There’s a bunch of squawk on the web coming from people who think that feathered dinosaurs aren’t scary. On behalf of anyone who’s had hands-on experience with or even basic working knowledge of bird biology, please, shut the fuck up. Birds are fucking creepy murderous motherfuckers. Don’t believe me? Watch this documentary in which it takes several big beefy australian rugby player type dudes to tackle down a partially sedated Cassowary which, despite being half their size, could kick their guts out.
(disclaimer: this is an hour long documentary – but if you jump to 22:25 you can see dudes tackling a drugged up dinosaur)
And that’s a fruit eating dinosaur! That’s sorta like your run of the mill Oviraptorid, except that it’s never had to run from a Dromeosaur. That’s the “Six foot turkey” the ugly fat kid in the beginning of Jurassic Park thinks ain’t shit. And it’s been roofied multiple times. And to anyone who can look at a cassowary and say “it would be scarier if it were brown and scaly like the raptors in Jurassic Park” I say that you are wrong. Not only do all those black shaggy feathers make it look like a nightmarish abomination emerging from the shadowy forest of a Jim Henson fever dream, but they also make it way harder to see which of its legs is going to kick you right in your twat. It’s like the red feathers that traditionally decorate the end of a kung fu spear to distract the opponent, except the whole animal is both feathers and kung fu and both its feet are spears.
I mean, HOLY SHIT. Indoors-only city folk who think that feathered animals aren’t/can’t be scary have clearly never spotted a barn owl with their flashlight while hiking alone at night. Let me explain: a barn owl in that context basically looks like the ghost of a dead Korean child sitting in a tree, that can turn its head completely around, fly in total silence, locate a rat by sound alone, and then snatch it with its ratchet-tendon talons from its hiding place in long grass.
Or better yet, check out a baby barn owl regurgitating the compressed bones and fur of the mammals its mother stuffed in its hook-billed squawking mouth.
Now imagine a big shaggy weirdo like that cassowary, but with the talons of an owl and it’s 20 feet long. Oh, also it has jaws with the crush force of a crocodile and the serrated teeth and septic bite of a komodo dragon. That’s what the little baby bitch cousin of T-Rex was. A murder-saur called Yutyrannus huali (which I choose to believe was named after some ancient kung fu master who could kick you hard enough to crumple your ribcage). Oh, but unlike t-rex it had relatively longer, frighteningly strong, creepy taloned hands emerging from its blood and shit flecked plumage to grip you to its fuzzy, death-smelling breast with. Don’t think that would make a horrifying mind-fuck of a movie monster?? REALLY!??!?
I just watched Jurassic Park in the theater for the first time in 20 years and it’s such a goddamn solid movie that it actually managed to make me mad about the recent announcement that the upcoming Jurassic Park 4 won’t feature any feathered dinosaurs. While I’m sure the new movie will have a line or two about how the JP dinos are genetic amalgams to explain away the lack of paleo plumage, what bothers me is that without a doubt the real reason for doing this is to maintain the “look of the brand”… which is exactly what the first Jurassic Park worked so hard to get away from – depicting dinosaurs according to their traditional reptilian image. The credibility and believability of the entire film is predicated on the idea that dinosaurs were more like birds than modern reptiles – from Dr. Grant’s first memorable child-traumatizing monologue to the final shots of the film which show a flock of pelicans flying along side Hammond’s helicopter as Dr. Grant smugly looks out at them like “god damn son, i really know my shit.” And twenty years later, what really holds up about the film’s dinosaurs is their distinctively bird like behavior. The tyrannosaur assaults the Ford explorer like an eagle pinning and picking apart a carcass, the raptors stalk about like huge murderous roosters, the dilophosaur has the spookily inquisitive yet suddenly aggressive temper of a cassowary, even the Brachiosaurs move and honk gracefully like a flock of giant swans. It was all thrillingly unlike anything we’d ever seen before, but despite all that, the new movie promises more of the same. That’s particularly sad when you consider that by todays scientific standards the design of the original JP dinosaurs is downright bland. Without a doubt the artistry and animation of the dinosaurs is gorgeous (especially for the time), but imagine if that level of special effects wizardry were applied to brilliantly colored and plumed creatures, reflecting our modern understanding of dinosaur soft tissues and their propensity for outlandish display structures… I submit to you, that would be visually stunning, and at times, downright frightening