Jack (Pet) (S/F)

Jack (2001)

Jack is a blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna) kept as a pet by Dr. Ellie Sattler and her family, and formerly Dr. Alan Grant. As of 2001, he resided at the Degler home in Washington, D.C. with the Degler family. Prior to this, he lived with Drs. Sattler and Grant while they were in a romantic relationship.

Name

Jack is a given name of Middle English origin dating back to medieval times. It was originally a nickname for the name John. It means “God is gracious” but can also mean “supplanter.” The latter would be fitting in the sense that Mark Degler supplanted Dr. Alan Grant as Dr. Ellie Sattler’s romantic partner, with Jack joining her new family.

Pets are sometimes, for legal reasons, given their owners’ surnames, but this is not common in casual practice.

Biography
Early life

Jack’s hatch date is not known, but he was probably bred in captivity. He hatched in 1995 or earlier, based on deleted lines of dialogue from the Jurassic Park /// script. Blue-and-yellow macaws fledge in 97 days; Jack may have had one or two siblings, as his species typically lays up to three eggs. By three to five years of age, Jack would have been fully grown.

Jack was purchased as a pet by paleontologists Dr. Ellie Sattler and Dr. Alan Grant sometime during or before 1995. It appears that Dr. Sattler was his primary caretaker. His owners taught him to speak; he could say Dr. Grant’s first name, and Dr. Grant (possibly accidentally) taught him to swear. According to deleted lines of dialogue, Jack would sometimes interject in other peoples’ conversations with curse words.

Life with the Deglers

In 1995, Drs. Sattler and Grant ended their romantic relationship. A significant factor in this was the aftermath of the 1993 Isla Nublar incident. When their relationship came to an end, Dr. Sattler took full custody of Jack. Over the next six years, Jack did not see Dr. Grant, and eventually forgot his name.

Sometime before 1998, Dr. Sattler began dating U.S. State Department employee Mark Degler, and married him by 1998. They owned a house together in Washington, D.C., and Jack moved into the Degler home. That year, the Deglers had their first child, a boy named Charlie; they had a daughter by 2001. Both of the Degler children would have grown up with Jack in the home, already an adult. Jack had a cage within the house where he would rest at night, though he presumably had an enclosure where he would live during the day since his species requires large spaces to fly about and exercise.

Finally, on July 16, 2001, Dr. Grant paid a visit while speaking at Georgetown University. Jack did not appear to recognize him or remember his name. In deleted lines of dialogue, Jack interjected into Dr. Grant’s discussion of denonychosaur intelligence by cursing “Bulls**t!”, which Dr. Sattler reprimanded Dr. Grant for teaching him.

Later life

Jack presumably still resides with his family. Blue-and-yellow macaws can live for fifty to sixty years in captivity; assuming he hatched in the early-to-mid-1990s, he can be expected to live at least into the 2040s.

Skills
Speech

While he lived with Drs. Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant, his owners taught Jack to speak words and phrases in English, including Dr. Grant’s first name and the curse word “bulls**t.” The latter was, apparently, unintentional. After six years of separation, Jack appeared to no longer remember Dr. Grant’s name, though he was still known to curse. The full extent of Jack’s ability to speak is currently not known, but his species is generally capable of memorizing twenty or so words and phrases. Blue-and-yellow macaws can learn very quickly, though their understanding of human languages is limited; they are not “speaking” so much as mimicking their human companions.

Jack’s use of language is not necessarily for communication, but rather a way to interact with the humans in his life. When he speaks, he is seeking attention and trying to please his owners, not expressing opinions.

Views

Since Jack does not actually have a complete understanding of the English language, he is unable to express views on complex topics. His use of certain words and phrases can show some limited understanding of his environment (for example, recognizing the name of a particular person), but any apparent expressions of opinion are illusory. For example, he sometimes interjects curse words while other people are talking; he once called “bulls**t” while Dr. Alan Grant was discussing the extent of deinonychosaurian intelligence, giving the illusion that he disagreed with Dr. Grant’s theories. However, he does not have any knowledge of paleontological science, and was instead simply seeking attention.

Relationships
Breeders and original family

Jack was almost certainly bred in captivity; his species is common in aviculture. His breeders are unknown. He probably had one or two younger siblings, as his species normally lays between two and three eggs. In the wild, only the oldest is favored and the younger siblings are allowed to starve, but in captivity breeders can intervene to raise the younger birds. The current status of any of Jack’s blood relatives is not known.

Degler family

Jack was originally adopted by Dr. Ellie Sattler, an American paleobotanist, during the 1990s. He was taught to speak by her and her romantic partner Dr. Alan Grant. When Dr. Sattler and Dr. Grant ended their relationship in 1995, Jack continued to live with Dr. Sattler. Blue-and-yellow macaws are not easy to care for, requiring large amounts of attention and time given to them, but Jack was in good health and behaved well as of 2001, so Dr. Sattler clearly provided him with quality care.

In the late 1990s, Dr. Sattler married U.S. State Department official Mark Degler. This began an expansion of Jack’s family and he moved into a home in Washington, D.C. by 2001. Since 1997 or 1998, Jack has gained two younger “siblings,” the Deglers’ son Charlie and a daughter born around the turn of the millennium. Jack appears to have adapted comfortably to having children around the home; by this point in time, the children have grown up, though Jack presumably still lives at the Degler residence.

An in-home secretary, Hannah, worked at the Degler residence as of 2001 and assisted with raising the youngest child. She presumably would have interacted with Jack, but details of their relationship are not known.

Dr. Alan Grant

When Jack was purchased by Dr. Ellie Sattler in the 1990s, he was co-owned by paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, who was Dr. Sattler’s romantic partner at the time. It appears that Dr. Grant was behind much of Jack’s learned ability to speak; he knew how to say Grant’s first name, and also learned curse words from him (though this appears to have been accidental).

Drs. Grant and Sattler ended their relationship in 1995, and Jack lived with Dr. Sattler in the following years. Jack and Dr. Grant did not see one another again until 2001, by which time Jack did not appear to remember Dr. Grant’s name. He may not have recognized his old owner at all due to their six-year separation. Jack did, however, remember the curse words he learned from Grant.

Portrayal

Jack is portrayed by a blue-and-yellow macaw whose name is not currently known. He is not based on any particular character from Michael Crichton‘s novels. Crichton’s 2006 novel Next, which also centers around the moral implications of genetic engineering, features a transgenic African gray parrot named Gerard, but it is unlikely that this is any reference to Jack’s character from the 2001 film.