This male was the first Tyrannosaurus rex confirmed to have been bred in the wild since the species was made de-extinct in 1988. He hatched on the Pacific Costa Rican island of Isla Sorna sometime prior to May 1997, probably at least a few months before, and was a prominent factor in the incident on the island that year (as well as the subsequent incident in San Diego, California). As a result, he was a major part of the events which led to the general public discovering that extinct species had been restored to life through genetic engineering.
His life after 1997 is entirely unknown due to InGen and government secrecy surrounding Isla Sorna, but official records indicate that all animals from the island were relocated to Isla Nublar between 2004 and early 2005. Records also indicate that, as of 2018, the global Tyrannosaurus rex population had decreased to one individual. However, suspicious activity around Isla Sorna suggests that some animals may have remained there, and that the island may still be utilized by either InGen or another party. If more details about this tyrannosaur’s life are discovered, they will be added here.
A wild animal with limited human contact, he has no known official name. Sometimes he is referred to as “Junior” in unofficial capacity (as was proposed in the Kenner toy line), but during the 1997 incidents he was mostly referred to as “the infant” or more informally “the kid.” It is unknown if he reached adulthood since his life after 1997 is unknown, so calling him an infant may not be accurate, but we use it here since calling him “the first confirmed wild-born Tyrannosaurus” would be cumbersome. If it is ever revealed that he survived to adulthood, Junior will prove a more fitting name.
This tyrannosaur hatched on the Pacific Costa Rican island of Isla Sorna to a mated pair established in the island’s northern region. His mother and father had been bred in captivity and grew up together; they were both between five and ten years old when they had him. It is unknown if he had any siblings, but he was an only child when he was discovered by humans.
Since his hatching was not observed, the date upon which he hatched is unknown. Big-game hunter Roland Tembo estimated that he was a few weeks old as of May 28, 1997, but his size was comparable to fossil tyrannosaur juveniles believed to be at least a year old. InGen tyrannosaurs do grow faster than their prehistoric counterparts due to growth-accelerating supplements, but it is unknown if this effect would appear in second-generation animals.
His parents had built a nest in Isla Sorna’s northeast, located in a remote part of the redwood forest where he would be protected from raiding predators while his parents hunted. They brought him carcasses from the game trail, stockpiling them so that he would always have his choice of food. His diet included Parasaurolophus, Edmontosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, and other local dinosaur species, mostly herbivorous prey animals.
On May 28, 1997, he encountered human beings for the first time. The hunter Roland Tembo and his companion Ajay Sidhu approached the nest from the north, watching him from over the nest’s ridge. Construction of the nest was such that it could only be approached from downwind, ensuring that the adults would always be able to smell intruders, so the humans had to act quickly. They entered the nest and forcibly removed the young tyrannosaur, bringing him away from his home and to the north where their camp was established. He was tied down, unable to flee. As the evening wore on, one of the hunters accidentally broke his right fibula by falling on him, causing him great pain.
The sun set on Isla Sorna, and he called out for his parents. In the camp nearby, numerous dinosaurs had been captured and held in cages. Sometime during the night, the campsite fell into chaos, with the captured dinosaurs making their escape and the humans’ equipment being destroyed; during the confusion he was grabbed from his post and taken by a new human away from the camp. This man was animal rights activist Nick Van Owen; he shortly thereafter joined paleobiologist Dr. Sarah Harding to bring the juvenile tyrannosaur to the location used as camp by a smaller group of humans. These included mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm and his daughter Kelly; however, Malcolm quickly brought his daughter away from camp when the young tyrannosaur was taken in.
He was held in a trailer and examined by Dr. Harding, who identified his broken leg and began operating with Van Owen’s assistance. Not knowing that these humans were different from those who had kidnapped and injured him, he resisted, and had to be restrained. He continued to cry out for his parents. Meanwhile, Dr. Harding and Van Owen placed a cast around his broken leg after setting it. When the operation was nearly done, Malcolm returned to the trailer without his daughter; moments later, the tyrannosaur’s parents arrived, attacking the humans’ camp and locating their son. His mother approached the side of the trailer where he was held, trying to comfort him. With the threat of dismemberment coming from the adult tyrannosaurs, the humans released the juvenile outside, and his leg was set well enough that he could walk. He rejoined his parents, who safely brought him to the treeline before pushing the trailers partway over the cliffs hundreds of feet above the rocky coast. A final member of the human team came to try and help; the parents killed him too, letting the trailer plunge over the cliffs into the sea.
The young tyrannosaur was returned to his nest after the day’s ordeals, but his troubles were not yet over. His parents smelled something confusing; his scent was coming from outside the nest, even though they could see him there. They trusted their sense of smell and investigated. He was left alone for most of May 29, his parents off in the central part of the island tracking the humans who they assumed must be responsible. During the night, the nest was invaded once again, and this time the young tyrannosaur was taken not to a campsite but to a small artificial clearing in the west of the island where an airplane waited. Muzzled, drugged, and contained, he was brought away from Isla Sorna by the same human who had broken his leg yesterday, Peter Ludlow.
After a flight lasting several hours, he arrived to the city of San Diego, California, an environment totally alien to him. He was sedated for his transport through the city, from the airfield to the Jurassic Park: San Diego amphitheater where he was guarded by InGen Security personnel. Here he stayed, kept in a cage and groggy from sedatives, until finally he was picked up by a pair of familiar faces: Drs. Sarah Harding and Ian Malcolm, who removed him from the cage and drove him out into the city by car. Harding held him as he recovered from sedation. As he grew more lucid, he became distressed by the unfamiliar city full of bright lights and confusing sounds. Once again, he cried out for his parents, and his call was answered. His father was in the city, and upon hearing his son’s cry, he responded by giving pursuit to the car as it sped toward the ocean. Malcolm and Harding departed the car after a harrowing chase, bringing the juvenile tyrannosaur down a dock toward the sea and onto the deck of a boat, the S.S. Venture, where they freed him of his muzzle and left him alone in the belly of the ship.
Ludlow soon entered, following the juvenile’s distress call too. He tried to approach, acting soothing and parental, but the young dinosaur did not trust him and tried to hide. As the man continued his efforts to coax the juvenile out, the tyrannosaur spotted his father entering the cargo hold behind Ludlow. He dodged around the man and went to his father’s side. Startled, Ludlow tried to flee, but was grabbed by the juvenile’s father. Ludlow’s leg was broken, rendering him unable to escape. The tyrannosaur’s father did not kill the man, though; instead, he took this opportunity to show his son how to make a kill. Encouraged by his father, the juvenile leapt upon Ludlow, using his jaws to lethal effect for the first time in his life.
The cargo hold soon closed them in, and the tyrannosaur’s father was sedated. Around them, the ship rumbled to life and began to move. With nothing left to threaten them, his father slept off the tranquilizer for a few hours. When he came to, it was not long before the ship stopped moving and the cargo hold opened up once again. This time, they were finally someplace familiar. They had been returned to Isla Sorna. After leaving the ship, they found the tyrannosaur’s mother and the family was reunited at last.
With the incident behind them, their lives returned to normal, but their normal had now changed. No longer was the juvenile tyrannosaur a meek creature, waiting in his nest for his parents to come home from hunting or patrolling. He had tasted fresh blood from his own kill, and not only this, his victim had been his own former tormentor. This meant he had defended himself against a predator and succeeded. With his parents’ help, he would continue along the path to becoming an apex predator, and he began accompanying them on journeys into the wild. For a moment in time, all was well in his life.
The fall of Isla Sorna
It is unknown what happened to this juvenile after the events of 1997. During the next year, Isla Sorna was illegally used for genetic engineering research and development, resulting in many new animals being bred in the western island opposite the side where the tyrannosaurs nested. Most of these newcomers were herbivores, but there were some carnivorous predators bred as well, including the gigantic Spinosaurus. Human activity on the island ceased by mid-1999, but the island had been irrevocably altered.
The burgeoning prey population at first benefited the predators, giving them ample food to live on. There was increased competition due to the new predator animals too, but for the most part, there was enough to go around. But competition for territory increased, and this led to conflicts. There is some speculation that this juvenile tyrannosaur, having grown into a young adult, may have died in such a conflict in 2001, but this is unconfirmed. More herbivorous animals were introduced artificially to the island in 2002 as well. Herbivores began to experience increased competition, and by 2004, the island faced severe resource scarcity and some species were beginning to die out. As prey populations plummeted, carnivores began to suffer.
Beginning in 2004, the dinosaurs of Isla Sorna were relocated to the island of Isla Nublar, farther to the east and under the strict management of Masrani Global Corporation and the Costa Rican government. Here they were housed in facilities managed by the staff of Jurassic World, a theme park which exhibited dinosaurs and other prehistoric species. While only one tyrannosaur was readily available to the public, the others were housed nearby. It is unknown if this specific tyrannosaur was among those who lived there, although there were at least two young males as of 2015. There were also incidences of poaching on Isla Sorna; it is unknown what animals specifically were smuggled off the island.
On December 22, 2015, Jurassic World was closed indefinitely due to a serious breach of security and the tyrannosaurs in the reserve paddock were never released. They lived the rest of their days there, unable to attain freedom, until the last of them starved. Their bodies were most likely scavenged by whatever animals were able to find their way into the paddock, leaving only bones. In the summer of 2018, a volcanic eruption caused major damage to the remaining structures on the island and the tyrannosaur skeletons may have been destroyed.
In the early morning of May 30, 1997, this tyrannosaur made his first kill. This was assisted by his father; the victim, InGen CEO Peter Ludlow, was captured while attempting to handle the young tyrannosaur and had his legs broken. With encouragement from his father, the juvenile leapt upon Ludlow and killed him. This first kill began his career as a predator, and assuming he survived to adulthood, he would have become one of Earth’s largest and most powerful carnivorous animals.
During the incident of 1997, this animal’s right fibula was broken when a drunken Peter Ludlow fell on him. Within hours, this broken leg was set by Dr. Sarah Harding and put in a cast, allowing the tyrannosaur to walk despite the injury. This wound appears to have been minor enough that it caused no permanent damage, and as of the last time he was seen, this young tyrannosaur was capable of walking, running, and jumping once more.
Perception of humans
Like most animals, he was unable to distinguish between “good” and “bad” humans, only being able to react to the way they treated him and predict based on this. For example, he was equally distressed by the InGen Harvester expedition taking him from his nest and (unintentionally) breaking his leg and the Gatherer team which attempted to mend said broken leg.
His closest relatives were his mother and father; it is unknown if he ever had any siblings, or if he was always an only child. As he grew up, his parents protected his nest and provided him with ample food. He always had a wide selection of meat available, and the nest was kept very secure. Other predators did not dare invade his home.
During the events of May 1997 when he was kidnapped by humans, his parents began tracking him down by scent as soon as they realized he was missing. This brought them north, and they made a threat display toward the humans holding him. He was released, and his parents destroyed the humans’ encampment and returned him home. One of the humans that survived the attack had blood on her jacket from his broken leg, though, and this confused his parents; they could see him in the nest, but smelled him elsewhere. Since InGen tyrannosaurs have notoriously poor vision, they trusted their sense of smell and began investigating. This left him alone, though he was by now used to being left by himself in the nest when his parents hunted or defended their territory, so it would not have alarmed him.
Unfortunately, while his parents were away, he was kidnapped by InGen a second time and taken to San Diego, hundreds of miles away from home. Although it seemed as though he would never see his parents again, while he was being driven through the streets his father miraculously showed up; he was released from the humans’ custody into the belly of a ship where his father rescued him from InGen’s CEO Peter Ludlow. Instead of killing the man, his father broke the villain’s legs and used him to teach the juvenile how to kill prey. They were brought back to Isla Sorna, reuniting with his mother.
The rest of their lives has not been officially released, so it is unknown what has happened to them since.
He hatched onto Isla Sorna at a time when the dinosaur population was growing, but at his young age, he was not yet ready to leave his nest. Instead, his experience with other animals was limited to the carcasses his parents would bring home for him to eat. These included mostly herbivorous species: Pachycephalosaurus seems to have been his favorite, but others such as Parasaurolophus and Edmontosaurus were common prey. An omnivorous species, Gallimimus, is also a favored prey item of tyrannosaurs and probably constituted a good amount of his diet. Other dinosaurs that lived nearby were the well-armed Stegosaurus and Triceratops, which would have been riskier for his parents to bring down, and the colossal Mamenchisaurus which was simply too big to kill. These animals would not have ventured too close to his nest, avoiding the tyrannosaurs’ home; the only creatures he would see regularly were scavenging insects such as the flies that swarmed around his food stockpile.
There were other herbivores on the island, such as the huge Brachiosaurus that lived in the west, and the tiny Microceratus. Carnivores were rarer, with the only common one being a minute scavenger called Compsognathus. In the central island, which his family lived on the outskirts of, were various predators such as the intelligent, pack-hunting Velociraptor, fish-eating Baryonyx, venomous Dilophosaurus, and the swift, aggressive Carnotaurus. A pterosaur, Pteranodon, also lived in the central part of the island. All of these predators would have been threatening to him as a juvenile, so his parents likely did not bring him this far inland until he was older; at such a young age even a particularly large snake could harm him. After the 1997 incident and his first successful kill, his parents brought him to the central island for the first time, where he witnessed a Stegosaurus herd and a flock of Pteranodons.
Including his parents, there were originally seven Tyrannosaurus rex living on the island. One of them was removed when his parents were still young, so he never met her. Aside from his parents, this left three adults, most of which lived inland where the carnivores were clustered. It is unknown if he met them, or what his relation to them was. Some of the other tyrannosaurs may have mated and had offspring; if so, he may have found a mate of his own when he grew up, and possibly even had offspring.
In 1998, new animals were introduced to the island at an alarming rate. This was because of illegal breeding being conducted in the western island by InGen; the growing population included at least four new species. These were Corythosaurus, a large prey animal, Ankylosaurus, a well-defended herbivore, Ceratosaurus, a strong but fairly docile carnivore, and Spinosaurus, a gigantic semi-aquatic predator. The Spinosaurus in particular was highly defensive of its territory and claimed a large swath of Isla Sorna’s central waterway as its own. Conflict between the dense population of animals grew, and eventually led to the ecosystem’s collapse as resources and space ran out.
Assuming this tyrannosaur survived until that time, he was likely transported to Isla Nublar alongside his fellow creatures and housed in a reserve paddock near the IMAX Theater at Jurassic World. Here, he lived in close proximity to other members of his species, but Jurassic World reports no fights between the animals. The remainder of his life is unknown.
This tyrannosaur’s first encounter with humans was the InGen Harvester expedition, led by the company’s CEO Peter Ludlow; the hunters were headed by Roland Tembo, with his colleague Dieter Stark as second in command. With help from paleontologist Dr. Robert Burke, Tembo and his friend Ajay Sidhu tracked down the tyrannosaur nest and kidnapped this young creature out from it. Tembo’s plan was to use the juvenile to lure out his parents, enabling him to bag the ultimate trophy: an adult male Tyrannosaurus rex. In the meantime, Tembo and Stark oversaw the capture of dozens of other dinosaurs from the surrounding redwood forest.
The young tyrannosaur was pinned to the ground, tied down so he could not escape. During the evening, a drunken Ludlow fell on the tyrannosaur and broke his leg while conversing with Tembo. Alone, frightened, and hurt, he wailed for his parents to come rescue him, not knowing that they were in mortal danger. Fortunately, he was removed from the trap by the Gatherer team before this could come to pass, since the Gatherers had been watching the Harvesters and sought to stop them.
After being returned to his nest, the young tyrannosaur was kidnapped by InGen a second time, and this time Ludlow promptly brought him to San Diego for exhibition in a theme park. He was muzzled and drugged to make him compliant on the trip there, which he took by airplane. At the park’s amphitheater he was guarded by InGen Security staff until he was, once more, removed from their custody by the Gatherers.
He had been intended to save InGen from bankruptcy by drawing crowds to the park, but losing him would mean financial disaster for the company. Ludlow demanded that the juvenile be returned to him and the father, who was in pursuit of his son, killed. In the cargo hold of the Venture, Ludlow attempted to take matters into his own hands by capturing the juvenile tyrannosaur on his own; instead, he had his legs broken by the father, unintentional payback for the way he had broken the juvenile’s leg before. Then, with encouragement from the father, the juvenile used Ludlow to try out his skill as a predator for the first time. Ludlow became his first live prey.
Although this was the last he would see of the Harvester team, InGen interfered with Isla Sorna in the future. In 1998, they began illegally cloning new animals on the island, drastically increasing the population to unsustainable levels until the ecosystem collapsed. Surviving animals were captured by InGen Security in 2004 under the direction of Vic Hoskins and brought to Isla Nublar, where they were then maintained under the Asset Containment Unit. For ten years, the animals were kept here until the park was suddenly and indefinitely shut down; the tyrannosaurs were, with a solitary exception, never released from captivity and starved to death in the reserve paddock. It is unknown if the juvenile tyrannosaur from the 1997 incident was among the survivors relocated to Isla Nublar, or otherwise how InGen interfered with his life specifically.
Having been kidnapped from his nest and tied down by the InGen Harvester leaders, the young tyrannosaur was moved against his will a second time by members of the opposing Gatherer team. He was removed from the trap by Nick Van Owen, an environmental activist. Together with paleobiologist Dr. Sarah Harding, he was taken to the Gatherers’ campsite where his broken leg was mended. At the campsite, Dr. Ian Malcolm and his daughter Kelly briefly met him, but left due to fears that other animals would respond to his distress calls. When his operation was nearly complete, Dr. Malcolm returned to warn the others of the tyrannosaur parents approaching; their threat caused Drs. Harding and Malcolm to release him from their custody. The tyrannosaurs then pushed the humans’ trailer laboratory over the cliffs, killing the fifth team member Eddie Carr in the process. Half of Carr’s body was eaten by the tyrannosaur father, but the half held by the mother was carried off, suggesting it was added to the stockpile at the nest.
In San Diego, he was again taken from InGen’s custody, this time by Drs. Malcolm and Harding. While he recovered from tranquilizers InGen had given him, he was driven through the city streets toward the docks. His father soon engaged in pursuit, following the car to the S.S. Venture where the scientists released him into the cargo hold and jumped ship. Although he did not run into them again, they were instrumental in sedating his father and shutting the cargo hold doors, stopping the San Diego Police Department from killing his father and returning him to InGen.
His safety on Isla Sorna was ensured, albeit for only a brief time, by the Gatherer’s team leader John Hammond, whose enterprise had created his parents and the other adult dinosaurs. Hammond passed away later that year and Isla Sorna’s protections waned not long after.
The first members of the public to know of his existence were officers of the San Diego Police Department, who were instructed to kill his father and bring him into InGen custody. They pursued him when he was en route to the InGen waterfront complex, but were evaded by Drs. Malcolm and Harding. The SDPD failed to capture him before he was brought to the S.S. Venture, which ensured his safe return to Isla Sorna. After this, the news revealed him to the wider public, and the world learned of his role in the events of that morning.
He had no knowledge of his significance to the global public, but his trip to San Diego was a major part of the world learning that de-extinction was a scientific reality. Unlike his father, he was not caught on camera and the public only knew of him from people involved with the events such as Drs. Malcolm and Harding. Being a part of the incident helped to soften the public’s perception of his father. People sympathized with an animal doing everything in its power to protect its child, since parental love is understood across species lines. Public interest in Isla Sorna was extremely high, and along with the positive impact this had in terms of dinosaur welfare law, it also brought negative impacts: illegal tourism and poaching occurred on the island in the ensuing years. Without a doubt, many of these trespassers were probably hoping to catch a glimpse of this famous male, to see how life had treated him after the incident. It is unknown if this tyrannosaur was ever actually available to the public while Jurassic World was operational.
The juvenile tyrannosaur, sometimes informally called “Junior,” is portrayed by a combination of a life-size animatronic and computer-generated imagery. He is loosely based on the multiple tyrannosaur juveniles in Michael Crichton‘s novel, with the number reduced to one presumably for budgetary reasons.