Jurassic World Dominion’s recent release has sparked interest in a topic that has been around for quite some time: Did dinosaurs have feathers? As the science stands, many of our favorite dinosaurs were covered in bird-like feathers. Still, for a variety of reasons, Jurassic Park movies haven’t always added them to their creations. In this most recent film, however, we see our first real example of a dinosaur with feathers. Today, we are going to be taking a look at these dinosaurs and seeing exactly which ones were displaying their new plumage! Let’s get started.
A list of the feathered dinosaurs in Jurassic World Dominion
In the newest movie, only a few dinosaurs were shown on-screen as having feathers. In actuality, this number would have been much higher. Still, the new look was a welcome addition for many of the creatures on-screen and created a really unique look. Here is a list of the dinosaurs that were shown to have feathers in Jurassic World Dominion:
The first feathered dinosaur we have on our list is Moros, or Moros intrepidus for its full name. Moros intrepidus translates to “impending doom,” quite a scary name for a dino! We see Moros in the film cleaning off the food scraps from a larger dinosaur known as Giganotosaurus. Although Moros appears small, they were actually around 8 feet long and weighed 172 lbs. Moros was covered in thin white feathers in the film, an accurate portrayal of how it likely would have appeared in real life.
The dreaded Pyroraptor may have been the coolest-looking dinosaur in the entire film. We first encounter the Pyroraptor when Chris Pratt and DeWanda Wise crash into the ice sheet and are approached by a feather-covered raptor that can run and swim. The movie depicts Pyroraptor with thick blue and red feathers across its entire body. Although we don’t know the color of the feathers, putting them on Pyroraptor is historically accurate.
We first see Quetzalcoatlus, a dinosaur named after an Aztec serpent god, when it brings down the cargo plane that Chris Pratt, DeWanda Wise, and Bryce Dallas Howard are flying in. This massive creature was historically one of the largest flying creatures to have ever lived. The film depicts Quetzalcoatlus with thin, fuzzy hair across its body, a feature that is historically accurate. From a distance, it appears that Quetzalcoatlus has feathers in the movie, but it’s actually fuzzy hair.
The newest “nightmare predator” in the film is a dinosaur known as Therizinosaurus. Therizinosaurus was a large dinosaur that gets its name from the long claws (unguals) that it had at the end of its forelimbs. Although Therizinosaurus is depicted as a terrifying creature with swords for claws, it was actually a slow-moving herbivore that wouldn’t have been a threat to humans. Additionally, Therizinosaurus most likely had feathers at some point in its life, although there isn’t currently any direct evidence that it did.
Why didn’t other Jurassic Park movies have dinosaurs with feathers?
After watching the movie, you may be wondering, “Why did they wait until now to include feathers on the dinosaurs?” Well, there seem to be a few practical answers. Firstly, for many of the dinosaurs depicted in the films, a real animatronic was made. These animatronics were either remotely controlled or controlled by humans acting as puppeteers. When making these, adding feathers would have likely made them appear cheap or fake. In the spirit of making the movie as visually believable as possible, the created animatronics didn’t use feathers.
Secondly, many of the “looks” that we are familiar with were recreated for continuity. For dinosaurs like velociraptors and the T-rex, adding feathers randomly in movie six would have been strange. When the “first look” and public familiarity of these dinosaurs were created when the first movie came out (circa 1993), it wasn’t widely understood if and which dinosaurs had feathers. As such, the animatronics they built at the time didn’t have them. Instead of switching it all up, they just kept what they had been doing.
Why are the dinosaurs feathered in Jurassic World Dominion?
The feathered dinosaurs in Jurassic World Dominion represent a maturing of the franchise in a few ways.
First is the sheer technological advances that have been made since the creation of the first film. As the production designer for the movies states:
“You could barely do the dinosaurs,” he says. “They achieved a fantastic thing in 1993 to create animated dinosaurs but feathers might have been a no-go.”Wired.co.uk
Adding feathers to the new dinosaurs in the film required a CGI technology that just wasn’t around during that time. In more modern films, it’s much more realistic to have CGI graphics that are believable.
Second, the public awareness around dinosaurs has grown. People in the 90s weren’t aware of the scientific discussion involving dinosaurs and their relationship to modern birds. Nowadays, it’s actually well-known. This public awareness is reflected in the maturing of the movies to include dinosaurs with feathers.