Jurassic World: Atlantic Canada?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was released digitally last week and will be available on DVD and BluRay on September 18 and as of this writing, still playing at Cineplex theatres in St. John’s. The film was released on June 22 in North America and managed to gross a worldwide total of $1.303 billion. Oh, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom effectively buried my childhood like a perfectly preserved dinosaur skeleton. Trailers hyping the release of Fallen Kingdom teased an epic volcanic eruption and slogans stated that “the park [was] gone”, and boy did they deliver. By the time I left the theatre, everything I had loved about these movies had also been submerged in liquid hot magma.

Over the course of the 128-minute runtime, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom went from being about animal rights protection, to an animal rescue heist, to disaster movie, to haunted house film, to an “it was Earth all along” Planet of the Apes-esque ending. There was one scene, however, that got to me even more than when I was highly unsatisfied with the answer I got when I asked a Religion class substitute teacher why there weren’t any dinosaurs in the Bible and she responded with something along the lines of “they just aren’t”. (With that, I knew there was something fishy about this whole Christianity thing, even at six years of age). The scene in question is a callback to the part in the original Jurassic Park where Alan Grant and Ellie Satler stare in awe of a Brachiosaurus as she gracefully stands on her hind legs and feeds on some leaves from a very tall tree. Just like that first time we saw a dinosaur, the Brachiosaurus gracefully stands up on her hind legs in a last ditch effort to escape the volcanic eruption that is quickly approaching until she is swallowed up in a mixture of lava and ash, all while our human heroes escape Isla Nublar for presumably last time.

It is clearly evident where director Colin Trevorrow is going with Jurassic World 3 but what if it isn’t? The park may be gone but what if they round up all the loose dinos and franchise Jurassic World? I’ll see your Euro Disney and raise you Jurassic World: Atlantic Canada.

What if there was a Jurassic World: Atlantic Canada made up only of dinosaurs that would have inhabited what is present-day Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island? Sadly, The Rock would not be represented, as this was a sad truth I learned back in the early 90’s while flipping through the latest issue of  Orbis Publishing’s latest issue of Dinosaurs! magazine. One feature displayed a map of North America and several dinosaurs who inhabited the area. Newfoundland was blank and I was devastated. (There are rumours however that Albertosaurus was originally from Newfoundland but left the island in search of work).

Image borrowed from  Etsy

Image borrowed from Etsy

Fear not, though. Jurassic World: Atlantic Canada would be inhabited by one famous dino, the Plateosaurus. This creature was a large herbivore that grew to about eight metres long and weighed up to seven hundred kilograms. The Plateosaurus, whose name means “flat lizard”, had a long neck and even longer tail but a small head. It had large, 9five-fingered hands with a large thumb claw and lived during the late Triassic period. What makes Plateosaurus so famous? According to NewDinosaurs.com, most paleontologists believe that Plateosaurus was probably one of the dumbest animals to ever exist. That’s right folks, the dumbest dinosaur to ever live, called Atlantic Canada home.

Image borrowed from  CBC Kids

Image borrowed from CBC Kids

While most Plateosaurus fossils have been found in Europe, fossils were found on Nova Scotia in 2015 and are believed to be Canada’s oldest dinosaurs. These fossils were believed to be around 200 million years old. The bones that were likely pieces of the Plateosaurus’ bone or hip were discovered in the Bay of Fundy after a storm surge. "These bones would be eroded within a month or two, [i]f our museum wasn't here, they'd be washed to beach sand," curator of the Fundy Geological Museum, Tim Fedak told CBC. Similar fossilized bones were found in the same area by Fedak and a team of researchers during the late 90’s, just in time for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

Image borrowed from   Dinosaurs!   Issue #18

Image borrowed from Dinosaurs! Issue #18

While, Stegosaurus is often considered to be one of the dumbest dinosaurs because it had a brain the size of a walnut, when you compare brain size to body size, sauropodomorphs, like Plateosaurus, was probably one of the dumbest dinosaurs. Dinosaurs! magazine did not mention Plateosaurs’ intelligence level during the species’ showcase in issue #18, they did describe the creature as being “off balance”, “too top-heavy” and “not fast moving” which are not redeeming qualities.

One interesting fact about Plateosaurus however was its flexible fingers and big thumb (get in line ladies; and some gents if that’s your thing!). The dinosaur could bend its fingers quite easily, resting on the ground like toes, or using them to grasp something in a tight grip. Its thumb was its only line of defense against predators. It possessed a large scythe-like claw that could be used to defend Plateosaurus in a fight.

So we now know that raptors and the rest of the dinos didn’t really look like they do on the big screen (I’m so tired of Hollywood beauty standards aren’t you?) I guess we can add having the dumbest dinosaur call Atlantic Canada home adds my long list of dino disappointments, right next to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.