Science Questions and Jurassic Park

I saw the Jurassic Park movie over three weeks ago and I enjoyed it immensely. However, as I watched the movie, I could not help but wonder if there was anything in the movie that could be answered by science. I decided then and there to put a question as a Facebook status update to see if I can answer any science-related questions about the movie. To my surprise, I received some replies. Below are replies to some of the questions I have received.

1. How far can you really run from a dinosaur while wearing high heels without being eaten?
The movie’s deuteragonist, Claire Dearing, spends the majority of the film in high heels – even being chased by life-threatening raptors by them!
Sadly, science proves that you can’t run far in high heels.
Neil Cronin, a biology professor at University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, states that the impact of the foot in a high-heeled shoe “would be concentrated over a small region of the foot in high heels, creating regions of very high pressure.” In simple words – foot pain. Running in high heels is a “very inefficient way to move.”
Even though it’s common knowledge that wearing high heels is detrimental to feet, until now there haven’t been many studies to prove that statement. In a study performed by Hanseo University in South Korea, women who wear high heels for an extended period of time experienced decreased ankle strength and balance problems.
Would that make you reconsider running in heels altogether?

2. Were the Velociraptors really that big?

Velociraptors are a staple of the Jurassic Park universe, appearing in all four movies. In all of the Jurassic Park movies, they are double a man’s height:

The truth: velociraptors were the size of a small turkey. Here is a picture for reference:

In addition, fossil evidence from Mongolia showed that Velociraptors had feathers, not scaly skin as seen in the film. However, the arms of Velociraptors were too short, so they were unable to fly.
The Velociraptors in the Jurassic Park movies were based on Deinonychus, a much larger raptor.
3. So InGen decides to go and build Jurassic World on Isla Nublar, the original site of Jurassic Park. InGen also had Isla Sorna aka Site B, the main setting for The Lost World and Jurassic Park III.
Even though the island is restricted, does it seem possible that InGen made a second Jurassic World at Isla Sorna?
At the end of the movie, the chief geneticist Dr. Wu was helicoptered off the island with the dinosaur embryos. At the end of Jurassic Park III, pterosaurs are seen leaving Isla Sorna seeking new nesting grounds. Even though the island and its facilities are abandoned, InGen still owns the island, since there is no mention in the Jurassic Park canon that the company has sold their island. So yes, it could be possible that InGen could have made a second Jurassic World on the island.
4. Are pterodactyls actually strong enough to pick up full grown people?
Pterosaurs (their proper name) have rather slender feet. The pterosaurs have only four flat forward-facing digits on their feet. An example of pterosaur feet can be seen below:

Check out these muscle diagrams after the jump:

Look at how thin the foot muscles and bones are! This means pterosaurs would be unable to grab prey the same way a bird of prey would grab prey, since birds of prey have highly developed bones for that exact purpose.
Another factor to consider is weight. Let’s use birds as a comparison example. Birds have a tendency to kill and fly off with prey that weigh smaller and have a smaller mass. It’s safe to assume that pterosaurs do the same thing based on fossil records and estimates—the average pterosaur weighs 35 kg (77lbs). Considering that in the scene the woman being lifted must weigh at least 60 kg (approximately 130 lbs), there is no possibility that pterosaur could have properly lifted that woman into the air and took flight.


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