trailer for Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous reveals, while the kids did have to contend with dinos before, the newest monsters they'll have to face aren't even reptilian beasts.

The video clocks in at just over a minute, and at its breakneck pace it does well to tease what's to come without giving too much away. The kids ended last season on a boat, leaving Site A, but now, we see a Mosasaurus shipwrecking them on an island that showrunner Scott Kreamer confirms isn't Site B -- it's a totally new island.

And as they explore it, it's definitely a death trap, first starting with the kids realizing it's filled with artificial environments. We see a desert setting, as well as a snowy one, with doors opening to take them into control rooms, making it seem like this is a park from HBO's Westworld.

It's epic trickery, frightening Darius and Co. because knowing the landscape on Isla Nublar put them on level pegging with their hunters. Now, if they can't judge the terrain, they'll be easier prey. In addition, the drones spotted in previous seasons spying in on them are once more present, corralling a wounded T-Rex. It suggests some operator could use it for the opposite mission -- sending dinos after the kids, which lends credence to a puppet master existing, adding a sinister layer of complexity to the mix.

It's not known if this is linked to Ingen remnants, breakaways from the Masrani Corporation that bought John Hammond's company, or a totally new company -- the latter being an idea this series has introduced via its corporate espionage arc in Season 1.

To make it worse, we see a dino-robot coming after the kids, which shoots energy beams from its mouth. It amps up the danger factor as bots that aren't flesh and blood won't get scared due to their programming, would be able to hunt in the night and won't get tired. It's the ultimate killer, but just when you think that can't be topped, Darius' team encounters a saber-tooth tiger in one of the show's biggest bombshells.

It leaves fans wondering what other prehistoric creatures are alive here, which is something the teens wouldn't have trained for. It's quite sadistic but promises an action-filled, emotional rollercoaster to come as the kids are now facing, undeniably, their most unpredictable enemy to date, with the island taking on a devilish life like never before.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 4 premieres Dec. 3 on Netflix.


Brighstoneus simmondsi: Paleontologists Unearth New Species of Iguanodontian Dinosaur

Friday, November 12, 2021

Reconstruction of the head of Brighstoneus simmondsi. Image credit: John Sibbick.

A new genus and species of iguanodontian dinosaur has come to light in Isle of Wight rocks dating to the Lower Cretaceous Period.

The newly-identified dinosaur species roamed our planet during the Barremian age of the Cretaceous period, some 127 million years ago.

Scientifically named Brighstoneus simmondsi, the creature was about 8 m (26 feet) in length and weighed about 900 kg.

It belonged to Iguanodontia, a major group of ornithischian dinosaurs that originated in the Middle Jurassic epoch and became increasingly widespread and diverse during the Cretaceous period.

The partial skeleton of Brighstoneus simmondsi was recovered from the Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight, southern England.

“Until now, iguanodontian material found from the Wealden Group on the Isle of Wight has usually been referred to as one of these two dinosaurs: with more gracile fossil bones assigned to Mantellisaurus and the larger and more robust material assigned to Iguanodon,” said Jeremy Lockwood, a Ph.D, student in the School of Environment, Geography and Geosciences at the University of Portsmouth and the Department of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum, London, and his colleagues.

“However, when we were examining the specimen, we came across several unique traits that distinguished it from either of these other dinosaurs.”

“For me, the number of teeth was a sign. Mantellisaurus has 23 or 24, but this has 28. It also had a bulbous nose, whereas the other species have very straight noses. Altogether, these and other small differences made it very obviously a new species.”

The discovery of Brighstoneus simmondsi suggests that there were far more iguanodontian dinosaurs in what is now the United Kingdom during the Early Cretaceous epoch than previously thought.

“We’re looking at six, maybe seven million years of deposits, and I think the genus lengths have been overestimated in the past,” Lockwood said.

“If that’s the case on the island, we could be seeing many more new species. It seems so unlikely to just have two animals being exactly the same for millions of years without change.”

“The describing of this new species shows that there is clearly a greater diversity of iguanodontian dinosaurs in the Early Cretaceous of the United Kingdom than previously realized,” said Dr. Susannah Maidment, a paleontologist in the Department of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum, London.

“It’s also showing that the century-old paradigm that gracile iguanodontian bones found on the island belong to Mantellisaurus and large elements belong to Iguanodon can no longer be substantiated.”

The team’s paper was published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology.


Jeremy A.F. Lockwood et al. A new hadrosauriform dinosaur from the Wessex Formation, Wealden Group (Early Cretaceous), of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, published online November 10, 2021; doi: 10.1080/14772019.2021.1978005


Fast-Evolving Species More Likely to Become Extinct, Paleontologists Say

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Pleurosaurus, a remarkable, long-bodied swimming rhynchocephalian that lived during the Late Jurassic epoch, some 150 million years ago, in what is now Germany. Image credit: Roberto Ochoa.

‘Slow and steady wins the race,’ according to a new study of lepidosaurs (lizards, snakes, amphisbaenians, and tuatara) published in the journal Palaeontology.

The Lepidosauria is a subclass or superorder of reptiles, containing the orders Squamata (snakes, lizards, and amphisbaenians) and Rhynchocephalia (tuatara).

Today, there are more than 10,000 lepidosaur species and much of their recent success is a result of fast evolution in favorable circumstances. But this was not always the case.

“Lepidosaurs originated 250 million years ago in the early Mesozoic Era, and they split into two major groups, the squamates on the one hand, leading to modern lizards and snakes, and the rhynchocephalians on the other, represented today by a single species, the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus),” said Dr. Jorge Herrera-Flores, a researcher in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.

“We expected to find slow evolution in rhynchocephalians, and fast evolution in squamates. But we found the opposite.”

“We looked at the rate of change in body size among these early reptiles,” said Dr. Tom Stubbs, also from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.

“We found that some groups of squamates evolved fast in the Mesozoic, especially those with specialised lifestyles like the marine mosasaurs. But rhynchocephalians were much more consistently fast-evolving.”

“In fact, their average rates of evolution were significantly faster than those for squamates, about twice the background rate of evolution, and we really did not expect this,” added Dr. Armin Elsler, also from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.

“In the later part of the Mesozoic all the modern groups of lizards and snakes originated and began to diversify, living side-by-side with the dinosaurs, but probably not engaging with them ecologically.”

“These early lizards were feeding on bugs, worms, and plants, but they were mainly quite small.”

Rates of evolution for lizards and snakes (Squamata, blue line) were far lower than those for Rhynchocephalia (green line) for some 200 million years, and they only flipped in the last 50 million years or so. Image credit: Armin Elsler.

“After the extinction of the dinosaurs, 66 million years ago, at the end of the Mesozoic, the rhynchocephalians and squamates suffered a lot, but the squamates bounced back,” added University of Bristol’s Professor Mike Benton.

“But for most of the Mesozoic, the rhynchocephalians were the innovators and the fast evolvers.”

“They tailed off quite severely well before the end of the Mesozoic, and the whole dynamic changed after that.”

The new study confirms a challenging proposal made by the famous paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson in his 1944 book ‘Tempo and Mode in Evolution.’

He looked at the fundamental patterns of evolution in a framework of Darwinian evolution and observed that many fast-evolving species belonged to unstable groups, which were potentially adapting to rapidly changing environments.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” Professor Benton said.

“In the classic Aesop’s fable, the speedy hare loses the race, whereas the slow-moving tortoise crosses the finishing line first.”

“Since the days of Charles Darwin, biologists have debated whether evolution is more like the hare or the tortoise.”

“Is it the case that big groups of many species are the result of fast evolution over a short time or slow evolution over a long time?”

“In some cases, they can stabilise and survive well, but in many cases the species go extinct as fast as new ones emerge, and they can go extinct, just like the napping hare.”

“On the other hand, Simpson predicted that slowly evolving species might also be slow to go extinct, and could in the end be successful in the longer term, just like the slow-moving but persistent tortoise in the fable.”


J.A. Herrera-Flores et al. Slow and fast evolutionary rates in the history of lepidosaurs. Palaeontology, published online November 10, 2021; doi: 10.1111/pala.12579


Issi saaneq: New Herbivorous Dinosaur Species Identified in Greenland

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Life reconstruction of Issi saaneq. Image credit: Victor Beccari.

A new genus and species of plateosaurid sauropodomorph dinosaur has been identified from two fossilized skulls found in Jameson Land, a peninsula in eastern Greenland.

Issi saaneq lived in what is now Greenland about approximately 214 million years ago (Late Triassic period).

This medium-sized, long-necked dinosaur was a predecessor of the sauropods, the biggest land animals ever to have thundered across our planet.

“It was at this time that the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart and the Atlantic Ocean began forming,” said University of Copenhagen’s Professor Lars Clemmensen and his colleagues.

“At the time, the Earth was experiencing climate changes that enabled the first plant-eating dinosaurs to reach Europe and beyond.”

The skulls of two Issi saaneq individuals — a middle-stage juvenile and a late-stage juvenile or subadult — were uncovered in 1994 from the Late Triassic outcrops of the Malmros Klint Formation in Jameson Land, Greenland.

“The anatomy of the two skulls is unique in many respects, for example in the shape and proportions of the bones. These specimens certainly belong to a new species,” said Dr. Victor Beccari, a paleontologist at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, the Museu da Lourinhã and the SNSB – Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie.

The 214-million-year-old skulls of Issi saaneq in left lateral view. Image credit: Beccari et al., doi: 10.3390/d13110561.

One of the specimens was originally assigned to Plateosaurus trossingensis, a long-necked dinosaur that lived in Germany, France and Switzerland during the Triassic period.

“It is exciting to discover a close relative of the well-known Plateosaurus, hundreds of which have already been found in Germany,” said Dr. Oliver Wings, a paleontologist at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

Issi saaneq differs from all other sauropodomorphs discovered so far. However, it has similarities with Brazilian dinosaurs such as Macrocollum itaquii and Unaysaurus tolentinoi, which lived almost 15 million years later.

Together with Plateosaurus trossingensis, these dinosaurs belong to Plateosauridae, a family of sauropodomorphs from the Late Triassic of Europe, Greenland, Africa and Asia.

“Our findings are the first evidence of a distinct Greenlandic dinosaur species, which not only adds to the diverse range of dinosaurs from the Late Triassic, but also allows us to better understand the evolutionary pathways and timeline of the iconic group of sauropods that inhabited the Earth for nearly 150 million years,” the paleontologists said.

The discovery of Issi saaneq is described in a paper in the journal Diversity.


V. Beccari et al. 2021. Issi saaneq gen. et sp. nov. – A New Sauropodomorph Dinosaur from the Late Triassic (Norian) of Jameson Land, Central East Greenland. Diversity 13 (11): 561; doi: 10.3390/d13110561


Jurassic World 3 Is Officially Done, Confirms Director

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Jurassic World: Dominion has been edited, mixed, and finally completed after a lengthy production process, according to director Colin Trevorrow.

Colin Trevorrow confirms Jurassic World: Dominion has finally been completed after a lengthy production process. The third and likely final installment of the Jurassic World franchise was originally scheduled to open in theaters this year, but the coronavirus pandemic had different plans for it. Jurassic World 3 began filming in early 2020 but was soon shut down by the pandemic. After various starts and stops throughout the year, the "nigh-impossible" shoot, in the words of star Sam Neill, wrapped in late 2020. Jurassic World 3 is currently scheduled to premiere in June 2022.

Plot specifics are still being kept under wraps, but fans have been able to glean a few things based on a special IMAX teaser that was released this past summer. Dominion is expected to pick up years after 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which ended with numerous dinosaurs running wild in the human world. Jurassic World 3 will likely find its heroes, led once again by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, facing the increased threat of dinosaurs. This time, though, they will be joined by the core trio from Jurassic Park: Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum.

Trevorrow has kept fans updated on Jurassic World 3's progress from the very start of production, and now he's informed everyone that the movie is officially complete. The director took to social media over the weekend and revealed, "Last night we put the last bit of reverb on the last roar." Trevorrow thanked the team at Skywalker Sound for helping with the movie's mix and concluded his message with a chill-inducing statement: "It is alive."

This moment has been a long time coming for Trevorrow and his Jurassic World 3 team, as this has clearly been a production that was more difficult than most. Though the movie remains over half a year away from release, it must be a relief to bring Jurassic World: Dominion to a close. Assuming Trevorrow doesn't wish to make any additional tweaks in the coming months, the movie is ready for 2022's release and hopefully won't be moved from its current date.

More promotional materials for Jurassic World 3 likely won't begin rolling out until further into 2022. There are several major movies on the release calendar before Dominion, and that includes those still on the docket for this year. Nevertheless, now that the final cut has been completed, Trevorrow might share some teases to help tide fans over. Jurassic World: Dominion is eagerly anticipated both because of its new dinosaur hook and the returns of the Jurassic Park cast, and the sooner more is revealed about it, the better. Stay tuned for additional updates in the future.

Source: Colin Trevorrow/Twitter /

Scientists Discover 125 Million Year Old Dinosaur DNA, Are We Getting a Real Jurassic Park?

Monday, November 8, 2021


In Steven Spielberg's 1993 thriller Jurassic Park, dinosaur DNA was used to bring mighty prehistoric creatures to life, and while a new report has suggested that complete DNA has been found, don't expect to see dinosaurs roaming the Earth soon.

"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." The words of Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park as he tries to explain his worries about a theme park inhabited with dozens of prehistoric creatures that would happily feast on the tourists. Now apparently, his words should be resonating with a team of scientists in the Chinese Academy of Scientists, who have published a paper claiming to have found fully intact dinosaur DNA in a fossil aged around 125 million years old. Hold on to your butts.

The paper, which can be viewed online, claims that the DNA was discovered on the cartilage of a Caudipteryx fossil, a dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous era and was around the size of a peacock. The findings say that the cartilage was extracted from the femur and treated with a chemical solution that is intended to illuminate different structures of cells within the subject. The results of this have brought out a number of elements that indicate the presence of intact DNA strands.

A cast of a Caudipteryx zoui specimen discovered in Liaoning, China. Source: © Shutterstock

While this will get some people excited at the prospect of Jurassic Park becoming a reality - because everyone wants the chance to be chased by a Tyrannosaur - other scientists are not quite as eager to believe the findings just yet. According to Chemistry World, a number of counter suggests say that the technique used in these tests is not a conclusive process and are too imprecise to make any kind of world-breaking announcement about the findings.

However, Alida Bailleul, corresponding author of the study, said in a press release, "We are obviously interested in fossilized cell nuclei, because this is where most of the DNA should be if DNA was preserved. So, we have good preliminary data, very exciting data, but we are just starting to understand cellular biochemistry in very old fossils. At this point, we need to work more."

What should be noted, is that the discovery of partial dinosaur DNA is not a new thing and organic material has been found in 75 million-year-old fossils previously but The Imperial College London, and by the same research scientists at the Chinese Academy of Scientists. Whether the DNA is partial or complete, even Bailleul acknowledged that the current discovery is a starting point for their research, but it is very unlikely that we would even make it to a position of being able to clone dinosaurs from this in the way John Hammond's team did in Jurassic Park, and on the whole, having now seen where that is heading in Jurassic World: Dominion, it is probably for the best.

The final movie in the Jurassic World trilogy finds dinosaurs once again walking the world freely, seemingly being given the same "they have rights" badge as every other living creature on Earth, but not really willing to stop and think before they chomp down on anyone that moves. The film unveiled its opening sequence in IMAX cinemas earlier this year, but we are still awaiting a full trailer for the movie, which fans are hoping will give a first look at original cast members Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum back in the thick of the action, trying to save the world from being taken back to the prehistoric age for good.


How Scientifically Accurate is Jurassic World Evolution 2?

Monday, November 8, 2021

Back in 1993, at the tender age of 11, I went to watch Jurassic Park at the cinema. It was both a wonderful and utterly terrifying experience. Like most children, I revelled in imagining how what these vast creatures would have looked like in real-life. Jurassic Park felt like my imagined worlds had become reality. For weeks after my cinema trip, a visit to the lavatory was never quite the same again.

Of course, since 1993 we’ve been spoiled by numerous Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films. After the film franchise’s highs and lows, we’ve become used to seeing photorealistic dinosaurs on the big screen. While still enjoyable, these films have become ordinary. Mundane, even.

Jurassic World Evolution proved such a wake-up call. No longer was I passively observing dinosaurs, I was directly interacting with them. Building my own park, watching a T-Rex and stegosaurs battle, desperately trying to keep a leash on the unfolding dinosaur-fuelled chaos, the game was a revelation. JWE revealed that my love for dinosaurs hadn’t gone away, it just needed reigniting.

Anyway, after that lengthy introduction, you can hopefully appreciate how excited I am to finally play Jurassic World Evolution 2. Also, I couldn’t help but ponder on whether Frontier Developments were intending to include the numerous new paleontological discoveries that have been made over the last few years into the game.

For example, in 2020 alone, we learned that the spinosaurus was a semi-aquatic creature thanks to its paddle-shaped tail, that dinosaurs suffered from cancer, and that some dino eggs were soft. Would any of these and other recent discoveries effect the game design of Jurassic World Evolution 2? We sat down with game director, Rich Newbold, to find out.

So, Rich, just how important was achieving paleontological accuracy in the depiction and design of the dinosaurs in Jurassic World Evolution 2?

The dinosaurs and reptiles are the stars of the show, so it’s vitally important to us that they look and feel like living, breathing beings. When designing a dinosaur for the game, we undertake extensive research into the real world science of how dinosaurs looked, behaved and existed millions of years ago, while ensuring that, ultimately, our depictions are inspired by the Jurassic films.

That’s all very well and good, I mused, but how was this research conducted? “It’s a question of looking at relevant paleontological materials,” Rich replied. “This includes research papers which may, for example, include descriptions of newly discovered fossilised skin preservation which could update our understanding of the possible visual appearance of a dinosaur. An example of this was edmontosaurus; a preserved soft tissue head “comb” was depicted in one such research paper, so we incorporated this into the design seen in the Jurassic World Evolution games.”

This was very exciting. I was exceedingly pleased that paleontological discoveries had an effect on Rich and the team’s design decisions, otherwise this would have been a very short interview indeed. I decided to push my luck and attempt to find out if we’d be getting any feathered Dinosaurs. But, rather than pose the question directly, I decided to ask if any recent Dinosaur discoveries made in China would be making their way into the game instead, because I’m sneaky like that.

Unsurprisingly, we’re huge dinosaur fans so discoveries such as the two titan sauropod in China are always incredibly exciting for the team. We always try to stay up to date with the latest new discoveries and information, but ultimately our dinosaurs are rooted in the Jurassic World universe.

Well dodged there Rich, bravo. I guess that’s a polite no to feathers then. I figured that I’d played enough hard ball with Rich and that I’d play some soft ball instead. I also decided that I should really work on some more original metaphors. Anyway, I wanted to know what other interesting dino trivia the team discovered that had made its way into the game.

We’ve learned that using modern scientific techniques and previously discovered fossils are relinquishing new and fascinating insights into their pasts. These include not only skin pigments and tendons, but also the amazingly preserved final meal of a nodosaur. The more we learn about these prehistoric marvels, the more detailed our in-game dinosaurs can become. For example, Jurassic World Evolution 2 features a greatly expanded range of dinosaur skin tones and patterns.

That leads me to my next question. With all this information available, how do the developers create dinosaurs that have an authentic sense of movement, mass, and scale?

We look to as many sources as possible for the “best guess” size range, based on the paleo remains. These sources include the Natural History Museum, and a variety of books on the subject. We start by looking at how the dinosaurs move in the films, so we can gain a better understanding of how massive these creatures are. We then look to real-world examples of massive animals like elephants and rhinos, to get a feeling for the movement of these heavy creatures. We then combine all of this research and fine tune our dinosaurs and reptiles until they feel as authentic and ‘real’ as possible.

But what about the sound design? How did they take the fantastic sound effects of the Jurassic films and expand on them for a video game while still ensuring that they sound authentic?

We were lucky enough to be sent some dinosaur calls and roars from our fantastic partners at Universal, which we studied intensely to find out just how they were created, a bit like when chefs work backwards to find the ingredients which form a recipe. Did they use a growling crocodile? Perhaps a pitched down pig screech? We then added these sound layers back into their sounds, and added a little more flavour of our own. All of the vocalisations we create have to be embellished using this process, as we don’t want any repetition, and want them to sound authentic and believable.

And it looks like they achieved their goals, as the dinosaurs in Jurassic World Evolution 2 look and sound fantastic. I can’t wait to hunt them, tranquillise them, and then stick them in my park for a minute or two before they escape and cause untold death and destruction.

Let’s wrap things up with something fun. Rich, if you could opt to have any Dinosaur as a pet, which Dino would you choose? I’d opt for a triceratops, so I could ride it to work and just smash through the many traffic jams caused by Lancaster’s pitiful excuse for a one way system.

“Probably a Brachiosaurus!” Rich said. “But I’d need to adopt it when it was a baby so I could make sure I’ve trained it to use the litter tray before it reaches its full size! I’d let it chill out in the back garden or the nearby park, living its best life and letting me climb on its back at night to get a great view of the night sky”.

What a beautiful note to end on. Jurassic World Evolution 2 is out on 9th November 2021 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One and PC.


17 of the Coolest Dinosaur Toys for Kids of all Ages

Saturday, November 6, 2021

It’s time to get shopping. If you’re looking for a gift for a kid, you might start with the hottest toys, but that can be overwhelming—so your next best bet is to focus on their passions and interests.

If your kiddo is a dino fan, you've arrived at the next best thing to Jurassic Park. While there are only so many plastic stegosauruses one kid can have, worry not. We’ve rounded up 17 of the best dinosaur toys perfect for all those budding paleontologists, from Squeakee the Balloon Dino to a Play-doh-eating T-rex.

1. Tristan Triceratops Squishmallow

Just because your kiddo’s a dino-head doesn’t mean all their dinosaurs have to be sharp-toothed and out for vengeance. Give them something soft to snuggle with this holiday season and pick up a dinosaur Squishmallow. We’re partial to Tristan Triceratops, whose red crest and signature horns are as cute as a button. Note that Squishmallows are selling out fast, though, so don't hesitate to add to cart.

Get the Tristan Triceratops Squishmallow from Amazon for $24.98

2. Dinosaur Pull Back Cars

If your kid’s into both dinosaurs and cars, consider combining those loves by picking up this set of DinoBros roadsters. You get six dino-cars in the set, and their pull-back action is easy enough for even little ones to understand. More than 9,000 Amazon shoppers give them an average 4.7 star rating, raving about their detail, durability, and speed.

Get the DinoBros Pull Back Cars from Amazon for $14.99

3. Squeakee The Balloon Dino

An adorable and modern-looking toy, Squeakee The Balloon Dino resembles a dinosaur created by some balloon-twisting clown at a birthday party. It’s made of plastic, though, and much heartier than an easily-popped balloon. He’s more fun, too: Squeakee is totally interactive and comes to life when children play with him, stomping, chomping and dancing. He makes over 70 sounds including laughing, farting and popping, and can play games like Chicken and Tug Of War. He’ll even engage in some friendly roaring with your child, but if your child roars too loudly, Squeakee will run away. Now that’s a way to encourage inside voices!

Get Squeakee The Balloon Dino from Amazon for $69

4. Interactive Dinosaur Sound Book

For recent entrants into the dinosaur game, snag this set of 12 plastic dinosaurs paired with an interactive, noisy book. Kids reading the book will learn a little about each of the dinosaurs in their pack, and, by pressing the button in the book with the picture of the dinosaur, they’ll hear the rumbling sounds paleontologists think each dinosaur made. Heck, maybe you’ll learn something too!

Get the Prextex Interactive Dinosaur Sound Book from Amazon for $24.99

5. Jumbo Dino Egg

If your kiddo’s a little older and loves to dig in the yard looking for dinosaur bones, direct their energy toward something a little more fruitful by picking up this Jumbo Dino Egg. Part science project, part smash-em-up, this egg holds 12 unique dinosaur models inside, including a T-rex, Dilophosaurus and Ankylosaurus. Kids can use the kit’s chisel, brush and mallet to break the creatures loose and then learn about the dinos with the fact-filled cards included in the set. 

Get the Dan & Darci Jumbo Dino Egg from Amazon for $24.99

6. Play-Doh Dino Crew Crunchin’ T-Rex

Get your kid’s hands a little dirty with this dino-riffic Play-Doh set. It comes with fresh dough and a chomping, noisy dinosaur that crunches, gulps and burps while eating your kiddo’s colorful creations. If that weren’t cool enough, the dino also has a see-through stomach, as well as pooping capabilities, complete with sound effects. A pterodactyl buddy is included, and kids can use the molds on both dinosaurs to create accessories for the reptiles. 

Get the Play-Doh Dino Crew Crunchin’ T-Rex from Amazon starting at $15.99

7. T-Rex Dinosaur Backpack

Part toy and part accessory, this kid-sized backpack comes with a T-rex in tow, strapped in like a Baby Bjorn. It’s great for kids who might be travelling around the holiday season and need a place to put all their goodies. Nearly 5,000 Amazon shoppers give it a 4.8-star average, with many saying their kids take their backpacks everywhere. 

Get the Naturally Kids Dinosaur Backpack from Amazon starting at $24.98

8. Pillow Pet Triceratops

Another soft and squishy bit of dino goodness, this Pillow Pet Triceratops is both a stuffy and a pillow. Snuggly and easy to clean, it's as good for road trips and airplanes as it is for watching a movie at home. It has a high 4.9-star rating thanks to its cozy fabric and giftability.

Get the Pillow Pet Triceratops from Amazon for $26.92

9. Jurassic World Mega Mouth T-Rex

If your kid’s a fan of hyper-realistic dinos, this toy could be for them—even if they haven’t seen "Jurassic World." The Mega Mouth T-rex is intended for kids ages 3 to 8, and stands about 16 inches tall. With a little help, it lunges and chomps on an accompanying human figure, then swallows it down into its dino belly. Just open the door on the dinosaur’s back to retrieve the little guy, and then start the process all over again. 

Get the Fisher Price Jurassic World Mega Mouth T-Rex from Amazon for $44.99

10. Lego Duplo Jurassic World Set

Another little kid-friendly spin on "Jurassic World," this Lego Duplo set features a T-rex with an opening mouth, a baby Triceratops and dinosaur trainer Owen Grady with his motorcycle. You’ll also get open-and-close fence pieces, as well as a buildable entrance to Jurassic World. Kids can mix and match this set with their existing Duplo kits to create whatever they want. Let the world-building begin. 

Get the Lego Duplo Jurassic World Dinosaur Breakout Set from Amazon for $29.99

11. Dinosaur World Racetrack

Speaking of world-building, this 156-piece set allows dinosaur fanatics to build their own dino-town, complete with road, bridges and two battery-powered, light-up dinosaur cars. Kids can use the 144 track pieces to build a dinosaur racetrack or a dinosaur road, then let the creative play begin. It’s immensely popular on Amazon, with almost 11,000 rave reviews. 

Get the Dinosaur World Racetrack from Amazon for $28.99

12. Dinosaur Projector Lamp

Not so much a toy as a piece of entertainment, this dinosaur projector is both a night light and a party starter. With a rotating light and 16 different colors, the rotating lamp shines its dinosaurs onto the walls and ceilings of any darkened room. It runs on batteries or plugs into the wall, and comes with a separate transportation-themed dome, if or when dinos go out of style in your home. 

Get the Dinosaur Projector Lamp from Amazon for $22.99

13. Snap-N-Learn Matching Dinosaurs

A tactile toy for little ones, Snap-N-Learn Dinosaurs help build your child’s fine motor skills, shape recognition, matching, color identification and hand-eye coordination. There are nine colored dinosaurs in the 18-piece set, and all of them can be mixed and matched into wacky rainbow combinations. When you’re done playing, the dinos can be stored in their accompanying plastic bucket. Nearly 2,000 Amazon shoppers have given the dinos an average 4.8 stars, saying they’re great for “little hands” and are “super cute.” 

Get the Learning Resources Snap-N-Learn Matching Dinosaurs (18-Pc) from Amazon for $19.99

14. Dino Dump: Dinosaur Poop Board Game

A card game perfect for kids with a fondness for toilet humor, Dino Dump is great for ages 6 and up. Players try and get rid of all their cards first, but watch out: You can use cards to throw meteorites, hide under leaves and even scoop up poop in an attempt to beat out the competition. The loser is the player who gets stuck with the scratch-and-sniff poop sticker at the end of the game, which really adds insult to injury. 

Get the Dino Dump: Dinosaur Poop Board Game from Amazon for $14.99

15. Dino Ranch Plush

If your little one has fallen in love with Disney Junior’s "Dino Ranch," there are plenty of cute, licensed toys available that are inspired by the show. Amazon shoppers are most fond of this plush version of main character Blitz. According to the brand, it's perfect for all “rancheroos” looking for a “pre-westoric adventure.” Yee-haw!

Get the Dino Ranch Plush from Amazon for $12.99

16. Step 2 Dino Dig Sand And Water Table

Every kid needs a good water table. They’re perfect for outdoor play, and can even be cleaned out and modified for indoor use if the weather gets a little nippy where you live. Step 2’s Dino Dig water table has separate areas for sand and water and can accommodate multiple kids playing at the same time. It comes with a shovel and rake, as well as two cups and four dinosaurs. Kids can pour water into the top of the table’s volcano and watch as it runs down the side of the mountain.

Get the Step 2 Dino Dig Sand And Water Table from Amazon for $79.99

17. Toy Story Rex Plush

One last stuffed animal dino for the road, this little guy is a favorite of any kid who loves "Toy Story." Amusingly anxious on-screen, this plush Rex is soft-hearted and soft-sided, with embroidered features and scaled texturing. One fan dubs him "very huggable." 

Get the Toy Story Rex Stuffed Animal from Amazon for $22.99


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Into The Wild: The Highest Grossing Jurassic Park Movies, Ranked

Friday, November 5, 2021

With only five films released, the Jurassic Park franchise is one of the highest-grossing with an impressive $4.99 billion.

Almost two decades after Steven Spielberg gave rise to the summer blockbuster phenomenon with Jaws. He changed the game again with his archetypal tale of mankind's arrogance in the face of nature and creation. The original Jurassic Park movie became the highest-grossing film ever upon its release in 1993 and continues to break records in the present times, topping the box office almost three decades later thanks to theaters showing classic movies in place of new releases due to the pandemic.

Spielberg's original movie was so beloved and legendary that it has since given rise to a couple of sequels, besides the Jurassic World trilogy launched in 2015. The latter thrived better at the box office than the original trilogy. Here are all the five movies of the franchise ranked according to their box office collection:

The Underperformer Jurassic Park III

Jurassic Park III, directed by Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston, has some notable redeeming qualities even though it remains the lowest-grossing Jurassic film. The movie featured the Spinosaurus as a menacing alternative instead of the T-Rex though the movie ending was not to everyone’s taste and received mixed reviews. The film had a successful opening weekend, earning $50.3 million, and it earned $368.8 million worldwide, according to Statista, and $181.2 million in the United States. It turned out to be the eighth highest-earning film of the year worldwide but is the lowest-grossing movie in the franchise.

Keeping The Legacy Alive With The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Released in 1997, the actual second film in the Jurassic Park series does seem to have a decent following. Banking on that old Goldblum charm, The Lost World: Jurassic Park brought him and Richard Attenborough back in an extended capacity to keep the Jurassic legacy rolling. The first sequel in the series is easily a darker affair. The King Kong-reminiscent story of a Tyrannosaurus trying to find its baby in the San Diego streets was pretty exciting for the audience.

The Lost World took in $72.1 million on its opening weekend, which was the biggest opening weekend until then. The movie held this record for four and a half years until Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in November 2001. It also became the fastest film to pass the $100 million mark within six days. Despite these records, its total box office gross was lower than the total of the original movie. It grossed $229.1 million in the U.S. and $389.5 million worldwide, scouring a total of $618.6 million worldwide, becoming the second-highest-earning film of 1997 after Titanic.

Jurassic Park And The Spielberg Magic

With the original Jurassic Park movie, Steven Spielberg, David Koepp, and Michael Crichton set up a foundation for blockbusters so awe-inspiring that it did capture the entire world’s imagination. The first film of the franchise, Jurassic Park, scored $1,032 billion, as Box Office Mojo reports. This was the first film that bagged $1 billion at the global box office back in 1993.

One of the best examples of the Spielberg magic is Jurassic Park that showed humans clearly out of their element, fused with Michael Crichton’s science-oriented layout in 1990. There’s a reason people are hyped for the reunion of Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, and Sam Neil for the upcoming sequel, as the trio that helped to persuade the world that dinosaurs could roam the Earth once again will forever be an indispensable part of this benchmark franchise.

The Box Office Smasher Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom pitted Owen Grady, and Claire Dearing played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, against each other, resulting in the most Crichton-esque mischief ever. It gave the fifth movie an exciting arc. It blended the Frankenstein complex of a hybrid dinosaur, the Hitchcock mystery, and a thrilling climax. This blockbuster fleshed out the basic skeleton of The Lost World: Jurassic Park into an exciting rollercoaster ride and blew open the door for future films to run completely insane, as Screen Rant reports.

The movie swept $417.7 million in the United States and Canada box offices, and $892.7 million in other places, for a net worldwide gross of $1.310 billion, against a production budget of $170 million.

The Revival With Jurassic World

After being dormant for two decades, the first spin-off to bring Jurassic Park back from its hibernation is still the best of the sequel bunch, as it recreates the marvel and awe that made everyone flock to the screens with some new ploys.

It was the biggest blockbuster of the year for a brief period, introducing the world to hybrid dinosaurs with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as the updated franchise’s front runners. Against a production budget of $150 million, Jurassic World demolished the box office with a worldwide total of $1.670 billion with $652.3 million in the United States and Canada and $1.018 billion in other countries. It became the first movie to gross over $500 million in a single weekend. As Forbes reports, despite the several rival franchises, the Jurassic Park saga has always been delightful and adrenaline-pumping without a dull moment in the movies.

The second trilogy will culminate with the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion. Despite the diversified response to the first two Jurassic World movies, expectations are high for Dominion thanks to the return of the legendary Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum from the original trendsetter movie. The film is anticipated to blast the box office and affix Jurassic World as the biggest of the Jurassic trilogies, commercially speaking.


Source: StatistaForbesScreen RantBox Office