“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
I always had a bit of sympathy for Dr. Alan Grant in that infamous scene in the movie Jurassic Park. Having been a schoolteacher, I know what it is like to have one’s comments ridiculed by an irritating little boy and how we teachers often wished we could have used a putdown as dramatic and effective as the way that Grant frightened the child.
Michael Crichton, who wrote the Jurassic Park novel, usually included an expert or experts in his stories who are there to explain the “real” science. Dr. Grant is such a character. His inclusion in the events later in the novel are on the basis that he knows his stuff.
So when Crichton has Grant telling the urchin, “He moves like a bird, lightly, bobbing his head”, we are entitled to ask, “How does he know?” We have only just watched Grant explaining aspects of velociraptor’s appearance, based on an interpretation of the bones in a fossil.
“You stare at him, and he just stares right back. And that’s when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two ‘raptors you didn’t even know were there. Because Velociraptor’s a pack hunter.”Really? Has Grant ever watched velociraptors hunting in a pack? Let’s be clear. It is not possible to determine an animal’s pack behavior by looking at its bones. But the fictional Dr. Grant is behaving like any evolutionary scientist who uses fiction to bring their fossils to life.
“Try to show a little respect,” Grant concludes, while showing no respect to observational scientific principles.