I.B.R.I.S. Project (S/F)

Subject V-2.
Subject V-2, a female V. a. nublarensis utilized in IBRIS

IBRIS (Integrated Behavioral Raptor Intelligence Study) was a program executed by the Security Division of International Genetic Technologies between 2012 and 2015. It was carried out concurrently with, and tangentially related to, the Indominus project. Its chief aim was to research the intelligence of dromaeosaurid dinosaurs (commonly called “raptors”) and gather data on how that intelligence is used. The project was formulated years before its actual start date; Velociraptors were already slated for a covert operation under InGen as of 2004, before any were actually shipped out from Isla Sorna. InGen’s leading animal behaviorists were not privy to the project’s details at the time.

Despite the program’s promising results, it is overall considered a failure.

Project Aims

As IBRIS was predominantly carried out by InGen Security, most of its methods and objectives were security-oriented. The primary goal was to gather data on dromaeosaurid intelligence, determining how the animals communicate and perceive their environment.

Security Aims

InGen Security oversaw most of IBRIS over the course of its three-year duration. Vic Hoskins (Head of Security 2001-2015) was in charge of the project, with animal behaviorists Owen Grady and Barry Sembène as primary researchers. Hoskins explicitly planned to utilize dromaeosaurids, particularly Velociraptor, as military animals in the same manner that animals such as dogs and dolphins are used today. Grady was specifically selected for his background in the U.S. Navy; this is further detailed in Jurassic World: The Game, which describes his involvement with MK-9, an aspect of the Marine Mammal Program.

Hoskins’s reasoning for the utilization of Velociraptor by the United States Armed Forces were his concerns about drone technology being compromised by the enemy. He reasoned that animals could not be hacked or rendered useless by electromagnetic pulses, and so were more suited for combat than drones and other robots. Additionally, the speed and sensory capability of a raptor exceeds that of a human, making them more capable in combat.

It is unclear if Hoskins’s involvement in IBRIS was influenced in any part by Eli Mills, the primary benefactor of the Indominus project. As the Indominus was also designed for combat and intended in some part for military use, it can be seen as an aspect of IBRIS despite not officially being a part of the program.

Exhibition Aims

Simon Masrani (CEO of Masrani Global Corporation 1992-2015) fully approved of IBRIS, though he did not have any interest in testing the animals’ combat abilities. Instead, he and other Jurassic World administrators intended to integrate the animals into the park facility for visitors to view. One of the IBRIS Velociraptors, Blue, was even used as a model for the Holoscape in the park’s Samsung Innovation Center as of 2015.

It is not known what kind of exhibition the raptors, once properly understood, would have been incorporated into. However, numerous pieces of Jurassic World concept art display raptor exhibits, most of which imply that the raptors’ hunting behavior would be showcased in the attraction. The theoretical exhibit includes a ride through a cave called the “Raptor Den” with night-vision goggles allowing visitors to watch the raptors hunt, as well as an outdoor arena featuring a waterfall, artificial volcano, and an animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex.

Scientific Aims

While IBRIS predominantly focused on preparing the animals for human interaction, the project also provided ample opportunity for Dr. Henry Wu to perform research into genetic hybridization as well as allowing InGen’s other scientists and research personnel to study Velociraptor intelligence, behavior, and biology on an unprecedented level.

Project Summary
Species Included

Only Velociraptor antirrhopus specimens have been confirmed involved in IBRIS, but terminology used in research logs imply that other species were studied as well. The only other dromaeosaurid currently known to have been cloned by InGen is Deinonychus antirrhopus.

Specimens

The following are specimens known to have been involved with IBRIS:

  • Subject V-2: Adult female V. a. nublarensis. Rejected circa 2012.
  • Subject A-2: Adult V. a. nublarensis. Failed circa 2012.
  • B-420 Blue: Female V. a. masranii, hatched 2012.
  • D-238 Delta: Female V. a. masranii, hatched 2012. Died 8/12/2015.
  • C-167 Echo: Female V. a. masranii, hatched 2012. Died 8/12/2015.
  • E-377 Charlie: Female V. a. masranii, hatched 2012. Died 8/12/2015.

Additionally, a number of other specimens were hatched; Grady’s video logs describe a “second group” and “new group,” which yielded Delta and Blue respectively. As Blue was the eldest, and Delta the second-eldest, either this “new group” was the first group, or the “new” and “second” groups were both the same group. Either way, his logs mention other theropods having been hatched for the program, but only four Velociraptors survived as of 2012. The project presumably made use of some of the raptors still living in semi-wild conditions north of the border wall with Sector 5, where controlled habitats would have maintained any animals recovered from Isla Sorna between 2004 and 2005. None of these animals appear to have passed the initiation phase due to aggressive and unpredictable behavior.

Personnel Involved

Beginning in 2012, IBRIS was formally overseen by Head of InGen Security Vic Hoskins. The animals for the project were designed and created by Dr. Henry Wu, who presumably had some involvement in the project due to his background knowledge. Working as primary caretaker and trainer was Owen Grady, an animal behaviorist and former member of the United States Navy. On May 17, 2013, around a year after the project began, Grady recommended to Hoskins that Barry Sembène be recruited to assist in the research. Sembène joined on that year, working as an animal caretaker while Grady retained most of the training duties.

Other InGen personnel assisted in some capacity with the project. In Jurassic World: The Game, a grad student named Patricia Cheung assists with IBRIS by helping tend to the raptors’ needs, particularly their physical and psychological health. The most recent addition to IBRIS personnel was a handler named Leon, who was hired shortly before the December 18 incident in 2015 which terminated the project. Leon was hired to replace a handler who had been mauled by a raptor.

Methods

Due to (presumably wild-caught) earlier specimens failing to pass the initiation phase of IBRIS, a new version was engineered by Dr. Henry Wu in 2012. This version, herein termed Velociraptor antirrhopus masranii, was designed to be more tolerant of human contact. Upon the hatching of each individual destined for the project, lead trainer Owen Grady would be present in order to ensure that the animals imprinted on him and viewed him as an authority figure.

During the animals’ infancy, Grady regularly provided them with stimulation and acted as a parental figure. Four specimens survived and were introduced to one another at a young age, allowing a social structure to develop naturally. Grady tested the animals’ behavior to determine whether they displayed the desired behavioral traits, including empathy and loyalty. Throughout, he maintained a regularly-updated video log.

A paddock was constructed on Isla Nublar’s eastern coast to house the raptors. It included a component referred to as the Raptor Research Arena, an octagonal structure with metal catwalks allowing the researchers to view and communicate with the animals without being within their strike range. The facility was designed to provide safe and effective means of communication, a means to care for the raptors’ health, and access to a contained region of forested habitat where the raptors could live comfortably when not performing the training exercises. The paddock would be maintained by Security personnel armed with non-lethal weapons.

Later in the project, methods of communication between trainers and animals had to be established. This was accomplished through vocal commands and the sound of a clicker, which mimics the toe-tapping communications the animals use. The raptors were trained to respond to increasingly complex commands, rewarded with small pieces of food when the commands were followed correctly. When feeding, Grady would provide Blue with food last, in order to reinforce his dominant state over her in the pride hierarchy.

Many of the commands involved both a vocal and visual aspect, and as the project progressed, training sessions focused on determining if the raptors’ instincts (particularly pertaining to hunting behavior) could be overridden by loyalty to an authority figure in the pride. This was tested by releasing a small livestock animal, such as a pig, into the paddock, permitting the animals to chase it, and instructing them to stop and allow the prey to escape unharmed. Grady and Sembène also performed tracking exercises, giving the raptors a scented object and then instructing them to locate a match for that scent within the paddock.

Results

Research indicated that only one of the four surviving Velociraptors, Blue, expressed any signs of empathy. During a 2012 testing session, Grady would pretend to be distressed while one of the raptors was present. Delta attacked upon sensing vulnerability (due to her young age and his protective gear, Grady was not in danger during this test). Blue responded to Grady’s apparent distress by affectionately rubbing her snout against him and making comforting noises, demonstrating empathetic behavior.

A social hierarchy within the four animals was present in 2012, while the animals were still very young; at this age, Blue was the only one of the four to respond to Grady’s commands with any level of reliability, but the three younger animals would respond to Blue. As of such, Blue recognizing Grady as an authority figure indirectly extended this relationship to the other animals. At least one conflict within the hierarchy is known to have occurred; Echo challenged Blue for beta status, but was unsuccessful and received serious injuries to her face during the conflict. Following this incident, relationships among the four raptors appears to have been mostly harmonious.

Hoskins began working on an application for the raptors in 2013, roughly a year after the animals were hatched; on May 17 of that year, Grady recommended his associate Barry Sembène to join the project, which Hoskins approved. Ultimately, Hoskins’s goal was to field-test the raptors in the wild to determine if they were prepared for military combat. He had expressed plans to breed them for loyalty, terminating genetic lineages which were deemed uncontrollable. However, as of the project’s termination, no male raptors existed.

As of December 18, 2015, the raptors could recognize at least 40 distinct commands, and responded positively 73% of the time. Grady indicated that the hunting behavior test was still having difficulties; on December 18, the test was performed successfully using a pig, but he noted that the result was not typical. By that time, the raptors had become less manageable, with even Blue challenging Grady’s authority. There were at least two incidents involving handlers; shortly before the incident which resulted in the park’s closure, a handler had turned their back to the cage and was mauled by one of the raptors. This resulted in the handler being unable to work any longer. The newest handler, named Leon, fell into the arena when attempting to recapture the pig from the successful test, which had escaped. He was injured, but not severely; Grady entered the arena to keep the raptors from attacking the handler, but both men only narrowly escaped. While the raptors hesitated while approaching Grady, they actually did attack him as he fled the arena.

Hoskins succeeded in field-testing the raptors by assuming control of Jurassic World during the incident on December 18 following the death of Simon Masrani. The animals were given a sample of Indominus flesh and instructed to seek out the matching scent. While they successfully completed the task without issue, the subsequent encounter resulted in the deaths of all animals involved with the sole exception of Blue as well as multiple InGen Security personnel including Hoskins himself. This, and the closure of Jurassic World due to negative press and financial issues, effectively ended IBRIS.

Attempted Revival

The Indominus project, financially backed by Eli Mills between 2008 and 2015, had some degree of overlap with IBRIS. Similarly to IBRIS, it was ostensibly an attempt to create a new park attraction to draw in crowds, while its backers actually intended to make use of it as a military animal. Following the death of the sole surviving Indominus and closure of Jurassic World, Dr. Wu’s laboratory specimens were raided and he was forced into hiding due to an inquiry into bioethical misconduct by the U.S. Congress. Despite these setbacks, Mills and Wu attempted to continue some form of IBRIS by reobtaining Indominus DNA and modifying it to create a new chimerid genus called Indoraptor. While the prototype did not demonstrate any empathy and expressed violent behavior, Wu believed that utilizing Blue as a surrogate mother for the next attempt would yield more positive results. Mills and Wu heavily relied on IBRIS data for their project.

Despite their attempts, the Indoraptor project would fail similarly to both of its predecessors with the deaths of both the hybrid specimen and Mills. The last known Indominus genetic sample was destroyed during the resultant events, and Blue was lost as she fled into the wild.