Disambiguation Links – Dilophosaurus “venenifer” (SF-Ride)
“Spitter” or the “double-crested reptile”, was discovered in 1942 in Monument Valley in the Navajo country, Arizona, by native Jesse Williams. Based on these remains, which came from the Kayenta Formation, it was described in 1954 by Sam Welles as a new species of Megalosaurus, before new remains revealed it was a new animal. Welles gave it a new description, and name, in 1970.
Dilophosaurus lived during the Hettangian or Sinemurian stages of the Early Jurassic, about 200 to 190 million years ago. It was 6 meters (20ft) in length, over 1.8 meters (6ft) in height at the hips and 1000 pounds (454kg) in weight.
It belonged to the Dilophosauridae, a group of medium-sized early theropods that also included Cryolophosaurus, Dracovenator, and Zupaysaurus. Material for Dilophosaurus includes a number of specimens of varying degrees of completeness and ages, ranging from scattered fragments of an infant, to the incomplete subadult holotype specimen, to an incomplete adult specimen which was the first to preserve the distinctive crests, and more. The large crests for which it was famous may have been used for sexual display or intraspecific recognition, and would have been brightly colored. Several specimens have been discovered together and have been interpreted as evidence of group behavior, though this has been contested by other researches, leaving it open to debate. In addition, resting traces attributed to Dilophosaurus have been used to shed light on dinosaur posture, and track types from the Kayenta Formation have been attributed to Dilophosaurus.
Dilophosaurus could be found on both Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna. Although never witnessed on the tour (where the Dilophosaurus Paddock was the first stop) because of a no show, a Dilophosaurus did attack and kill Dennis Nedry while he was trying to make it to the East Dock. “Spitters” were also seen attacking Miles Chadwick and Nima Cruz during their infiltration attempt on the island, with Miles being a casualty, and Nima only surviving due to the arrival of the mysterious Troodon, which frightened off her attackers. Later, another Dilophosaurus attacked Billy Yoder while the mercenary team sent to Isla Nublar searched for the other survivors, though it was injured by Oscar Morales and limped off into the jungle.
It has never been witnessed on Isla Sorna, but could be seen on the Mobile Lab Trailers Computers, providing evidence that it is in fact on the island. There is also a depiction of Dilophosaurus that can also be seen here (image has been altered in attempt at identification), behind Amanda Kirby in the Embryonics Facility in 2001. The Dilophosaurus is depicted on a chart of specimen data, likely used by the scientists who cloned the creatures.
More recently, and despite not housing any specimens itself due to the danger presented by spitting venom, Jurassic World not only mentions the animal and its potent, paralyzing venom in the Gyrosphere safety introduction video (hosted by celebrity Jimmy Fallon) displayed a moving hologram of the animal in its Innovation Center’s holoscape. During the catastrophic failure of the park, this feature was used by Gray Mitchell to save himself, his brother Zach, aunt and park manager Claire Dearing, and park employee Owen Grady from a pursuing Delta by distracting the raptor with a suddenly-appearing “Dilophosaur”, complete with a repeating frill-rattling threat display, which Delta attacked before realizing she’d been duped.
The frill and poisonous spit that the Dilophosaurus had were most likely the result of DNA splicing done by InGen since there is no such evidence to suggest it had these characteristics in real life. The Dilophosaurus seen in 1993 was debated for years to be the juvenile form of this animal. From this image shown here that is on the Mobile Trailer’s screensaver seen here and here. Jurassic Park: The Game further backs this up, with official material, such as the Field Guide released with the Deluxe Edition of the game, and the tour video/teaser trailer viewable online at the official site, both describing the animal as “still juvenile”, and mentioning “an adult expectancy of almost twenty feet”. Finally, as mentioned above, the hologram seen here in Jurassic World’s Innovation Center depicts an animal at least as large, if not seemingly slightly larger than, the Velociraptors, which finally ends the debate once and for all.
The Dilophosaurus of Jurassic Park, unlike the real animal, possesses a collar of loose, extra neck skin that normally is held flush against the neck that, when the animal is aroused, will fan out in a multi-colored frill, rattling like a rattlesnake’s tail while the animal hisses in a colorful, noisy display, before the aptly-named “Spitter” launches a spray of gooey black venom from as far as 20 feet, causing blindness, disorientation, and eventually paralysis, allowing the animal to eat the incapacitated prey item at its leisure.
Jurassic Park’s Dilophosaurus, at least while juvenile, have also been shown to possess a surprising capacity for jumping or hopping; the individual that killed Nedry was first seen jumping into view before scampering off, while another made an impressive pounce to tackle a fleeing Miles. They are also rather quick and agile, and at least the juveniles can be somewhat playful with their prey at first, as seen in the individual hunting Nedry.
Also of interest is that Jurassic Park’s Dilophosaurus displays a certain amount of group hunting behavior. Material released in conjunction with Jurassic Park: The Game, namely the aforementioned tour video and Field Guide, both describe Dilophosaurus hunting in packs, relying on a pack leader to deliver venom at the beginning of an attack. This echoes the tour dialogue in the film itself, which mentions a “herd” of Dilophosaurus resident in the paddock on Isla Nublar.
The Dilophosaurus was previously believed to have suffered under the gene splicer extensively. “Jurassic Park Institute Dinosaur Field Guide” suggests this on page 65, suggesting that it has almost a T. rex-like skull and supports the assessment. However, recent re-analysis of the animal throws this into doubt, as certain aspects of the skull are obscured by the lighting of the scene. In addition, the recent discovery of the snout end of a skull of a juvenile Dracovenator, a relative of Dilophosaurus, with a structure much like that of the animal seen in Jurassic Park, also suggests that the differences may simply be due to the animal being not fully grown.
In addition, while there is no evidence for real-life Dilophosaurus having a frill or spitting venom, and in fact evidence to the contrary, Jurassic Park has shown itself to differ from reality on many respects. It is thus currently unknown whether the frill and venom are a result of the gene splicer or if the animal was actually like that in the Jurassic Park universe.
Taxonomically we awarded this dinosaur with species identifier of “venenifer” (Latin for venom or venomous) to distinguish it from the real-life D. wetherilli.
Works Cited: Jurassic Park: The Game – Teaser Trailer: Dilophosaurus