Jurassic World Dominion
Time to spill the tea on Jurassic World Dominion - the good, the bad and the ugly. On this episode, Adele chats with illustrator and designer Cella Siegelman aka Gummmydragon about the dinosaurs of Dominion
Adele Pentland (00:00.278)
Today on the show, we're here to dissect Jurassic World Dominion with special guest Cella Siegelman, aka Gummmydragon. This episode, we discuss the importance of palaeoart, Therizinosaurus claws, and turning terrible lizards into movie monsters. Watch out, this one contains major spoilers. Pals in Palaeo presents Jurassic World Dominion with Gummmydragon.
Adele Pentland (00:34.734)
Pals and Palaeo acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land throughout Australia and their connections to land, sky, waterways and community. We pay our respects to the elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today who might be listening. This episode was recorded on Koa Country in Winton, central western Queensland.
Adele Pentland (01:01.826)
This is Pals in Palaeo, the show where we dig into the form, function, and family groupings of fossils and nerd out over prehistoric pop culture. On today's bonus episode, we are here to discuss the final instalment of the famous dinosaur franchise, Billy and the Cloneasaurus. Just kidding. We're here to talk about Jurassic World Dominion. Helping me out on this epic journey, I have designer and illustrator, Cella Siegelman, the business owner behind Gummmydragon and Pinhistoric.
Cella Siegelman: Yeah, hi! Hi Adele. Thanks for having me. Adele and I have exchanged many things like merch and art and kind words and all those things. So thank you so much for having me on.
Adele: Before we get into it, I just want to acknowledge the Koa people as the traditional owners and custodians of the land where I speak to you today and acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Cella, before we get into it, what are your pronouns?
Chel: My pronouns are she, her, so yeah.
Adele: Awesome. Thank you so much. And yes, before we get into Jurassic World Dominion, I also just want to do a disclaimer, we are going to, I guess, nitpick some of the design choices for some of the dinosaurs, but overall, I think what Jurassic Park has done for like the palaeontology community has been… Absolutely mind blowing and game changing. I know people my age who are just like, yeah, Jurassic Park was a major influence and inspiration and just fuelled their fascination and love for like dinosaurs and science in general. Do you know people that are sort of very much the same way?
Chel: Yeah. I mean, the most prevalent form of dinosaur media is Jurassic Park. So like, for example, when I'm vending my art at an event that isn't dinosaur based and I say, oh, you know, what are your favourite dinosaurs? People usually say the ones from Jurassic Park, you know, like a T-Rex, a Brachiosaurus, Velociraptor, that sort of thing. But then it sparks a conversation of like, oh, well, here's the accurate version of a Velociraptor or a T-Rex. And then I start to talk to them about just like the real dinosaur in general.
Chel: And how I incorporated them into my personal art and designs. But there was still that spark there of Jurassic Park introducing people and the masses in general. Like, to dinosaurs. They were animals that were real. And then, you know, the CGI and all of that just made them feel so real versus just bones.
Adele: 100%. It made dinosaurs mainstream and it made them cool. And I guess what a lot of people love about the first Jurassic Park movie is that you get those glimpses of these interactions and reminders that, as you said before, these were living, breathing animals. But I don't know, in Dominion, it feels like there's maybe like a little bit less of that.
Chel: Oh, a hundred percent.
Adele: But we can get into that a little bit later.
Adele: So I'm actually for today, I'm wearing one of Chel's pins. It's this little Nyctosaurus, which is a pterosaur because of course pterosaurs are my favourites, but it's also like just kind of combined with some like clouds and it's crest is like a lightning bolt. It's very fun. You're currently in your final year of university or college?
Chel: Yeah. So I have one class left, which is my portfolio wrap up class, and then I will be done. So it's kind of crazy. I've been in school for five years. And so from then, after I get my diploma in my hand, it's full stop Gummmydragon! Pinhistoric is being revived. We're going to keep going and pushing into this brand and expanding and all that. So very excited about it.
Adele: I'm super excited because I have a good handful of your pins and stuff. And it's not just T-Rex, Velociraptor, anything like that. I've got one for like Dimetrodon, which isn't a dinosaur. I've got one for Dunkleosteus, which is an amazing Devonian fish. Oh, Stegouros, which is a more recent, well, they thought it was a Stegosaur, but then they were like, oh no, this is just an Ankylosaur that decided to have a crazy like… knife-tail, essentially. But yeah, I just love that you don't only focus on dinosaurs, you sort of like drawing and showing off all kinds of prehistoric creatures as well. It's really cool.
Chel: Yeah, honestly, dinosaurs are kind of minimal in the sense of scale. Like when I first started, it was just only dinosaurs that I knew. I didn't even really know what a Carnotaurus was when I first started drawing it. And now my main character is part Carnotaurus, part dragon, mostly Carnotaurus for being honest, but yeah, no, just getting into the palaeo cartooning world because palaeo art doesn't necessarily feel like it describes what I do?
Adele: Yeah. When I think of palaeo art, it's like, yeah, a realistic reconstruction of that animal and its environment, and you're showing off the animals and you're trying to make the proportions of their bodies realistic, but you also have fun with it. You add a little bit of like flavour.
Chel: Exactly. Yeah, so when I take reference from those dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, which I've learned so much about other types of prehistoric life, it's been kind of nuts. I kind of just search for them as much as I can because they're just so weird and cool and diverse. But yeah, when I take reference from those palaeoarts or palaeontologists that I know, I use their advice for reference as well. So I do a lot of research before creating these designs and I really do love making weird animals cute, especially since it's kind of free game.
Adele: Yeah. It's not like a museum owns the IP of a species. No one can prevent anyone else from being like, no, that's our like intellectual property. You can't draw that. Like it's an animal, it's a species. And if you add your own flair to it, then... Yeah, exactly. That's awesome. So just to sort of like zoom back. Have you always loved drawing prehistoric things or has it been like, did you lose your way and then come back to it?
Chel: So originally I started drawing prehistoric animals, just mostly dinosaurs in general, and then maybe a Dimetrodon here or there. When I was really young, like five where I grew up in Houston, Texas. My grandmother had a membership to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. And by the time I was like 10, they availed their new dinosaur hall where they have like a bunch of skeletons, just really beautiful exhibits. They have even more fossils now, but back then I would just take my little notebook and just go through the winding halls of that big fossil exhibit and just draw all of them.
And then I would create my own little dinosaur characters and stuff like that. I kind of lost my way with them, not being as interested during the beginning of college and the end of high school. But then about a few years ago, right before the pandemic, I started getting into dinosaurs more. And then through being in the pandemic, you know, everybody's on the internet, I started posting my art more and I was trying to figure out what do I want to draw. I was drawing flowers and plants and stuff and I was like, this isn't really me. And I used to go on dinosaur digs when I was a lot younger too and like Utah and Colorado and stuff. Really? Yeah, my grandma was super cool. She still is, but she was like.
“We're going to Utah. I'm booking us trips!” Yeah, I helped unearth a femur of some sort of sauropod. I helped a little bit, found like a rib bone, whatever. I didn't keep it, obviously. There's always been a lot of like science and palaeontology encouragement. I wanted to be a palaeontologist when I was younger because, you know, everybody's got their astronaut, firefighter, but I was like palaeontologist.
Adele: Mine was vet.
Chel: Everybody's got that thing, but I'm glad it still continued until today. And I love art and illustration.
Chel: I wasn't loving it in school. That's what I was studying before I had done graphic design was illustration. And I wasn't getting to illustrate what I loved. And then I switched to design, which I love. And now I get to have fun and illustrate dinosaurs. So it kind of all just like worked its way back. And so I felt really successful with that subject with dinosaurs and prehistoric animals in general. So yeah.
Adele: That's so awesome. I feel like I've known you for like a while through the internet, but I didn't realize you've been out on dinosaur digs and stuff. Like that's amazing.
Chel: And through drawing dinosaurs, I've been able to make connections to people in the palaeontology community where I've gotten the opportunity to go behind the scenes of many different museums and see their collections, talk to other palaeontologists and just see their work, and hear what they have studied. It's been kind of crazy, especially when I went up to Montana and Ekalaka and the Black Hills and seeing all of those very famous areas in America, also Colorado as well.
Adele: Oh, I think even in Australia, we know about Black Hills.
Chel: Yeah, the Black Hills Institute, I actually got to see where they cast Stan and all that. And so that was pretty cool. We got to go back there and do all of that. And in Ekalaka, we were volunteers, me and a couple other dinosaur friends. We were able to help them prep a mosasaur before guests who had paid to, you know, help dig. But I was able to find some phalanges in the wash. So that was pretty cool.
Adele: That's sick. I loved drawing as a kid, but obviously like I sort of went down the science side of things and honestly, if you ask me to draw something now, I'm just happy if when I'm finished people recognize what I tried to draw. I'm like, that's a success, that's a win. I'm not sure if it's just an Australian thing, but I feel like it's very hard to try and go down the arts path,
Adele: and do a science route at the same time. There's a lot of timetable clashes and they're just like, “Oh, no one likes doing art and science at the same time” - so they just kind of scheduled them at the same time. Does that make sense?
Chel: No, that makes sense. I mean, the only way that I really started thriving in art was choosing to go to college for it. So I had plenty of time to kind of hone my skills, but I've always also been interested in sciences as well, mostly like biology sciences, but you know, it still relates back to palaeontology anyway. It's not the biggest fan of geology. It's really cool, like geological time and all of that, but just, I like the animals and the plant life more so than the earth and its many layers and how rock forms and all that stuff like that. But yeah, art was my thing. Yeah.
Adele: Yeah, no, I'm definitely the same. It's much easier for me to grasp onto animals more so plants a little bit. But then when I have to do mineral identification and look down a microscope at thin sections and stuff, I just, I don't know what it is, but it's like someone's turned a TV on in my head and it's just like white noise, just like static. Yeah. It's just really hard for me to, um, to take that information in.
But if you get me to look at micro fossils, little calcareous shells of algae and stuff, and look at the different types, I could do that for hours, easy.
Chel: Wow, I'm becoming more interested in that kind of stuff, the little tiny guys, but I definitely am a dinosaur gal. You know, you slap a dinosaur fossil or any sort of prehistoric animal fossil in front of me, and I'm definitely gonna be more drawn to that.
Adele: Yeah. And some of them are incredibly distinct as well. Let's talk about some of the dinosaurs in Jurassic World Dominion. I saw this movie in cinemas last year and just to like put it in context, I hadn't been in a cinema in like three years.
Chel: Yeah, same.
Adele: And then to also put it in context again, I live very remotely, so we don't really have a big cinema near us, but it also happened that my husband broke his collarbone.
Adele: And we were in a major city so he could get surgery on it. So my thing was like, “Okay, in the couple of days that we're just kind of hanging and chilling out, let's go see Dominion.” But the movie theatre was pretty full. And then I had these two chatty guys next to me talking during the movie a little bit, which was a bit interesting.
Chel: That was probably me. Yeah, no, that was definitely me. I think I was face palming every like five minutes. Like second-hand embarrassment was real and I'm not exaggerating, where I felt really embarrassed watching this movie. Just like the second-hand like, oh my God, what are they doing? Why are they doing this?
Adele: Yeah, no, I had some of these moments and we'll get into like what caused me to have it, but I was like angrily whispering, just being like, “What? No, no, they didn't. Oh! Oh, they did it again!”
Chel: Same. Yeah. Okay. So let's try and start with maybe a bit more of a crowd pleaser.
Adele: I know you love Carnotaurus as we mentioned before, you should probably explain what Carnotaurus is for people who aren't familiar. So it's a type of theropod. So it's a meat-eating dinosaur. Yep. To me, it kind of looks a bit like a T-Rex, but there are differences. The skull to me kind of looks a bit more boxy, kind of more of a bulldog situation. Yeah. The arms are actually even tinier than T-Rex, if it was possible, but they have four digits on their hands, I think.
Adele: And then of course the biggest thing is that they have horns as well. Yeah, they do. Sort of, I guess above where their eyes are.
Chel: Their eyes, yeah.
Adele: And also their arms are super special in the sense of they have ball and socket joints, which I found is super cool because it seems that they could have moved them independently from each other.
Chel: Yeah, Prehistoric Planet definitely really showed off.
Adele: Oh, I didn't know that.
Chel: Yeah, it was like a Prehistoric Planet thing for those who don't know what Prehistoric Planet is. It's another like popular dinosaur media. It's a documentary.
Adele: It's on Apple, isn't it?
Chel: Yeah. And it has David Attenborough on there doing the narration. And they're trying to make pretend as if the dinosaurs were in a BBC animal documentary. And I think his name is Darren Nash or something like that.
Adele: Darren Naish?
Chel: Naish, yeah. He was like the main researcher behind it, as well as many other palaeontologists were consultants and palaeoartists were consultants. So, very cool. But yeah, that's where they talk about the ball and socket joint that you can see on the skeleton, the fossils and stuff, but they really brought it to life. Yeah, no, Carnotaurus is really weird. They got those long legs, kind of beefy, kind of skinny, supposedly. Definitely weird.
Adele: They look really long, but also quite muscular, as well.
Chel: Yeah, exactly.
Adele: And I think the skull also has some, they're called rugosities and it's a nod to rugose coral. So it's like a texture on the skull thing. Sorry to get a little bit technical, but in addition to having their horns, they have some like other weird ornamentation with their skull. It's not like they're crazy, like a triceratops, but it is quite different and distinct compared to like other big theropods.
Chel: Yeah, I didn't know that actually. So that's pretty cool. Like in reference to like Rugops and stuff like that, like texturing on the top or something like that, like bumps or knobs.
Chel: Do we have like any idea?
Adele: Oh, what it's for? I think a lot of the time when they find that they're just like something attaches here.
Chel: It's either something attaches. Or, or there's sexual display.
Adele: Oh, sexual display. Yeah. That's the go-to, isn't it? Or like thermoregulation?
Chel: Yeah, that's another one. Those are always the three: Attachment point, sexual display or dimorphism.
Adele: Or both.
Chel: Or some sort of regulation, defence… It's a fun world.
Adele: But getting back to our boy, our very good bumpy boy, Carnotaurus. So I believe in Dominion, there are two?
Chel: Yeah, there is one adult that was being kept in a cage in like the Morocco. I think that's where they are?
Adele: I think it was Malta.
Chel: There's one Carnotaurus being kept in a cage in like the underground like dealers market. So there's that one. And then there's a little baby one, which if I'm being honest, looks kind of like they just took the big model and shrunk it down.
Chel: So they're essentially the same one.
Adele: Yeah, no, I got that vibe as well. What did you think of the proportions of the animal though? Like a passing grade or?
Chel: I would say it's passing. Yeah. First of all, at least they gave it horns.
Adele: That's true.
Chel: You know, they could have done something else crazy. They gave it like the classic pointy triangular kind of horns. But at the same time, I'm kind of referencing some images from the movie. And when I watched it earlier, just to refresh my memory, it looks like the T-Rex model? But then they just smushed his head to make it that signature like Carnotaurus trapezoid box shape head.
Chel: They did make it skinnier. So that's, that's better. They didn't make it like fully T-Rex, but the body is definitely just the T-Rex model.
Adele: Yeah. I've got that vibe as well, but was just like, oh, what are the main things? Do they change the arms and did they change the head? Which they did do.
Chel: They did, they shrunk the arms. I'm kind of looking at a picture right now. They've got, yeah, I think they've got four or five. So if they got four in there, then at least they got the number of digits right. Five, nah, but the biggest thing that I've seen with other theropods and just other dinosaurs in there, but mostly the theropods, is that the arms are not facing the correct angle. Like, you know how other dinosaurs, like theropods and stuff, they have it inside.
Adele: Oh, right. It's, um, it's clappers, not slappers.
Chel: Yeah, yeah. Clappers. laughing Clappers, not slappers. Yeah, exactly. They've got in Jurassic World dominion and just in Jurassic World and park in general, they have their hands like folded in on themselves, the slappers, as we're saying.
Chel: But instead they should all be clappers because you know, to have them like that, I mean, that's how they were. Why couldn't they just do that? I don't know. But I guess it doesn't look as like weird and freaky, the movie, these monsters.
Adele: Yeah, I don't know. Maybe they wanted to like, I know Common Descent uses this term and some other folks use this term like “monsterification”. Maybe they wanted the dinosaurs to like, look a little bit more devious in scheming and stuff.
And it's hard to sort of get that vibe when you have something that's like just about ready to clap or…
Chel: About to yeah.. I'll just grab you right here. My little in-facing arms and hands versus little claw hands. It might also be because what's it called? The designs in Jurassic World and Jurassic Park, like apparently they've gotten more crazy. This is allegedly because you can't copyright an animal.
Right? You can't have a show with a lion in it and then copyright that lion unless it's, you know um, like Simba, the lion. He's got a very specific design and style, so you can copyright that lion. So that theory could be applied to the Jurassic Park/World franchise where they're making all these dinosaurs look very specific and distinct and unique because they can make a buttload of toys from them. And merchandise and all that and they can copyright and protect those designs. So I heard this from other palaeo people as well. So it's kind of just like a thought.
Adele: Oh, that's so interesting. That totally makes sense from a business standpoint though.
Chel: Yeah, no, because that's I mean, that's how it works. You know, it's like our blue Raptor is named blue. It has a name and then it has a blue stripe. You can't have a raptor that looks like this. And that's probably why they've kept all of these designs the same? It's because one, it goes along with the original franchise. The dinosaurs are more so now like monster characters, like Godzilla.
Adele: Yeah, just kind of zooming out and not talking specifically about Carnotaurus, but just in general, the animal behaviour side of things. We don't also have those glimpses of just watching the animals interact. They're either...
Adele: part of the background and just kind of setting the scene, or they're terrorizing people. Like no in-between, no neutral interactions, or they're like, I don't know, a plot device almost.
Chel: Yeah. I think the only neutral interaction we get in relation to the dinosaurs is when Owen in the beginning is like chasing after the Parasaurolophus, which when the trailers were first coming out, people, you know... In my like little palaeo circle, we were like, “Okay, you know, the Parasaurolophus doesn't look horrible!” It looks just like slightly off, you know, I'm not necessarily sure if they can still go up on their hind legs or not. I've heard recently that they can't anymore. But yeah, they're like up. I'm like, “I don't think so”.
Adele: Yeah, I was super surprised to see them like running full pelt on two legs. I thought, the whole thing was they're mostly walking on all fours. They're mostly quadrupedal, but they can go up on their back legs.
Chel: Yeah. Like to look around or to get food or something.
Adele: Yeah. But not like sprinting around. Like a dog can raise up on two legs, but when they're running around, you don't see them running around on two legs.
Chel: Oh yeah. They're on fours. I had, uh, I had so many thoughts with the Parasaurolophus scene.
So in addition to working as a palaeontologist, I help run a sheep and cattle station. I know what it's like to work with large herd animals and just the whole thing. I'm like, this animal hasn't been domesticated, but let me just calm you down. The way I did with the velociraptors.
Chel: I'm gonna hold out my hand.
Adele: Yeah, I also heard like another comparison. It was like a How to Train your Dragon moment.
Chel: Yeah, it's like How to Train your Dragon, like Toothless the dragon, I don't know, I wouldn't say it's more intelligent than dinosaurs, but it's more like humanistic in his ways because we're humanising a dragon so you can kind of do whatever you want. But like with dinosaurs, we can kind of assume they were more like animals. They would act more like an animal would not necessarily like stupid, but you know, it's like some random dude is coming up to an herbivore, you know, they're not going to be...
Adele: And if that animal's never seen a human before.
Adele: They're not going to want to bar of it. I've got like potty calves. So like bottle fed calves. If they're out in a paddock for like, you know, more than three months, six months, and I try and call them over. Normally they don't come over to me.
Even the ones that really like neck scritches and stuff. A lot of the time they're just like, nah, peace out. So yeah, I had so… there are so many things and like, I've tried to lasso things as well, and it's normally a stationary animal that I'm trying to pull out of like a muddy water hole. I can't get it first go. Heck, I'm there for five minutes!
Chel: Oh, you're not Owen.
Adele: I'm not Owen. That's my problem.
Chel: No, he's like the guy. He puts his hand up-
Adele: He has the luck of Deadpool. Like things just work out for him, but that's just like any movie character.
Chel: Yeah. Everything works out his way.
Adele: Yeah. I'm just not giving enough main character energy. That's my problem.
Chel: Yeah, exactly. You have to really believe in the hand in front of the cattle's face to get them to mutually respect you because they would know what that means. Right?
Adele: Silly me.
Chel: But Parasaurolophus is fine. Carnotaurus is okay. What other good ones, you know?
Adele: Okay, let's open a can of worms though. Let's go for Therizinosaurus because I know you have thoughts.
Chel: Oh, yeah. No, there are plenty of thoughts.
Adele: Okay, so let's describe. Oh. Let's zoom back. Um, Parasaurolophus for anyone who doesn't know, it's like nicknamed the duck-billed dinosaur. It's like ducky from land before time. So like a big herbivore, a big ornithopod part of the group. Definitely hadrosauroids, possibly hadrosaurids. I'm not super up with that side of things.
Chel: Yeah, neither am I.
Adele: Um, but you know, like friend-shaped.
Adele: With like-
Chel: The big crest.
Adele: The big crest as well, possibly like a resonating chamber. But herd animals, so like the depiction of it sort of running around with others of its group, that was also like pretty accurate for what we think these animals were like.
Chel: Yeah, exactly. It's like that one, that part was okay. And they also do that with the ceratopsians.
Adele: Which ones are like nicknamed the cows of the Cretaceous? Is it Parasaurolophus?
Adele: Torosaurus, okay. This is me showing that I'm not an American. If I was based in the US, I would know this stuff.
Chel: Yeah, no, ceratopsians, I think have been referred to as the cows of the Cretaceous. That's kind of where I put them in my head.
Adele: Because they're so common.
Chel: Parasaurs, if anything, I'd feel more like little horses or something. I don't know. That's just the spirit.
Adele: They're still like quite large animals as well.
Chel: I think, yeah, both of those groups of dinosaurs are like the livestock, you know, esque dinosaurs.
Adele: Big common herbivores running around. I think what it is, I've heard people say when they collect fossils sometimes, if they see like a Parasaurolophus,
Adele: they don't even collect it because they're just so common.
Chel: Oh, that's unfortunate.
Adele: And for us Australians, they're just like, what? What? We collect everything.
Chel: Yeah, no, no. That's, that's pretty true. I'm trying to remember like on the past digs I've been, it probably was not Parasaurolophus specifically, but Hadrosaurs. They are kind of a dime a dozen here.
Adele: If we found one here, we would be freaking out. We would lose our tiny minds.
Chel: Yeah, they just weren't there, right?
Adele: Yeah. It doesn't look like it, but they're more Late Cretaceous, whereas the stuff that we sort of dig… sort of early to mid-Cretaceous. But anyway, let's get back onto Therizinosaurus because it's a weirdo, like it's a weird dinosaur. So it's a theropod that was herbivorous, it ate plants, but it has these massive claws. It's like the Edward Scissorhands of the dinosaur world. I believe the claws are like up to one meter long. Apparently it's like the largest claws that have ever been found in the animal kingdom across all geologic time. Super weird.
Chel: Even bigger than Deinocheirus? Because Deinocheirus got some killer claws too.
Adele: Ooh, I'm not a hundred percent certain, who has the biggest claws… They're big. Some of the biggest. They're, they're up there.
Adele: And they're quite long and straight. Like they don't really have like a traditional kind of shape. And yeah, they're quite large as well. And I believe they're a Therizinosaurus. Like the name has something to do with scythe essentially. Where do we start with this absolute mess?
Chel: So, I mean, we can always talk about the good things.
Adele: Okay. Let's talk about the good things first and then let's absolutely hammer into it.
Chel: We can rip it to shreds, but I think the first good thing they did at least was they put the claws on there.
Adele: They did put the claws on.
Chel: So they at least identified it as if there's a Therizinosaurus. The rest of it kind of goes downhill. Like I would say like the general posture is pretty all right. You know, they gave it like that upward slant.
Adele: It has like a long, noodle-y neck as well.
Adele: So like a dinosaur with like a relatively small head, not tiny, but long neck, big body, bipedal as well. So walking around on two legs because it can't use its front appendages for walking. That's just not an option with these things. They have to be held up right.
Chel: Yeah, I know.
Adele: And it has feathers as well in the movie.
Chel: So it technically does have feathers. It technically has feathers. It looks more like fur, but we're just going to hope that they were actually feathers.
Adele: Like a downy kind of feather.
Adele: So not for flying, but probably to sort of like stay warm when they needed to be warm and keep cool when they wanted to be cool. So that's fine.
Chel: Yeah. Cause there are a lot of modern depictions of Therizinosaurus being kind of like an elephant where they just have mostly skin and then they have like little feathers or-
Adele: Oh really?
Chel: Yeah, or the other depiction is having feathers everywhere and having wings coming off of the arms like a raptor would.
Adele: Like the feathery wings like over raptor.
Chel: Yeah, yeah, that would be a good comparison. So it's like, there's one version where it barely has any feathers, kind of like how T-Rex is being depicted where it has like no feathers, but then it can have in some depictions like little feather fibres here or there, just because some people have made the argument in their palaeoart or just in their logic… of it was a very big animal, so like why would it need feathers?
Adele: Yeah, so with large animals, does it get to a point where their thermoregulation starts to have its own sort of physics? I've heard it called “gigantothermy”, which is something that like giant leatherback sea turtles have, which is like, they're so big, it becomes a lot easier for them to maintain and regulate their body temperature. So yeah, maybe, maybe something big doesn't need feathers like that.
Chel: Yeah. But you know, it's, it's always cool to see like the different depictions. I personally like where they have feathers sort of in a similar fashion to the Jurassic World Dominion one where it's like half feathered, half not.
That's kind of how I like to do it because, you know, it makes the most sense to me personally, but I can definitely see either like half feathered or barely any feathers being the option just because it was so big, you know, and you look at other big animals in our natural world and back then as well. And also feathers served other purposes for like smaller theropods. So it makes more sense for them versus these larger theropods and other dinosaurs that yeah, like you were saying could keep their own like thermal regulation. So at least Jurassic World has something kind of going in that direction.
Adele: With the feathers?
Chel: Yeah. There is some sort of feathering and also on another one, another Raptor in there. I can't remember what it's called.
Adele: Is it Pyro Raptor?
Chel: The one that's red.
Adele: I think it's Pyro Raptor.
Chel: Yeah. Pyro Raptor. They get that one feathers. So it's become this weird mix of like, which ones are we giving feathers? Which ones are we not giving feathers? We can't give Velociraptor quote unquote feathers, cause we got to keep the brand alive, but we can give all the other Raptors in here.
Adele: Yeah. I think they gave the new ones feathers and the old ones they kept the same designs for because of IP and that kind of thing. But I think they almost tried to like explain it in the story as the ones that don't have feathers have more like genetic splicing of other stuff. Whereas the feathery ones are...
Adele: Yeah, it was, it was interesting. See, they're not even the real thing. Yeah. Cause the whole point is that they just mixed it with a bunch of stuff. So they're not even like “purebred” dinosaurs. I mean, in that universe, it makes sense as to like why they wouldn't look like it.
Chel: But then in the movie, the dinosaurs are treated like that's how they looked though, without acknowledging the fact, oh, they're spliced with like a monitor lizard and a tree frog and all these other different things. Because we had missing DNA. In Dominion specifically, I guess they figured it out. That's never explained, but.
Adele: It's never explained.
Chel: It’s never explained but they finally figured it out how to bring back the actual thing. But there is a Therizinosaurus: so we got some feathers. We got the claws. Other than that, the face is something worth looking at because it's honestly horrifying. I'm looking at a picture of it right now.
Adele: It has a bit of a beak.
Chel: It has a bit of a beak, but not as much of a beak as I would like personally. It's more so like a, like a face with like a hard piece on it versus like a defined beak situation.
Adele: Yeah. It's just kind of like hanging there.
Chel: Yeah. The eyes are a bit weird.
Adele: Well, did they try to make it blind?
Chel: I don't know, just, they've just made it look scary.
Adele: Because we get that close up with Claire and its eyes are like this milky white, which normally means that the tissue has been scarred or scratched. And it just from the way it sort of can't really perceive Claire that well, that it's kind of blind, but then, spoiler alert later, it's fighting like another dinosaur and it's slashing at its eyes. So I don't know, they just really couldn't decide what they were doing. Also, they made this, Therizinosaurus super mean.
Adele: So it slaps a deer for no reason whatsoever.
Chel: They don't even eat that.
Adele: Just so mean for no reason. And it's sort of like implied that if it catches Claire, it's going to like eat her?
Chel: Yeah, rip her apart and eat her, which they don't eat that.
Adele: Yeah. Or just slap her.
Chel: Aren't they just like purely herbivores?
Adele: Okay. So I think for the most part, it looks like the smaller relatives appear to be herbivorous. So it's implied that for Therizinosaurus, it's probably a big herbivore as well. And a paper that I was looking at that came out in February of this year by Zichuan Qin and colleagues in Current Biology, they basically say like, for an animal that size, it probably can't be insectivorous.
Adele: It can't eat insects. It probably won't be able to find enough to meet its like metabolic requirements. It won't meet its calorie requirements if it was an insectivore. And the reason why I wanted to look up this paper as well. Um, so the title of the paper is called “Functional space analyses reveal the function and evolution of the most bizarre theropod manual unguals”. And basically that paper is just trying to work out what are the big claws used for.
And it's really interesting because it sort of looked at the claws of Therizinosaurus from like three different approaches. So how strong are they when they pierce or stab through material? And this becomes important later on in the movie. Are they able to scratch and dig? And are they able to like, hook into something and then pull it and break it apart so that last one is kind of more in reference to breaking apart termite mounds.
And in each of those three scenarios, there'd be catastrophic failure. The claws would break. In each of those three instances.
Adele: So it doesn't appear that they're really used for anything in terms of their function. And the reason why I bring this up, this is a massive spoiler alert. At one point, there's like a dinosaur fight between, what is it? Therizinosaurus, T rex, OG, T-Rex, Rexy, and um, Giganotosaurus?
Chel: The Giganotosaurus or the Giganotosaurus, whatever you prefer laughs.
Adele: I think the T-Rex throws Giganotosaurus onto the claws of Therizinosaurus. It just gets straight impaled, stabbed, and then just slides off.
Adele: And when I saw that, I was just like, there is no way. And this researcher, Zichuan Qin, just like had the same thought as well. It's just like, they can't do that.
So it was really interesting that since the movie has come out, there's been this new research that demonstrates that these claws would not have been able to cope with the weight of another animal just getting thrown onto them.
Chel: They probably did that research specifically because they saw the movie and they were like, “There's no way”.
Adele: I'm here for it.
Chel: Yeah. They're like, I have to disprove this. Yeah. And honestly, that's the amount of pettiness and drive I appreciate.
Chel: Or it's like, no, I'm going to prove this wrong.
Adele: We need it. We need to keep them honest. We need some like science in there. They also looked at alvarezsauroids. I probably pronounced that wrong, who are again, like weird theropods in a different lineage. But yeah, I just thought it was really interesting to note that the claws cannot cope with something like that happening.
Chel: It's so strange. Yeah. The behaviour is so strange. You see him slashing a deer with his claws, you know, just for whatever, even though he's not gonna eat it. Maybe you could chalk it up to, oh, it's blind, it's scared, but at the same time, they have ears and smell. So probably other ways to figure out what's a threat or not, instead of just blindly slashing at something. When it chases Claire into the water, and Claire is apparently this person who super well versed about dinosaurs, you know, she's been rescuing them and she worked in Jurassic World as like a chief organizer, oversee them being created, but not necessarily have a hand in it. So she's got to know something about dinosaurs. How does she not have an idea of what Therizinosaurus is? Especially because if we're assuming that their world is similar to ours, it's like a dinosaur that people know kind of about?
Especially if you're working with dinosaurs, you know, some random Joe probably wouldn't know. But I mean, for her, she's surrounded by the most intelligent geneticists or whichever. She has to market these animals to like Verizon and stuff like that. So how would she not know about different dinosaurs just canonically? I don't know. I can't believe it.
Chel: But at the same time, advertisers might not know everything about what they're trying to advertise.
Adele: Their product.
Chel: Yeah, exactly.
Adele: So are we sort of getting at the fact that she's sort of like running from it as if it's some big predator?
Chel: She's afraid of it.
Adele: When in reality, it's just a herbivore. And I mean- when I say just a herbivore, yes, I realize that elephants can still cause like a lot of damage, but they're not going to eat you!
Chel: No, they're not going to eat you. You just need to like get away from it where she could have just like ran away and like hid somewhere, but now like dive into water and like, I can't make a sound. It's like when you mentioned elephants, most of the time in videos that I've seen personally, they only get violent when humans like go over and start messing with them.
Adele: Yeah, they normally don't want to mess with you unless it's maybe breeding season and there are like bulls pumped with testosterone and hormones and stuff. That can happen too, but, but they're not chasing down humans.
Chel: Yeah. She's just probably walking around. You know, there's a giant crash from her parachute seat thing hitting the ground. And he's like, what's going on? You know, go check it out. But yeah, no, that's the behavioural wise. That part is weird where it's like sniffing her out, like trying to find her.
Adele: She submerges herself fully underwater to hide from it.
Chel: And then he's like, oh, it's gone now.
Adele: But then it just like screams at the water in frustration? Like, I too scream at the water when I can't find my keys.
Chel: And then he just leaves.
Adele: Like what? It was a great shot, cinematically. I get it, but it's just like, why?
Chel: I mean, another part of the brand of Jurassic Park slash world is random theropods screaming so they couldn't miss out.
Adele: And breaking glass.
Chel: Exactly. Breaking glass, screaming, so they couldn't miss out on making the weird theropod do it, for continuity sake, you know, and it's also going back to the whole monster movies aesthetic where it's like… I do commend them for making theropods and other like, they make herbivores scary, which is kind of hard to do.
Adele: Yeah. I feel like they did that though, by like mapping out and projecting predatory behaviour. It's essentially stalking her. Like a predator would prey before they pounce. It's… It's super bizarre.
Chel: Yeah, exactly.
Adele: Again, many face palms.
Chel: Yeah. No, I, I mean, most of the time my face palms honestly were coming from the dialogue that the people were having and just like the whole locust plot, which was a cool plot, you know, originally I thought it was stupid, but then now I'm like, okay, if they had just like, they're having two big plots happening at the same time.
Chel: Where it's like they could have just made a movie about like the whole Locust deal.
Chel: And then they could have had one about the whole dinosaurs deal, but they combined both of them together. And so it created a very jam packed movie, two and a half hours long.
Adele: Yeah. It was a lot because essentially they had two casts that they then wanted to bring together at the end.
Chel: Yeah, that was exhausting following both of them and especially like. I don't know, there were some specific lines that really took me out of it. The classic Ellie Sattler saying, “Oh, Ian Malcolm slid into my DMs”. In my theater, I remember people audibly going like, “Ugh”, you know, and I was like, “Oh, my God”. Their whole cameo is a disaster. I mean, it's cool to see the old gang back, but it felt like a constant like, “Remember the first movie? You guys remember the first movie?” It's crazy. A lot of movies now do it where they're like, we're getting the gang back together, you know, but at the same time-
Adele: It's like, it's like trying to bottle lightning.
Chel: Yeah. Or it's like, you're not going to create the same feeling that these characters originally had because they had the context of the first movie, you know, Alan Grant being this palaeontologist, never seeing dinosaurs alive before and being so fascinated but also terrified of them. But then in Dominion, he's like, “Oh, this Owen guy's holding his hand out in front of one of them. That's crazy. Like, velociraptor, that's my thing, you know?” And it doesn't make any sense because Owen had to like train with them and raise them from babies. But then all of a sudden, everyone can control the Raptors in this movie for whatever reason. They just hold the hand out.
Adele: Yeah. Or any other dinosaur just with the hand thing. Yeah. To me, it's absolutely crazy because like, I've also worked with people who have working dogs and I've worked with some really talented sheep dogs and stuff. The best one I worked with was named Rex.
Adele: But I've also watched many people struggle to work with their dogs and get them to come to their name.
Adele: And it's like, we've domesticated these animals for thousands and thousands of years.
Adele: And yeah, just like the loyalty of the Atrociraptor.
Chel: It's about mutual respect.
Adele: Yeah. Respect and like the laser pointer thing.
Chel: Dude, that is like the biggest can of worms, I think, in the whole Jurassic Park world franchise.
Adele: The weaponizing of dinosaurs?
Chel: The depiction of raptors.
Adele: Ah, the raptors.
Chel: Yeah. The weaponizing and especially the weaponizing of raptors or theropods in general. Because I mean, it's super cool, you know, to see all the different types of raptors. And that one raptor from the middle movie, or like, I can't remember which Jurassic World it was, but it was the one that was mixed with a human, like human DNA, and it had like that yellow lightning bolt stripe down the middle of it. I'll try and look what it's called. But yeah, essentially, they were going to sell it as like a military weapon because it was able to.
Adele: Yeah. I think that was Fallen Kingdom.
Oh yeah. Yeah. Um, the Raptor from the fallen kingdom is called the Indoraptor.
Adele: Oh, that's what it was.
Chel: Yeah. And it walked on all fours because you have the Indominus Rex, but that was like a T Rex, but it had like Raptor in her plot twist. She can communicate with them. Like, oh my gosh, they're so crazy, wow.
Adele: That was a whole mess of stuff.
Chel: But yeah, the Indoraptor actually I thought was probably the coolest one out of all the raptors so far, just cause it really strayed from the raptor, like it looked more so like a dinosaur monster. So I'm like, okay, I'll let that one be, because that one is clearly like dinosaur monster. But yeah, the dinosaur monster versus like velociraptors. At the time-
Adele: It's leaning into the dinosaur monster.
Chel: Yeah. It's like velociraptors at the time in the original, they didn't really know all of what they looked like. They did know the size.
Adele: Yeah. I thought the taxonomy was a bit of a mess. So I thought the reason why they made them so big- cause a velociraptor should be about like the size of a turkey, I think.
Chel: Yeah, a turkey. But then Utahraptors are kind of more around the size that the Jurassic Park velociraptors are.
Adele: Yeah, we have a mega raptor here in Australia called Australovenator. And like, I reckon if it had been discovered before Jurassic Park had been made, I think it might've been a good candidate. Cause it's like, ooh, it's about five to six meters long from nose to tail. But it also has like massive claws. It has huge claws and some comparatively small teeth as well. I think it would have been great, but yeah, instead we have this, this mess of a velociraptor.
Chel: This, this hodgepodge mod podge of an animal, an interesting raptor that they brought into Jurassic World Dominion was the Atrociraptor. I think that's what it's called.
Chel: And how it's been portrayed recently in Prehistoric Planet, which as I was describing earlier, is like the realistic BBC documentary.
Adele: Before we were chatting, like before we hit record.
Chel: Yeah, before we, yeah. So we were talking about Prehistoric Planet, which is a BBC production where they CGI animated dinosaurs, they talked to actual palaeontologists to get reference and they spent a lot of time doing little vignettes on different dinosaurs. And there's specifically one they were talking about was Atrociraptor and how it was very intelligent. And there had been a forest fire and it was gathering branches to kind of start new fires, you know, in order to draw out prey, you know, real life animals do that.
Adele: That's something that birds of prey in Australia do. Yeah. Because we have a lot of bushfires, but yeah, they use it to like sort of flush out prey, and I think it's been observed that birds will like, yeah, carry sticks that are on fire and then carry it to a new area, drop it. And then they just live for the chaos.
Chel: Exactly. Yeah, in Prehistoric Planet, they were showing that sort of behaviour with an Atrociraptor. And then when you get into Jurassic World Dominion, they are the ones that the lady with the laser pointer is like...
Chel: These are thoroughbred Atrociraptors. They're going to kill you, Owen. They're so loyal. Points a little pointer at them and-
Adele: Chaos ensues.
Chel: Yeah. And it's literally just the velociraptor, but then they made their face boxier and they changed the colours. So it was just interesting to see how different the same animal has been portrayed in two completely different ways, like a naturalistic way versus the monster movie kind of way. You know, it's, it's pretty entertaining.
Adele: Yeah. They're basically assassins in Dominion.
Chel: Yeah. It's pretty entertaining to watch them like go after them. But again, predators normally just kind of give up if things are a bit too hard for them. Yeah. And another point to go off of that is how the predators, specifically the T-Rex and the Giganotosaurus, Giganotosaurus act toward each other in Dominion. Like talking about their designs first off, I don't really know much about how a Giganotosaurus should look, but at the same time, they did make it look different enough than a T-Rex.
Adele: They made it look different, but my gut reaction is that they made it look spikier than maybe it should be? I don't know. Like it's, it's got like spikes for days.
Chel: Oh yeah, absolutely. They gave it like crocodile scales as well. Like the big square flat ones on its back.
Adele: The osteoderms, the scutes.
Chel: Yeah. I mean, it makes sense to why crocodiles and alligators have them, you know, for water, but like this is a land animal and it's not like a Spinosaurus kind of situation, you know, water-related, you know, this one is not water related, Giganotosaurus, not water related. So it's like, I don't know.
Adele: Yeah. Not related to like ankylosaurians at all either, because they have osteoderms, but they're not like the square ones. They're sort of more like oval shaped. They're basically like bony plates of armour to try and I guess protect them. But yeah, it doesn't really make sense for a theropod on that sort of branch of the family tree to have osteoderms.
Adele: And the reason why I say that is because like bone is energetically expensive for an animal to make. It's a lot easier to sort of produce things based in keratin. But yeah, if you're like a big apex predator, what do you do on covering yourself in armour? Like what is stepping to you that you need to protect yourself from? Nothing, my dude! Put it away! It's not needed!
Chel: Like I'm looking at the tail right now and it's just like scoots for days. And again, I'm looking at the face more clearly. They literally just took the velociraptor face and gave it like osteoderm kind of spikes over its eyes. And yeah, they made it big. They just made it big. And the arms, another thing with the arms is all these theropods have like the same sized arms and their fingers are all the same length. Which that's not how it was at all.
Adele: Yeah. That's not what theropods do. There is actually, yeah, quite a lot of variation.
Chel: Mmmhmmm. Yeah. So it all goes back to the slappy hands versus the clappy hands sort of thing.
Adele: Yeah. We need clappers.
Chel: I mean, we need the clapper hands. It's also easy to just-
Adele: Copy and paste and then resize.
Chel: Yeah. No, that's, I mean, asset wise, you know, when you're creating a bunch of 3D models, that is a game changer saving time and saving money.
Adele: But at the same time, Saving money isn't something I would associate with like a multi-million dollar studio though.
Chel: Oh, but they do anywhere to cut corners where they can invest into the toy production later, that's where the money's going.
Adele: Yeah, true. All about that merch.
Adele: Star Wars has set a precedent for business models and movies and stuff.
Chel: Oh yeah.
Adele: The last major point I wanted to talk about the final dinosaur that I sort of wanted to really focus in on is not just one species, it's a group. So the sauropods in the movie.
Now, sauropods are long neck dinosaurs. They look like Littlefoot from Land Before Time. So small head compared to the rest of the body, long neck, long tail, big column like limbs underneath them. Why? Why do they insist on sticking them in the water? We are past this. Oh my God. I'm face palming right now.
Chel: So if, if those listening don't know there's like this, what… a book a long time ago that they were saying like, there's no way that giant animals could have walked on land. This is like back in the old day when they were just finding dinosaurs and stuff like that?
Adele: This is like 19th century, I think. So maybe like, I don't know, 1800s, maybe like some of the early 1900s? When they didn't know better.
Chel: Yeah, when they when they thought they were dumb and stupid animals dragging their tails sort of thing.
Adele: Slow, like they really didn't think they were able to like do a lot of complex behaviours. They didn't really think that they had it in them to be like active and running around a whole heap. So I feel super passionate about this because I've helped my PhD supervisor and a friend of mine work on sauropods of all the dinosaurs. I feel like the most personal connection to sauropods and yeah, they're absolutely massive, they're units, right?
And we look around the animals that we have alive today, the biggest animals we have are whales and they live in the ocean. And it's a lot easier for a whale to get to a massive size when they have water supporting their body weight. But what they failed to realize is that a whale vertebra, a whale backbone is super dense. It's just solid bone. Yeah. So they can sink. Yeah. Whereas a sauropod vertebra… it has filled with air pockets. It's basically a bone doing its best impersonation of bubble wrap.
Chel: Yeah, exactly.
Adele: Like it is filled with air pockets and yeah, that's sort of how they got around that. So they used to think, as you were saying before, Chel, that they had to live in the water and that their long necks were, I guess, kind of like a snorkel, like helping them breathe and maybe they could get some vegetation and stuff.
Chel: Something like that.
Adele: But we haven't thought that for a long, long time. So I was just like, “Why in 2022, am I seeing a movie with multiple sauropods in the water?”
Adele: Yeah, they could have gone into the water, but they wouldn't have wanted to that much. Their food's not there.
Chel: Yeah. Maybe a nice little bath. You know, like the only other reference we have to like behaviour is, I'm going to reference the Prehistoric Planet where they show a sauropods bathing themselves in mud puddles, kind of like how rhinos and elephants, stuff like that, like other big animals in hot places, kind of clean themselves.
Adele: To keep cool?
Chel: Yeah, keep cool and bathe.
Adele: Does it help with parasites as well?
Chel: I think so.
Adele: Yeah. Sauropods would be prime real estate for parasites. They would have so many spots on their body they can't groom and get to and stuff.
Chel: Yeah. It's cute to think little pterosaurs would come eat off of them. Maybe, who knows, you know, like some other birds do today.
Adele: Oh yeah. There would be a lot of that going on. Maybe some like other grooming dinosaurs and stuff.
Adele: And then the other thing that had me a bit mad was the fact that they were showing sauropods in like snowy environments. And I realized this is very niche. This is really specific, but-
Chel: What's wrong with it?
Adele: Well, sauropods don't really seem to like cold environments. And this is something that...
Adele: Like honestly, it's nice for a change every now and then, but permanently? Oof. So this is sort of related to work my PhD supervisor has done, but then other research has been published more recently, including a paper that was published in February last year, which is called “Climatic Constraints on the Biogeographic History of Mesozoic Dinosaurs”.
And that was published by Alessandro Chiarenza in Current Biology. And it's an open access, but even though the title says Mesozoic dinosaurs, a lot of it is sauropod dinosaurs never got to high latitudes. They liked it warm near the equator. And yeah, they were pretty sensitive. Well, they were more sensitive to temperature conditions than other dinosaurs and yeah, other like high latitude sites, you know, they find evidence of herbivorous dinosaurs nesting there. There's been work by Patrick Druckenmiller and colleagues, and they found nesting sites of ceratopsians and hadrosaurids, but there's no sauropods.
Adele: So yeah, it just seems that sauropods, they would have needed to eat quite a lot. Maybe not as much as a koala, which is just like, “I'm awake, I've got to eat until I fall asleep again”. But they would have needed to eat quite a lot in order to maintain their massive body sizes and...
Adele: If you have a deciduous forest where all of a sudden it's winter and there's not as much leaves and biomass for you to eat, like that's going to be pretty tough. So anyway, that was just me with my, I don't want to say insider knowledge, but it was just like it raised alarm bells for me to see these sauropods in these cold environments. And I get that, you know, part of the reason why they did that is because it looks so unnatural.
Chel: Yeah, no, exactly. They're showing how like these dinosaurs have come into our world and they're not made to live here, especially because yeah, it's gotten a lot colder than what they had. So and I remember like in that scene, the little girl, I can't remember her name off the top of my head.
Chel: Yeah, Maisie. Yeah, she was like telling the construction workers like, “Oh, use the flare to lead them out. They're not supposed to be in here, like in the construction site”. And so the sauropods just walk away.
Adele: I think they also like get the machine to beep the horn to try and like mimic its vocalization to be like, “I'm one of you”.
Chel: Oh yeah. Yeah. Come over here. Yeah. That's a good point.
Adele: Yeah. I thought that was kind of cute. Maybe not realistic, but like, it was just kind of nice to have, I guess, a neutral interaction that didn't result in the sauropod just, going nuts and losing its mind and, you know, smacking people with its tail. That was nice. We didn't have to shoot it. We didn't have to kill it. We just needed it to move. And we did that with a peaceful resolution. But yeah, there wasn't a lot of that.
Chel: Yeah. The sauropods have had like a more background role, I would say, except for like the first Brachiosaurus in the Jurassic Park, they've never been portrayed as violent, even in Dominion. I mean, since we're talking about Dominion, there's a Stegosaurus in the beginning that there's this guy driving and the Stegosaurus like sees the car and immediately like smacks the car. So herbivore but being portrayed immediately as violent, even though, you know, they use their spikes most likely to defend themselves. Their thagomizers.
Adele: The thagomizer for anyone who doesn't know, it's like the name given to their spiky tails, right?
Chel: Yeah. It was named after some guy called that, I'm pretty sure. I can't remember which palaeontologist.
Adele: No, no, no. So here's the thing. No, what happened? So a cartoonist called Gary Larson, who was famous for the Far Side cartoon. He did this one panel cartoon where he had some cavemen and they were just like, in honour of our fallen colleague, Dr. Thagon Simmons. We now call the structure of the Thagomizer. And then apparently palaeontologists just went with it. It was named by a cartoonist.
Chel: See? Cartooning. That's how you change cultures, cartoons. Okay. Cause I knew it was from somewhere.
Adele: Yeah. And then palaeontologists just thought it was funny and they went with it.
Chel: Yeah. Okay. Very cool.
Adele: I'm so happy that I got to bring this up.
Chel: Cool lore.
Adele: I'm here for it. But yeah, I guess it kind of makes sense. Like if an animal gets startled, like I've been knocked over by a cow in the cattle yards and she, she wasn't actually going for me. She was just running past me and her hip just happened to bump me and knock me over. Like that can happen. And if you've got a big tail like that, it wouldn't take much to...
Chel: Yeah, the whole like tail swishing. And then I think the ankylosaurus, the swinging tail action they have, it's all like compacted, all these herbivores are compacted into like the first five minutes where they're explaining like the recap.
Adele: They get them out of the way and they're just like, work our way up to the biggest theropods we can fit in here.
Chel: Exactly. Like I don't really have many personal qualms with a lot of the other dinosaurs that aren't theropods. The theropods, they just mess up. I mean, it's for a reason, obviously.
Adele: They want to give them main character energy.
Chel: Yeah, exactly. Main characters, like theropods have been like the chosen group to make them crazy and scary and forced to be reckoned with.
Adele: The mascots really of the franchise.
Chel: Yeah. And then the rest of them, they make them look pretty accurate. Again, maybe I might go back to the branding and the main character stuff, but the rest of the herbivores, since we're going to go, we're going back to the whole sauropod thing, the point I was trying to make is that the sauropods are always seen as like the victims in this. The graceful, nice ones out of all of them, which is, you know, probably true. They're probably pretty docile, especially if a person were to be there, you know, probably wouldn't even notice little person next to them or something.
Adele: They're like operating at a completely different scale that we cannot comprehend. A different way.
Adele: I mean, even if they have their necks held out horizontally, but they're two and a half plus meters high at the shoulder, what would that be easily like 18 feet above at the shoulder, you're not at their eye level.
Chel: Not at all. And another interesting thing is that the big large guys actually look the same. Like every single one of them except for the Brachiosaurus in the first Jurassic Park, they are all like the same quote-unquote generic sauropod, like Apatosaurus looking guy. When they're passing over the one in the lake, that's supposed to be a Dreadnoughtus, which is like from what I've seen in the skeletals, they're more like angled upright, like more so in the Brachiosaurus area. Camarasaurus, like not fully angled but just like slightly angled up.
Chel: Versus the one in the lake.
Adele: So when you say sort of angled upright, it's kind of like the front limbs are a bit higher up relative to the hind legs. So it's a bit more like, I don't know, like a giraffe-y kind of pose rather than an elephant, just a subtle.
Chel: The chest and the legs, a bit higher.
Adele: Yeah. I'm picking up what you're putting down.
Chel: Just a subtle shift and the front limbs are a little bit longer, but, yeah, like the one in the lake that they're passing over is they call it a Dreadnoughtus and Dreadnoughtus from the skeletals don't look like the generic guys. So it's kind of interesting that they wanted to go out of their way to make these distinctions.
Adele: Yeah, the sauropods just kind of look pretty generic.
Chel: Yeah, I just honestly wish that they went the extra mile. If they're making all these other... dinosaurs and theropods and herbivores look completely different. Why not, you know, just take a, like a spike from somewhere, like the back of the Giganotosaurus and put them down the back of one of the sauropods. I don't know.
Adele: Oh my God. Yes. An Amargasaurus.
Chel: Yeah. It's like something.
Adele: The one with like the mohawk, like the crazy spines coming out of its neck.
Adele: I think it has a Pokémon inspired after it as well.
Chel: It does. It's, it's one of the new ones. It's like blue.
Adele: Ah, they could have done something so cool. Like I realized, yes, sauropods, they don't really branch out and do a whole bunch of crazy stuff. It's tiny head, long neck, long tail, big barrel shaped gut, the legs, like directly underneath it as well. But yeah, even just some different colour palettes, that would have been cool.
Chel: Yeah, and even like when I was specifically saying like the little spikes, sure it could have been like the Amargasaurus route or like the giant ones which would have been good for, you know, monster movie or they could have gone with like a lot of Diplodocus have been kind of illustrated in like movies and documentaries and stuff with like little bitty spines down their back. I don't know for some sort of orientation or maybe they found something, I don't know, but like...
There have been many different sauropods that have been depicted with like little bitty spikes or spines going down their back. So they could have just like from an animation perspective, they could have just taken some of the spines that they already sculpted and rendered out and put it on the back. So one of the models for one of the sauropods - made it cool. But now it's Brachiosaurus or just apatosauroid looking guy and there's nothing else.
Adele: Yeah, that's it. Those are the only sauropods. Take your pick.
Chel: Those are the only ones. We got Jim, we got Ted.
Adele: Laughing I also thought it was really interesting that other than maybe like the first 10 minutes when that sauropod sort of wanders into like, I believe it's like a timber yard or something like that. They don't really like have them next to like trees or anything to give you a sense of scale or they're not near people, which I think is kind of missing the point.
Chel: It's just like a cut shot.
Adele: Yeah, they're so big and impressive. And I don't know, it's just really interesting that they decided to stick them in water, which I hate so much.
Chel: That's the theory is, is the reproduction likes, you know?
Adele: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I totally forgot that was a thing. So for anyone who doesn't know what we're talking about, they used to think there was a theory that dinosaurs went extinct.
Adele: Because the climate changed and it got too dry, but they needed to, I don't know, they must have been spliced with amphibian DNA because they needed lakes to reproduce. Oh, no, I forgot. This has been like locked in the back of my brain for quite some time. They thought that sauropods were so massive that in order for them to sort of-
Chel: To reproduce.
Adele: Do the dance to reproduce that- um, the male, like the males needed water to help assist and help him get up to where he needed to be, cause they didn't have stepladders back then. Oh my gosh. I completely forgot about this.
Chel: Laughing* Yeah. So, I mean, that's like why, like looking at the sword pods being in water a lot. It's just funny, but they also, I mean, another thing they might be referencing is like the Loch Ness monster sort of situation. I don't know. I just like thought of that where it's like, I mean, maybe they're trying to replicate that look of like the long neck, like little back arch out of the water situation. But again, it's, it's like-
Adele: It's very aesthetically pleasing, but they didn't need to do that.
Chel: They didn't need to do it. And they've done it differently in Jurassic World when the Indominus Rex was quote unquote killing for sport. There's a dying sauropod on the ground, but they had shown just in that Jurassic World movie in general, like them walking around on land. Like they've never shown it before really, except in Dominion, all these sauropods in the water.
Adele: Yeah. I just saw it as a massive step backwards and a big betrayal because as far as I can tell, like no one in the scientific community is pushing for this idea. There's been no new evidence to sort of suggest that we think this is right again.
Chel: Nobody's in support of it.
Adele: Ugh, and yeah, circling back to what we said at the start of the episode, Jurassic Park really has, it really sets the tone for how people perceive dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.
Adele: And yeah, I'm just face palming because I know this is going to be around for at least another like 10 years solid.
Adele: We’re gonna have to answer questions about sauropods and water. And I'm just like, no, we're better than this. Why?
Chel: I mean, thankfully, though, there are people like you. And in some ways, people like me, we have these audiences, and we're able to kind of point them in the right direction of like, “nah, you know, even though it's cool that the Therizinosaurus slashes a deer in half, just think. Why would he do that? He wouldn't” And direct people. Because if people are excited about dinosaurs, which a lot of people who have come up to me with my dinosaur things, or they know of them because of Jurassic Park, it's always still cool to redirect their excitement to the actual science. I remember doing that once with people who were talking about velociraptors and T rexs and stuff, and then I was talking to them about,
“You know that birds are dinosaurs isn't that cool?” and they're like “Whoa I've never heard of this actually” I'm like “Well this is the thing so!” and it was a very nice moment because they truly seemed curious and it was like a magical moment for them just like by the expression on their face so it's like even though Jurassic Park quote-unquote does a lot of damage to the scientific community it's still like that little bit of exposure.
Adele: Overall, like I think it's done amazing things for the community. I'm not saying we'd be better off without Jurassic Park. No, I actually think quite the opposite.
Adele: But yeah, we are just kind of nitpicking. It's a very cool premise, like in terms of science fiction and stuff. And it, it's very interesting because it raises a lot of ethical discussions as well about. What does it mean to revive something? And then where do we have it? Because the ecosystem that it belonged to, it's gone. We can't release it back into the wild as such, or...
Chel: It's a really fun series.
Adele: I guess it's shown that's not really a thing. It doesn't really work out, but I don't know. Some of the end scenes as well with the prehistoric animals coexisting with everything else kind of was like, uh, it found balance.
Chel: It felt weird.
Adele: Yeah, it was pretty weird. Um, but yeah, I, I think it's really great. Like what you do in terms of your art and your design work. Um, and then another really great Instagram account, um, @dinosaurcomics.
Chel: Oh yeah. A good friend of mine.
Adele: Yeah. They have these little infographics and they really tackle some misconceptions as well and they're beautifully done. And yeah, it's just like a really great thing for people to, I guess, stumble upon on Instagram and then, you know, swipe through and like learn these facts. And there are other accounts that do this as well. The whole community just seems really nice.
Chel: Yeah, exactly. It's been a crazy ride, especially all the people I've met and people who have come up to me at museums occasionally and known who I was and who Dinosaur Comics was. It's just kind of a crazy and very humbling experience, especially when we went on that road trip up to South Dakota, me, Dinosaur Comics, and a couple of others.
Adele: Did you meet someone else recently?
Chel: Oh, Jutyrannus, yeah. So yeah, Jutyrannus is my friend, Joakim, who lives in France, but I was in Switzerland and where he was at the animation festival was very close. So I hopped on a train and went down to the animation festival and we hung out. But yeah, there are a lot of palaeoart people who know each other. And we're not scheming anything, but we all genuinely started out as like a group of friends who just love drawing dinosaurs, especially in the palaeoart community and palaeo cartoonist kind of community. We all respect each other's art and the way that we all depict dinosaurs.
Adele: Share it as well.
Chel: Share, yeah. Share findings, discoveries, that sort of thing. We talked to palaeontologists regularly. So it's like, we all care about the science and the depiction of everything.
Adele: There's some collaborative work with the Artemis PalaeoZoo project as well. Like, is there a bunch of you working on that?
Chel: Oh yeah. There's a bunch of us guys on there. It's, it's been a project for sure. A very wonderful project that I've loved being a part of. I did a couple of illustrations for it and I'm also one of the designers who's putting the book together design-wise, so I'm very fortunate to do that. And we have a publisher now, which is really cool. I think that's going to be announced soon. If it hasn't been announced already, because again, we're not under NDA, but at the same time, it's like, I'm not the leader of this project, so I don't want to say anything wrong. But we do have a publisher, a dinosaur-related publisher, so that's cool.
Adele: Oh my God, that's so exciting. Congratulations.
Chel: Yeah. And so, yeah, but it just started out as like a bunch of people who love dinosaurs. Like what if there was a dinosaur zoo, but you know, it actually paid attention to the behaviours, like an AZA where the animals are well taken care of.
Adele: A good zoo.
Chel: Yeah, exactly.
Adele: Not an amusement park gone wrong.
Chel: Yeah. Exactly. No one's getting hurt here, but if anything, you'll probably just be asked to leave if you're trying to mess with any animals, just like a real zoo. We're still trying to flesh out some little signs and stuff. We're trying to make enclosures and the zoo look as real as possible and offer some extra rewards and stuff to make it seem more real. So yeah. We wanted to put a lot of detail into it. We also have some people working on it who work in the zoological area, like actually work at zoos.
Adele: That's amazing.
Chel: Yeah, scientists, palaeontologists, yeah, that sort of thing. So yeah, we have a lot of good people on there. So hopefully it'll come out.
Adele: Yeah. And for anyone who wants to follow along with that, I'll have a link to that Instagram account as well as GummyDragon on Instagram so they can sort of follow along with that and just basically look at who's following who or who's on the roster for Palaeo Zoo. All those accounts are just a great follow. Like you said before, just the fact that you started out as friends who just have an interest in dinosaurs and you enjoy drawing them, that really comes across like that genuine enthusiasm and passion. And it's really nice to sort of, I guess, be rubbing shoulders with people like that as well. It's just a good scene.
Chel: Yeah. No, I don't think we've come across anyone in our personal circles in palaeontology. Like everyone I've met in palaeontology is super nice. I know there are some figures that, you know, are kind of controversial here or there, not naming any names, but everyone that I've met personally, they've been very knowledgeable and kind. Artists and palaeontologists and palaeo artists alike, you know, everybody has been very willing to help you by sending you a paper or... fact checking something for you, whichever.
Adele: Yes, palaeontologists are more than happy to send people papers. If we could, we would make all our papers open access. But sometimes the publishing fees cost four and a half grand, which is probably, I don't know, at least three grand US. Like it's a lot.
Chel: No, it's crazy.
Adele: But we can send it to you for free. Absolutely. And I think a lot of palaeontologists recognize. I mean, certainly my experience has been. I understand how important palaeoart is when I do like a press release and stuff. If I don't have an image of the animal as it looked when it was alive, people find it a lot harder to sort of interact and get an idea of what I'm talking about, that abstract concept, whereas beautiful palaeoart, it just brings those animals to life and reinforces these were animals, they were alive. But yes, they're completely different to everything we see around us today. So it's incredibly valuable. And yeah, I've gotten to work with one palaeo artist in particular, um, Gabriel Ugueto, who did some consulting work with Prehistoric Planet. He's a legend and he's a master of his craft.
Chel: Oh yeah, legend.
Adele: And he just knows pterosaurs. I had to explain the specifics of what I was working on and it hasn't come out yet, um, but he was just like, “Yep, got it”. And yeah, just great to work with.
Chel: Oh my gosh, a legend. I think there are like, there's a few palaeoartists that just every other palaeontologist or palaeo artist uses. Gabriel is one of them. And then I don't know the others, like by Mark Witton, I think is another one.
Adele: He does a lot of stuff on pterosaurs. There's a sort of Australian based palaeo artist, Peter Trusler, who is absolutely wonderful. I've mentioned him on the podcast before. Very kind, like very generous with his time and he teaches palaeo art as well. And he'll, he'll get people to like draw things upside down to remove bias and all this kind of stuff. Again, just the insight into what he does in order to like get the best possible reconstruction is crazy, but in the best possible way. I have a lot of respect for Peter Trusler and Gabriel. I have a lot of respect for palaeoartists in general, because it's like.
I need your services. I'm willing to pay good money for this because it is so valuable to me.
Chel: You need it.
Adele: Yeah. And that cascades all the way down. It's not like I'm just saying, oh, only photorealistic palaeoart's good. No, like the infographics on dinosaur comics, it's all part of the same ecosystem.
Chel: Yeah. Where it's like, I think palaeontology and palaeo artists, like an artist who draw dinosaurs, um, I think this is the best community because both of them really benefit from each other versus just artists who, no shame to artists who just draw like little cows and frogs and dogs and stuff like that. But there aren't like scientists behind the people drawing frogs and dogs and cows, you know, the little cutesy ones for fun. You know, people will enjoy those anyways. But it really gets to people and just like the general public when you have great science and research and like genuinely cool animals. And then you find someone who passionately wants to bring this animal to life for you, like with you. It just really comes over to the public that way, especially like in those big, long landscape shots that they usually have illustrated for museums and stuff like that. It's really impressive and it really...
Adele: Like a big mural.
Chel: Yeah, and it really immerses people. So it's like, I think that's why I... I'm confident in settling in palaeo art for a while. Like I haven't really even thought about leaving this community because there's so much of the world's prehistory and so many animals that are being discovered constantly that it's like kind of just an old mind for art content, quote unquote, if you want to call it that.
Chel: Just like there's so many different ways you can depict what our Earth's prehistory looked like and still be accurate about it. Still have fun with it.
Chel: Like I still love having fun with it, but yeah, there's just, there's just so much for this community. And it's nice to see like younger people getting into it and other people still continuing in it. So.
Adele: Absolutely. A hundred percent agree with all of that. And the way you draw something, you know, someone else will do it a little bit differently. And that's great. That's also what we need because the more, I guess, subtle variations there are, the more instantly recognizable something is.
Adele: Which is, you know, as a palaeontologist, that's kind of the goal. If people can picture in their head what it is you're talking about, as soon as you mentioned that name, nailed it. Job done.
Adele: But, um, yeah, we've only known about a species for like a couple of years. It's going to take some time sometimes.
Chel: Yeah. What I've seen though is a lot of newer species like, like Stegouros, a lot of these species that come out and the paper's like, okay, “Here's our evidence” the artists get to work right away.
Adele: Yes, yes.
Chel: And then that helps, like the realism artists get to work right away because they want to be the first on that. They want to make their artistic renditions of it. And then as the rest of us will get to benefit like immediately. I'll still look at the bones, but like at the same time though, it's like, I really do rely on these sources who are reputable in the community as a guide to kind of like base what it looked like other than just the skeletal. So it's like, even those figures are very important.
Adele: Yeah, bones are hard.
Adele: I can't just look at a bone and be like, oh yeah, the muscle's that thick. That's like a superpower.
Chel: Yeah, so it's very important that we, that we cherish those who put the muscle on the bone, you know, so that I don't have to do it. I'm like, okay, looks good enough. Looks believable.
Adele: Yes. Yes, look after each other, be good to everyone in the community, but it already sounds like it's such like a nice supportive space to be in. And yeah, I'm just so excited that you and so many others are just like, yeah, I'm going to stick to working on prehistoric stuff for like a good while because…
Adele: I love what you do. Uh, again, I cannot wait until you start launching more pin, historic pins once school is done, because obviously that's very important. But yeah, I'm a big fan of those. And yeah, thank you so much for like taking the time to talk to me about Jurassic World Dominion and I guess science and art and how important those two things are, like they're not, it's not like a Venn diagram with two separate circles, like there is overlap. It doesn't always feel like that, but it's definitely there.
Adele: Is there anything that you kind of wanted to like plug or I did mention like we'll have links to your social accounts in the show notes as well, but is there anything else that you sort of wanted to mention or talk about?
Chel: No, I mean other than you know if you if anyone listening if you'd like to see more of my art and product videos and stuff like that I'm very active on Gummmydragon. It's Gummmydragon with three M's because the two was taken, but now it's a fun marketing thing. But yeah, Gummmydragon with three M's, like, mmm, you know, like you would say with food, you know? And that's kind of the theme of my work, like food and cute things and all that. So it all works out.
Adele: Yeah, I think I have like a Dunkleosteus. I think it's a sugar cookie enamel pin. And then...
Chel: It was in reference to like the Dunkaroos. Did you ever heard of Dunkaroos from like the eighties?
Chel: Yeah. The Dunkaroos. But then I didn't want to like have copyright issues. So it's a sugar cookie now, but it's a rich, it's a graham cracker cookie with icing on it. So it's like, yeah, whichever, but yeah. And then my website.
Adele: He's so cute, but he looks so grumpy too.
Chel: He's coming in the new Kickstarter that I'm launching. Essentially we're going to do a… “we” meaning me, I'm going to do a pin-a-palooza air quotes where we're going to battle it out on Kickstarter where we'll start out with like some, a fruitysaur tier with all new fruitysaur, which are like my signature series where I combine fruits and dinosaurs together in a cleverish way. And then from there-
Adele: I think it's clever.
Chel: Thank you. I like the little puns that don't work out sometimes, but the visual puns are fun. I always go off of visual puns, but yeah, we got, we'll have like one tier being like Gummmydragon, cutesy, and then the next tier would be like Pinhistoric one. And then we'll go back and forth with the design. So we'll get some more Pinhistoric pins and more Gummmydragon stuff. And I'm also gonna make some like stickers and other types of merchandise for Pinhistoric designs and Gummmydragon stuff along the way. So it's gonna be like a battle sort of situation where it's like, who's gonna get the most pins? The realistic, cute Pinhistoric ones or the crazy cute Gummmydragon dinosaur ones? So I thought it would be fun so that, the people who love the realistic ones, the Pinhistoric ones can get some stuff too because I'm miss making them and also the fun Gummmydragon ones.
Chel: Yeah, so that'll be that. And then if anybody's interested, you know, my website is gummydragon with 3 M’s dot square, like the shape, dot site. Haven't bought the domain yet because, you know, that's expensive, but yeah, you can access it. Link in my bio.
Adele: If it does what you need it to do, like, it's fine. At the moment on Gummmydragon, there are still some leftover, I believe, cuteysaur and like Pinhistoric pins as well. So people don't even need to wait for the Kickstarter. You can get some of the old ones and they're great.
Chel: Oh yeah, no, we got plenty.
Adele: Yeah, they're beautiful quality.
Chel: Thank you. Yeah, a lot of them sold out faster than I thought, but some of them will be coming back, especially like the candy corn Carnotaurus people killed over. I don't know why I like candy corn, but like that one was just like gone.
Adele: I think it's like the horns. So something so satisfying about like the candy corn and the horns. You nailed it.
Chel: Yep. So we've got that and then future plans. I'm going to get into more like merchandise stuff, like apparel and, and bags and stuff. So if you aren't the biggest fan of pins and you are looking for other stuff, like this is just the beginning, I'm going to expand into so many more things. So if you love dinosaurs, uh, and cute things, um, yeah, come, you can follow along the journey of me interacting with everybody.
Adele: Everyone should follow Chel.
Chel: That's right.
Adele: Come on over.
Chel: Um, but yeah, thank you so much for having me.
Adele: Thanks, Chel. I had heaps of fun talking about Jurassic World Dominion with someone who's obsessed with dinosaurs. By the way, that Kickstarter is up and running. So if you're keen to grab some prehistoric pins and support Chel, I'll put a link to that in the show notes and the Gummmydragon shop. The Pals and Palaeo podcast cover art is by Jenny Zhao, one of the founders of Crumpet Clubhouse, a collective of freelance creatives. Shout out to my mate, César, for spitballing ideas with me for episode topics.
Adele: The theme music for Pals and Palaeo is by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of pop rock Hello Kelly. For more tunes, check out their newest album Sweet Nostalgia. And if you want a deep cut, check out 10 Good Reasons from their self-titled album. Thanks to Francie for editing the show and making the audio sound squeaky clean. Last thing, thank you for listening and supporting the show. Hope you enjoyed this episode.
Adele: If you did, you can leave a review on Apple podcasts or rating on Spotify. All of that stuff really helps the show grow. Pals in Palaeo will be back soon with more facts on the form, function and family groupings of fossils in the next episode. But until then, talk soon. Xoxo Dino Girl.
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