Paleontology: Who Was Dilophosaurus?

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Paleontology: Who Was Dilophosaurus?
Paleontology: Who Was Dilophosaurus?
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Disenchanting a Movie Villain

The most comprehensive study to date of one of the most popular dinosaurs from "Jurassic Park" should sober movie fans: The real Dilophosaurus has little to do with the screen creature.

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Even in the late afternoon the sun was still beating down on our backs. We were in the heart of dinosaur country on the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona. In the midst of the Navajo Nation, two skeletons of Dilophosaurus wetherilli had previously been discovered there. We now wanted to determine their exact age using geological data.

We spent that hot day in June 2014 trudging up and down the inhospitable badlands, surveying the rocky terrain and filling the backpacks we had brought with us with rock samples. Now it was time to dig up - but not a dinosaur skeleton, but our off-road vehicle, which had got stuck in the dunes. To get it free again, we had to laboriously clear away the sand in which it was up to its axles, using shovels and our bare hands.

The life of a field researcher roaming the world is by no means as adventurous as many think, but mainly characterized by mundane things: applying for permits, taking notes, cooking meals, washing up in the camp, reading the data of the daily viewing. Exciting experiences are rare - unlike Indiana Jones or Alan Grant from Steven Spielberg's film "Jurassic Park", who hardly ever have the embarrassment of having to dig out their stuck pick-up truck.

In the summer of 1993, dinosaurs and paleontologists took over cinema screens around the world…

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