The Indominus Rex may have terrorized a record number of film fans over the last two weeks, but Jurassic World‘s fictional genetic hybrid is based upon a very real dinosaur that once walked the Earth.
In the world of the film, the Indominus Rex is a manufactured, hybrid dinosaur. As the actors relate, the Tyrannosaurus Rex serves as the basic model for the animal, which gets its heightened intelligence from the addition of raptor DNA. Cuttlefish genes allow the Indominus to camouflage itself, while snake DNA gives it the ability to sense and manipulate thermal signatures.
— Jurassic World (@jurassicparkiv) June 16, 2015
While the Indominus is a cunning and terrifying dinosaur that is sure to “give the parents nightmares,” as Irrfan Khan states in Jurassic World, the creature has its roots in a very real dinosaur. As Yahoo Movies points out, paleontologist Jack Horner served as a consultant on all of the Jurassic Park movies, and for the Indominus, he suggested several qualities from a little-known dinosaur.
“I started the process with a dinosaur called Therizinosaurus that has big grasping arms. That was the most important thing — the grasping arms and its color. It’s white.”
— A.C. Hachem (@ACHachem) June 22, 2015
Therizinosaurus is unique among dinosaurs in that it possessed a set of large, grasping arms that were exaggerated compared to its body. Originally mistaken for turtle ribs, researchers later noted that the animal’s remains actually represented claws that would be extremely imposing if the Therizinosaurus was a carnivore. Unlike its cinematic counterpart, the Indominus Rex, the dinosaur actually was a herbivore, which utilized its arms for gathering foliage and defense. Standing over 30-feet-tall, the Therizinosaurus would have been capable of using its claws to ward off all but the most ardent predators, as CinemaBlend notes.
Horner was quick to point out that the Indominus Rex exists as a transgenic animal in the film, meaning that it arose from an artificial combination of genes. The paleontologist has recently been involved in efforts to study the genomes of birds, in the hopes that long-dormant dinosaur genes could be reawakened within them. Though the concept may sound like science fiction, Horner’s team, as well as others, have already reported numerous successes, as the Inquisitr previously reported.
— Firstpost (@firstpost) June 13, 2015
While researchers attest that we may be less than a decade away from a genetically engineered dinosaur, the Indominus Rex will remain for now a work of fiction, even as it helps Jurassic World continue to dominate box offices worldwide.
[Image: Universal via the New York Daily News]