Dr. Laura Sorkin was an American paleogeneticist and animal rights activist known for her pioneering work into the field of de-extinction. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with the first degree in paleogenetics ever awarded, and spent the remainder of her life employed at International Genetic Technologies. She was heavily involved with the 1993 incident on Isla Nublar, though her role in the events (and her existence) has been largely covered up by InGen and later mostly forgotten.
She was one of the casualties of the 1993 incident, dying during the late night of June 12 due to an animal attack. Before this, she had held other survivors hostage in an attempt to prevent the napalm bombing of Isla Nublar by the U.S. Air Force.
The name Laura originates from the Latin term laurus, referring to the bay laurel plant. This plant species was commonly used during the Greco-Roman era to represent honor, renown, and success. The surname Sorkin comes from Russian Jewish; it is historically matronymic, meaning “son of Sarah.” Despite its translation, it can be used as a surname regardless of gender. This surname is one of only a few insights into Dr. Sorkin’s family history.
Laura Sorkin was born to a farming family in Arkansas, USA. Her exact date of birth is not known, but she was a young adult by the 1970s. Growing up, chickens were among her favorite animals, though she preferred them for companionship rather than food. On the farm, the young Sorkin not only proved herself useful in caring for the animals, but also due to her sensitivity to changes in atmospheric pressure: she could unerringly tell when a severe storm would strike their farm, giving her family enough time to prepare for dangers such as tornadoes.
Animal rights protests
Working closely with animals, Sorkin developed a sense of empathy toward other species and was acutely aware of their needs and emotional state. She loathed to see animals of any kind mistreated; unfortunately, her views were not universal. During her young adulthood, Sorkin attended many animal rights protests. Some of these protests were countered by police, and Sorkin herself was arrested several times during the 1970s. The charges she was arrested on, as well as the legitimacy of the charges, are presently undisclosed. She was a part of the hippie movement and traveled internationally, attending Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
Sorkin took up smoking cigarettes at some point, probably in her young adulthood. Her brand of choice was Happy Punch.
After this tumultuous period of her life, Sorkin chose to pursue a career in science to better understand the natural world. A degree in biological science would also make her more of an authority on the matter, as well as help her create a more informed political argument in favor of animal welfare.
While the exact dates she attended college are not known, Laura Sorkin had graduated with a doctorate degree by 1985, meaning she probably started her graduate studies in 1981 and, by extent, started her undergraduate studies in 1977. This would be not long after her involvement in the animal rights protests; it is unknown how her arrest record affected her acceptance into college. It was also much less common for women to pursue careers in science in those days, so Sorkin’s ambitions were a direct challenge to social norms.
Sorkin faced these obstacles and broke barriers. After her undergraduate studies, she was accepted into graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley, where she began studying the brand-new science of paleogenetics. As humanity broadened its intellectual horizons, so did Sorkin. Studying genetics was a promising way to gain a thorough understanding of animal biology, and by researching paleogenetics, Sorkin could come to comprehend how modern animals came to be the way they are. Obtaining deeper knowledge of the evolutionary history of animal life would allow Sorkin an unprecedented look into the needs of those animals. The first extraction of ancient DNA occurred at UC Berkeley in 1984, when Russ Higuchi and associates extracted and sequenced genetic material from 150-year-old quagga remains.
By 1985, she graduated from UC Berkeley with the world’s first-ever doctorate degree in paleogenetics, a particularly impressive accomplishment for a working-class woman with a background in farming. She appears to have been the only member of her immediate family to pursue a higher education.
In 1985, Dr. Sorkin was hired by a company called International Genetic Technologies, Inc., which had recently relocated to be based out of Palo Alto. Her groundbreaking degree in paleogenetics had caught the eye of the company’s CEO, the Scottish businessman Dr. John Hammond. After being hired, she learned about Hammond’s seemingly-impossible dream to perform de-extinction, bringing back species that had vanished from the face of the Earth.
Paleogenetics was one of the newest fields of science at the time, with extraction of DNA from long-dead sources having only been accomplished a year ago, but Hammond’s business partner Sir Benjamin Lockwood was able to provide InGen with the most cutting-edge scientific equipment in the world. Using a private lab in the sub-basement of their wealthy benefactor’s estate, Dr. Sorkin was able to prove that ancient DNA (later called aDNA) could be extracted from Mesozoic-aged amber inclusions. The ramifications of this discovery could not be understated: it would not be until next year that Sorkin’s peers in the scientific world would even discover that DNA from sources a few thousand years old could still be viable. Sorkin had proven that viable aDNA could be obtained from sources millions of years old, even hundreds of millions. While the mechanism that allowed the DNA to survive this length of time was unknown in the 1980s, scientists decades later would learn that iron structures played a key role in dramatically slowing the rate of decay.
Even though the DNA had survived, time had still taken its toll. Crosslinking, deamination, and fragmentation all damage DNA over time, and normally the molecule cannot be sequenced after 40,000 to 1.5 million years. Contamination with microbial DNA and other contaminants can further complicate the sequencing process. The samples obtained by Dr. Sorkin could not be used to clone viable living creatures; they were too incomplete. In order to clone animals from this aDNA, Dr. Sorkin would need a more complete genome. InGen began drawing in hundreds of amber samples from all over the world to give Dr. Sorkin a more complete genetic library, and hopefully enough aDNA to reconstruct the genome of her first Mesozoic species. This was a laborious process; the amber samples had to contain an inclusion that would yield animal aDNA, with hematophagous arthropods such as mosquitoes being useful sources. Of course, not all mosquitoes would have had blood in their stomachs at the time of death, and not all of those with blood still inside had drank from the same species of animal. Then, two aDNA samples might still not have all of the genes necessary to complete the strand. To actually reconstruct a genome, Dr. Sorkin cross-referenced massive numbers of samples, hoping that any two from the same geological formation might be compatible with one another.
Construction had already begun on a theme park in San Diego, which Hammond had christened Jurassic Park. With the successful extraction of Mesozoic aDNA by Dr. Sorkin, InGen greenlit Hammond’s plans to relocate Jurassic Park to the small Pacific island of Isla Nublar, which they leased from the Costa Rican government. The San Diego location was abandoned, and work on Isla Nublar began. The indigenous Tun-Si tribe was forcibly relocated to the mainland by InGen, though Dr. Sorkin was probably not involved with this. The pressure was on to yield viable results with Jurassic Park under construction. At this point, Dr. Sorkin’s research moved to an offshore location as well. To keep away from prying eyes, InGen had already leased the island of Isla Sorna and its surrounding archipelago from Costa Rica and built a laboratory facility there; the Lockwood laboratory had served its purpose but was not sufficient for actually cloning Mesozoic life in secrecy and security. InGen was not yet ready for its research to go public, and the threat of corporate espionage from rivals like BioSyn Genetics was alarmingly real.
At some point during her adult life, Dr. Sorkin began taking lysine supplements.
Dr. Sorkin would be joined in the spring of 1986 by a new face. Genetics graduate Dr. Henry Wu, fresh out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was hired by InGen to further their research. For the first time in her life, Dr. Sorkin had real competition. She pressed on with her methods, continuing to cross-reference and build more complete genomes. However, Dr. Wu had methods of his own: rather than seek out aDNA from the exact same species, he would use the concept of “junk” DNA to complete the genomes. Instead of conspecific DNA, all Dr. Wu needed to do was locate genes that the extinct species shared in common with modern species. All life on Earth has a common origin, and even quite distantly related species have many of the same genes. He selected various species of amphibians for this purpose. This method allowed Dr. Wu to reconstruct genomes that more or less approximated the originals, a process which was faster and less expensive than Sorkin’s.
Dr. Wu quickly became a star at InGen, much to Dr. Sorkin’s chagrin. Nonetheless, 1986 saw their first successful de-extinction: the late Cretaceous ceratopsian Triceratops horridus, which was hatched in the lab on Isla Sorna. The Triceratops was followed not long after by the sauropod Brachiosaurus, resurrected from the late Jurassic period and thus even older than Triceratops. Jurassic Park was well on its way to success.
Controversy in Jurassic Park
As more dinosaurs were successfully cloned, some staff such as InGen’s park ranger Robert Muldoon became increasingly concerned about animal security. If an escape were to occur, it could be disastrous for InGen: an escaped animal could potentially injure or kill a person, bringing negative press to the company. An escapee might also be caught by one of InGen’s many rivals, ending their monopoly on de-extinction technology. To address this concern, Dr. Wu began engineering the dinosaurs to become dependent on lysine supplements provided by InGen. Without weekly lysine supplements in their diet, the animals would become comatose and quickly die, meaning escapees would not live for long. This disgusted Dr. Sorkin, who believed the lysine contingency to be cruel and unnecessary. Furthermore, Dr. Wu had found a means to implement population control in Jurassic Park; while male and female animals has been cloned on Site B, the Park would use female animals only, and Dr. Wu would achieve this by preventing the development of male embryos. She understood the necessity of this, but still came to realize that InGen cared more about profit than animal welfare. InGen made no effort to hide this, quickly promoting Dr. Wu to the position of Chief Geneticist; he now outranked Dr. Sorkin in the company hierarchy.
InGen made acceptance of the lysine contingency a mandatory condition for employment at the Park, despite Dr. Sorkin’s opposition to it. She was allowed to stay on, having been employed before the policy change was implemented. By 1988, construction on Isla Nublar was underway, and the animals were being prepared for the Park.
Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dr. Sorkin proposed to InGen that Jurassic Park be re-imagined as a sanctuary for de-extinct life rather than a theme park. Her proposition was turned down, since it would not be profitable. Hammond and the Board of Directors grew weary of Sorkin’s insistence, considering her a burden to the Park’s progress. Despite this, Hammond understood that she was an invaluable resource, and so opted not to fire her. Instead she was given a small field lab in the far north of Isla Nublar, isolated from the Park, where she could continue her own work as she saw fit. This benefited everyone: it appeased Dr. Sorkin’s independent streak, and kept her out of sight and out of mind for the rest of InGen. She could keep up her research, though she would have to make do with minimal funding for her independent projects. Meanwhile, InGen could still benefit from any useful products she created, or information she learned about the animals in the course of her research. She began recording some of her findings in field journals along with her personal thoughts. While InGen used some of her notes, many of them remained private and were not meant to be read by others.
During this time Dr. Sorkin’s main objective continued to be the welfare of the dinosaurs. Her goals were to (first) end the lysine contingency and (second) continue to construct genetically pure genomes. In the course of accomplishing this second goal, she began noting any phenotypic anomalies in Dr. Wu’s creations, such as the aberrant teeth of the Pteranodons.
Dr. Sorkin became particularly enamored with the hadrosaur Parasaurolophus, a crested and colorful herbivore with social behaviors that fascinated her. She and her research assistant David Banks constructed a research paddock within walking distance of the laboratory where they could observe these dinosaurs. Four animals were used in this study over a period of several months in late 1992 or early 1993; Dr. Sorkin and Banks recorded the parasaurs’ calls and watched their social interactions. This helped them gather a better understanding of how the dinosaurs lived. She and Banks discovered that the parasaur’s cranial crest functioned as a sound amplifier, making it useful in communication. This confirmed one of the paleontological theories about lambeosaurine head crests.
Some of her discoveries were ahead of their time, as could be expected for a scientist working with such exclusive resources. She observed an older Triceratops exhibiting unexpected morphological changes as it aged, with the end result essentially resembling Torosaurus. With this knowledge, Dr. Sorkin suggested that Torosaurus was actually a growth stage of Triceratops, rather than a different genus altogether. This would later be suggested by paleontologists working independently of InGen, though no other InGen Triceratops have been seen undergoing the transformation. She also noted that the Triceratops were highly fond of banana plant stems (though not the leaves), an observation that InGen could benefit from.
The first Tyrannosaurus, the oldest of her kind bred by InGen, was delivered to Isla Nublar in 1989 and introduced to her paddock. Naturally, this was one of the species researched by Dr. Sorkin; no biologist could pass up the chance to study such a magnificent animal. In this case she reasoned that its inability to distinguish stationary objects from a stationary background was due to the inclusion of amphibian DNA, rather than a natural feature like some paleontologists such as Dr. Alan Grant believed. In fact, Dr. Sorkin came to suggest that many of the phenotypic errors in InGen’s animals were due to this genetic contamination. Particularly obvious alterations were noticeable in some of the theropods bred in the early 1990s, such as the Dilophosaurus and Velociraptor. None of the dilophosaurs grew to their adult size in the time frame Dr. Sorkin expected, and she suspected that their soft-tissue display features and venom glands might not be natural either. She noted possible skeletal mutations as well. The raptors were an even more drastic change: while they were definitively Velociraptors, they were sized similarly to Deinonychus or even the recently discovered Utahraptor, making them two or more times larger than they should be. She brought this up to Dr. Wu, who ignored her concerns; he still believed that he was only replacing segments of non-coding vestigial DNA in his dinosaurian genomes.
Although she mainly studied the parasaurs, Dr. Sorkin considered Compsognathus to be among her favorites, since its tiny birdlike form reminded her of the chickens on her family’s farm. At the time, Jurassic Park was not ready to receive compies for housing yet; later investigations would find that these dinosaurs had established on the island without Hammond’s knowledge, though some staff members such as chief veterinarian Dr. Gerry Harding seemed to be aware of their presence. It is possible that Dr. Sorkin accidentally (or intentionally) introduced compies to Isla Nublar. While studying them, Dr. Sorkin hypothesized that compsognathids may have possessed feathers in prehistory, an idea that would be validated by paleontological science later.
Dr. Sorkin and Banks continued to make progress with their own research. They not only learned much about the parasaurs’ vocalizations, they also discovered that the animals used body coloration to form social cliques, with similarly-colored animals herding together. She and Banks identified three main social vocalizations: the feeding, mating, and warning calls. The next step of their research was to set up a speaker system and observe how the parasaurs responded to hearing their own calls played back to them. She also continued to work on the genetics of the Park’s dinosaurs, even finishing DNA sequences that Dr. Wu had neglected to complete. One of her batches of “mystery eggs,” so called because the species could not be identified before hatching, turned out to be a carnivorous theropod called Troodon pectinodon. Hammond personally came to see this new species, but upon seeing its rather ugly appearance, he questioned whether it could be viable in the Park. This new species was not added to InGen’s list, pending a more complete evaluation; they were designated Species (IG74726f6f646f6e) instead.
Financial troubles struck InGen during the 1990s. One of their founders, Benjamin Lockwood, parted ways with John Hammond; the two men had disagreements regarding the morality of human cloning that they could not reconcile. Without Lockwood’s fortune, InGen began to suffer, and had to tighten its purse. Naturally, Dr. Sorkin’s budget was among the first to be slashed.
Although her research was helpful to InGen, her problems with authority resulted in her being neglected more and more often. Her supply helicopters were late, and often Banks was her only assistance (she and Banks built the parasaur enclosure by themselves, without any help from InGen). The maintenance tunnel network was not extended to her lab, forcing her to make longer overland journeys to get resources. She was increasingly left out of the loop regarding new developments with the Park, and she took it upon herself to study the Park’s security systems. She learned how to hack the computers, possibly with the help of other employees such as the chief programmer Dennis Nedry or maintenance team leader Artie Bridges. She did not get any such aid from Hammond or from the chief engineer Ray Arnold, both of whom kept the emergency protocols for the geothermal plant closely guarded. Like the computer systems, she attempted to teach herself how to operate the power plant’s mechanisms in the event of an emergency.
Dr. Sorkin also circumvented the Park’s systems for her own entertainment. She hosted a “radio show” of sorts, hacking into the Park intercom and playing some of her favorite songs from her record collection. Other employees tolerated this because they also enjoyed it; Artie Bridges begged her to show him how to do it, saying it was his dream to be in radio. Sorkin humored him, teaching Bridges how to hack the intercom; she later somewhat regretted this since Bridges was actually terrible at singing. Later in her career, around the summer of 1993, she became too busy with her parasaur research to continue the radio show and put it on hold.
By 1993, Dr. Sorkin learned about one of the reasons her budget had been cut: Hammond had sanctioned the construction of a new exhibit, the Marine Facility and Aquarium, located within a secluded lagoon near the desalination plant in the northeast. At first, Dr. Sorkin was upset about her budget being slashed for the sake of another new attraction, but later she learned that InGen had somehow actually obtained the DNA of an extinct marine lizard, a mosasaur. The reptile had already outgrown its breeding tank and was living in the lagoon where it could be observed from the underwater rotunda of the Marine Facility.
Fortune was not on Dr. Sorkin’s side with her Troodons. These carnivores were highly intelligent and nocturnal, as fossil evidence had suggested. She had observed venom glands, though the venom was quite different from that of Dilophosaurus. Like Dr. Wu she had bred only females, but they all had ovipositors, specialized reproductive organs for precisely placing eggs; this was another unexpected feature, and Dr. Sorkin had only seen such a structure in certain insects such as wasps before. She was unable to observe the dinosaurs laying eggs, so its purpose remained unclear. The effects of the venom were an obvious concern, and she discovered that the animals bit their prey and then stalked, waiting for the victim to succumb. Troodon venom caused disorientation, hallucinations, discolored sclerae, opsoclonus, and eventually seizures, paralysis, and brain death. Why the venom did not simply kill the prey outright was another mystery; nonetheless, Dr. Sorkin discovered that the effects of the venom could be counteracted and prevented using extremely high doses of opioids. For an adult human, the necessary dose of carfentanyl would be a quarter-milliliter, though smaller individuals would require less. These doses would normally be fatal. After a few unspecified incidents, Hammond declared that the Troodon were too dangerous for Park use, and implored Dr. Sorkin to euthanize the entire species. Sorkin privately refused, relocating the animals to the northern quarantine pens near the North Dock without Hammond’s knowledge.
Hammond’s decision to euthanize all the Troodons may have been influenced by safety concerns regarding the Velociraptors, which Muldoon believed should be euthanized. A violent conflict between eight of the Park’s raptors left all but three dead, and Hammond imported a new group from Site B to replace those that had been killed, to Sorkin’s outrage. Fortunately for Dr. Sorkin, the new raptors were placed in the southern quarantine pens, meaning her unauthorized use of the northern pens went undiscovered. The remaining raptors began attacking the electric fences at feeding time, striking different sections each time; Muldoon believed they were probing the fences for weak points in an attempt to escape. Hammond seemingly changed his mind about the raptor paddock altogether, deciding to use it to house the less intelligent and thus supposedly safer Herrerasaurus instead. This decision was questioned by Dr. Sorkin, since the Herrerasaurus were still dangerous predators, but it is unknown whether she bothered to voice these concerns with InGen at this point.
The problematic raptors were removed from their paddock and relocated to a holding pen near the visitor compound in early June. While the animals were being introduced to their new temporary home, disaster struck: they attacked and mauled a worker named Jophery Brown, and despite Muldoon’s best efforts, Brown was killed. Brown’s family threatened to sue InGen for wrongful death, with their demands reaching US $20,000,000. This brought Jurassic Park to a grinding halt; construction neared a complete stop, and the Board of Directors came to evaluate the project. They concurred with Hammond that the Troodons all be euthanized, and that any evidence of their existence be scrubbed from the record as well. In private she still refused, despite having found evidence that the Troodons were somehow sneaking in and out of the quarantine pen. Sorkin was deemed more of a burden than an asset, but was still to valuable to fire, so the Board recommended that she be reassigned to population research and development on Site B. Finally, the Board insisted that a group of outside experts be brought to Isla Nublar to observe the Park and, if they deemed it safe, give their endorsement. Without this endorsement, the project would never go forward.
But Dr. Sorkin had nearly completed one of her main goals: a cure for the lysine contingency. A functional gene would be inserted into the dinosaurs’ genomes in order to replace the faulty version installed by Dr. Wu, administered via waterborne adenovirus. She had tested this successfully on some of her dinosaurs, knew it could have no effect on the Pteranodons. If she adapted it for non-dinosaurian reptiles, it might affect a wider part of the ecosystem. Still, it was enough that she would be able to cure all of the dinosaurs once the cure was put in the Park’s main water supply; a water tower had just been installed in her research paddock, and it was connected to the rest of the island’s water piping. She just had to finalize her cure and distribute it without InGen noticing, and get it done before she was taken away from Isla Nublar.
An opportunity arose. The endorsement tour arrived to the island on June 11, just a few hours before much of the staff would take shore leave for the weekend. Sorkin’s acute senses detected a storm coming, just as she had been able to do when she was a child. She predicted that Arnold would call an evacuation, leaving Isla Nublar with a skeleton crew (if any staff remained at all). Sorkin considered staying behind, since the parasaurs needed to be cared for. This would also be the perfect chance to administer her cure; when Hammond and InGen returned, she would have a living example of how Isla Nublar could function as a de-extinct animal sanctuary with minimal human interference. She did not expect that InGen would approve her proposition even then. Instead, she wanted to prove that neither she nor the animals would submit to Hammond’s authority.
True to her predictions, the National Weather Service alerted Isla Nublar’s control room to a tropical storm approaching from the southwest. Staff hoped the storm would move south, following the last storm’s path, but it stayed its course and reached the island as Sorkin had predicted. Ray Arnold and the captain of InGen vessel C-3208 agreed that an early departure would be pertinent.
1993 incident and death
The tropical storm struck shortly before 7:00pm local time, and the majority of the staff left on the last boat off the island. Staying behind were the endorsement tour members, Hammond himself, Robert Muldoon, Ray Arnold, and Dennis Nedry.
Things did not go according to Dr. Sorkin’s plans from the start. The storm washed out the only access road between Dr. Sorkin’s laboratory and the rest of the island, stranding her and Banks in the remote north of Isla Nublar. To make matters worse, the power to the majority of the Park failed during the storm. She and Banks were unable to leave the lab or contact the rest of the island; it is unclear whether Banks intended to remain behind, but Dr. Sorkin’s comments about missing the boat suggest that at least one of them was planning on leaving for the weekend.
It was not until the late morning of the next day that power was restored, allowing Dr. Sorkin to hack into the computer network and access the security camera feeds. She discovered that nearly everyone else was in the process of evacuating, with the power failure having let the dinosaurs roam freely. On the camera feeds of the northern Triceratops paddock Dr. Sorkin spotted the Park’s chief veterinarian Dr. Gerry Harding along with his daughter, reasoning that they had also missed the boat during the storm. She found that the lab’s phone lines were down, as were those at the East Dock, but the Marine Facility phones and the trunk line at the Visitors’ Centre were still operational. To help her coworker and his daughter reach the Visitors’ Centre safely, Dr. Sorkin searched the system for an operational electric Ford Explorer, since they were directly on the main tour loop. She activated a still-operational Explorer and sent it to their location, bringing them directly to the Visitors’ Centre.
Once they arrived, Sorkin attempted to reach them on the emergency PA channel, which they were able to receive via an abandoned handheld radio. Sorkin told Harding about the security failures and the evacuation, noting somewhat sarcastically that they had probably been left behind by accident. She was informed by Dr. Harding that they had rescued an unidentified woman who had been bitten by something venomous. Based on Dr. Harding’s description of the wound and the woman’s symptoms, Dr. Sorkin immediately realized it was a Troodon bite. She quickly instructed the Hardings on how to treat their patient, though she did not explain to them just why she knew this procedure with such confidence. Unfortunately she briefly lost contact with them due to poor radio reception, but regained contact a few minutes later. She was instructed by Dr. Harding to get the Explorer moving again, noting a sense of urgency in his voice; she started the tour program. Once this was done, the Hardings were able to contact the mainland from the Centre; apparently they had been under assault by the escaped tyrannosaur and moving the vehicle had been a distraction to draw it away. A rescue team was alerted to the survivors, but Dr. Sorkin again lost contact with the Hardings and their patient.
While waiting for the rescue teams to arrive, Dr. Sorkin found Banks to be missing. She discovered his body near the quarantine pen, having apparently been killed by the Troodons. Banks had sometimes strayed too close to the pen despite Dr. Sorkin’s cautions, and she mourned the death of her assistant and one of her precious few close friends on Isla Nublar.
That evening, the rescue helicopter arrived to her lab, where she was glad to see the Hardings alive and well, along with their patient (who she later learned was named Nima Cruz). The rescue team included two mercenaries, Billy Yoder and Oscar Morales; a third, Daniel Cafaro, had gone missing and was presumed dead. The mercenaries intended to rescue Dr. Sorkin, but she adamantly refused, even threatening to sue if she were taken by force. Instead, she insisted that the mercenaries help her move boxes of InGen paperwork from her lab’s loading dock, as they were taking up valuable space; Morales wanted to refuse, but Yoder compromised and agreed to help.
While the mercenaries worked, Dr. Sorkin lamented to Dr. Harding about how Hammond had ignored the cautions given by his scientists and instead listened mainly to his marketing employees and shareholders. Yoder returned from the loading dock, making an appeal to Dr. Sorkin’s animal rights sensibilities by arguing that she was best-suited to speak to the Board of Directors about the dinosaurs’ welfare and that Hammond’s failure might lead to his removal as CEO. After a few attempts, Yoder managed to convince Dr. Sorkin to leave the island and act as a witness, which could result in Hammond being fired and new leadership potentially listening to her plans to make the island a de-extinct animal preserve. Before leaving, she brought the Hardings to her lab, where she made a few final adjustments to the lysine contingency cure and confirmed it was functional.
Dr. Harding was shocked that Dr. Sorkin had created such a medication, but agreed that it would be necessary to use on her parasaurs if they were to survive until she returned. She brought the Hardings to her research paddock, where Dr. Harding took a look at the parasaur lookout’s broken left toe. With Jess’s help, she used the speaker system to instruct the parasaurs to move out of the paddock, making it safe to enter and put the cure into the water supply. Jess aided Dr. Sorkin, not knowing that the parasaur paddock’s water supply was connected to that of the main Park.
While Dr. Harding was working outside with the lookout parasaur, the dinosaur suddenly became anxious and emitted a warning call. From a vantage point atop the paddock water tower Sorkin and Jess could see the threat: a pride of Velociraptors, probably escaped from the southern quarantine pen, had made their way to this isolated area on the hunt. One ambushed the lookout, killing the creature with a bite to the spinal cord in the neck. The other parasaurs scattered, while the raptors confronted the humans in order to take full control of this new hunting ground.
Dr. Sorkin and Jess implored Dr. Harding to climb the water tower with them, and he narrowly avoided the raptors’ jaws to do so. They were temporarily safe, but as the helicopter approached, it became clear something was wrong. The aircraft was spinning out of control, barrelling toward the water tower. Everyone ducked as the helicopter skimmed the top of the tower, damaging it and crashing in the forest some distance away. With the tower weakened, the raptors began ramming it, trying to cause it to fall.
The tower was tilting in such a way that the emergency ladder, if deployed, would put them outside of the paddock. While the fence was only a minor obstacle, it might give them enough of a head start to reach the utility tunnel entrance nearby and lock the raptors out. The ladder would not deploy, even with Dr. Harding’s full weight on it, due to damage sustained in the crash; in order to force it free Dr. Harding retrieved the broken tower antenna to use as a pry bar. Sorkin helped him by changing the aircraft avoidance beacon lights from night to day mode, so that they would flash on and off; this allowed Dr. Harding to grab the antenna piece while the lights were briefly turned off, ensuring he would not be electrocuted. Using the makeshift pry bar, the ladder was freed up and they made their escape.
Shutting the door to the utility tunnel saved their lives, buying them time to venture eastward to escape the raptors. Since Dr. Sorkin had noted the Marine Facility’s phone lines were still open, they chose to head that direction to call for help. The maintenance tunnels did not connect to the visitor compound yet, so it was really their only choice. Along the way she noticed that her pack of cigarettes was missing, but dismissed its disappearance as she was probably better off taking fewer smoke breaks.
She became exhausted after a while, and they stopped to rest near the power plant. She took one of her usual lysine supplements; this led to a conversation between her and Dr. Harding in which she willingly admitted to curing the entire island’s dinosaur population. While Dr. Harding was incensed by this, Dr. Sorkin insisted that the lysine contingency had always been inhumane, and that Dr. Harding’s fears of dinosaurs destroying the global ecosystem were unrealistic. This was a largely non-breeding population of animals, isolated more than a hundred miles away from the nearest mainland, and their relatively small population size would mean the world’s ecology would adapt to accommodate them easily enough. No clear agreement between the two scientists could be reached, and Dr. Harding planned to tell InGen about Dr. Sorkin’s actions. They were rejoined by Jess, who had wandered off during the argument, and continued toward the Marine Facility.
A power fluctuation occurred while they continued along the way, which Dr. Sorkin thought was strange as the backup generator should have been able to run for days. When the power flicked back on, Artie Bridges’s final queued recording played over the intercom. Sorkin manually deactivated the speaker system to stop the song. She got into another argument with Dr. Harding regarding the lysine contingency, which was this time interrupted by Jess appearing out of a door connecting to the adjoining maintenance corridors: she had been attacked by a raptor after sneaking off to smoke, having pickpocketed Dr. Sorkin’s cigarettes earlier. Three raptors entered the utility tunnel, combated by the Hardings. This was a losing battle until Oscar Morales, who had survived the helicopter crash with the others, joined them. He slashed the lead raptor with a hunting knife, and the wounded animal led its subordinates in a westward retreat. Sorkin was astonished to see the raptors flee, having never witnessed their fear response before.
Minutes later, the pipes began venting copious amounts of steam. This alerted Dr. Sorkin to the nature of the power problem: the geothermal plant’s safety systems had failed like everything else, allowing steam pressure to build unchecked. She announced this problem to the group, explaining that the system failure would lead to a colossal pressure-driven explosion. In order to avoid certain death, they would need to reset the geothermal plant from inside, meaning they would need to venture into the heart of the island: Mount Sibo‘s lava tunnels. She guided Morales to the entrance so he could scout ahead, ensuring it was safe for the others to enter.
The door ahead was locked, preventing access. Sorkin also noted abandoned (and opened) dinosaur transport cages nearby, which she realized meant her Troodons might be in the area, but she did not voice this to the others. She interrupted the Hardings’ argument about Jess stealing cigarettes to propose that Jess could reach the inside of the power plant by crawling through the ventilation shaft, since she was the only one small enough to fit. Her father was against this, but Jess took the initiative to do it anyway, unlocking the door and getting them inside.
Once in the power plant, Dr. Sorkin analyzed the situation and determined what needed to be done. To release the steam pressure and prevent further buildup, she directed the others to the power console and master release valve. She opened the circuit, but the pressure release valve would not turn; she reasoned that a motorized assist must have been installed. They located this and disconnected the burned-out motor in order to manually turn the valve. Sorkin closed the circuit, turning the power back on. Unfortunately, this triggered the emergency blast doors, and the controls to the doors blew out due to a power surge. Just before the doors completed shutting, the three raptors from the tunnels entered the power plant and cornered everyone on the upper level.
Trapped by the blast doors, the only way to open them was to use the undamaged console on the lower level, where the raptors were. Morales clambered down while the others distracted the dinosaurs, and he succeeded in getting the doors open. This effort cost him his life: the raptor he had wounded before got its revenge, killing him while the others escaped.
They sheltered from the raptors in a maintenance closet, but the animals appeared to catch wind of something they didn’t like. Sorkin observed the raptors’ retreat, recognizing their fear behavior from when Morales had driven them away before. Something about the maintenance closet made them wary and unwilling to stay around. Their survival was marred by Morales’s death, which Yoder took particularly hard. He blamed Sorkin for creating the dinosaurs that had killed his friend. While he mourned, Dr. Sorkin had the others search the room, keeping an eye out for whatever had driven the raptors away. Jess made a frightful discovery: the body of Daniel Cafaro, the final mercenary who had gone missing earlier in the day. He was covered in a structure of dirt and leaves that Dr. Sorkin likened to a ratite nest, and to their horror, the man was not dead but in a coma. His symptoms were clearly the result of a Troodon attack, but Dr. Sorkin had never witnessed this kind of nesting behavior. A closer inspection revealed an even more disturbing discovery in the form of dinosaur eggs in the man’s abdominal cavity. The nest was not built on top of him; he was the nest, incubating the eggs with his body heat and acting as a fresh food source for the hatchlings. Sorkin finally understood the purpose of the Troodon‘s ovipositor and the venom’s final symptom. She was equally horrified and fascinated by this reproductive strategy, a behavior never before observed in any other vertebrate. This inadvertently revealed to the others that she knew about the venomous dinosaurs, and knew that they had escaped all along.
Yoder shared no part of her fascination. On the contrary, this discovery finally broke him, and he threatened to kill Sorkin. He could only be talked down from it by Sorkin admitting that the deaths of Morales and Cafaro were her fault. Shaken by this threat of violence, Dr. Sorkin was of minimal help to the others searching the room for a way out. She did discuss the eggs with the Hardings, initially believing that they were unfertilized like chickens’ market eggs; however, Dr. Harding pointed out that the eggs were arranged in a clutch for brooding, which the Park’s dinosaurs never did with postovulatory eggs. Normally, the unfertilized eggs were malformed, kicked into the brush or trampled; he had never observed brooding behavior before. This suggested the alarming possibility that the dinosaurs could breed.
Jess located a grated tunnel that was large enough for everyone, and Dr. Sorkin noted it would lead them eastward toward the Marine Facility. However, it was locked. While they planned their next move, Yoder quieted Sorkin, but not for the reasons she assumed: something was on the other side of the closet’s door. Their noises and movements told Dr. Sorkin immediately that they were now facing the escaped Troodon.
Yoder and Cruz fended off the dinosaurs while Dr. Harding broke the lock on the small tunnel using a spent air tank, and they retreated from the nesting site. Using her knowledge of the northern island’s layout, Dr. Sorkin took charge of leading the group through the utility tunnels toward the desalination plant and the Marine Facility until they reached a small construction outpost. From here, they were able to use tunnel blueprints to determine precisely where they were and more accurately make their way toward their destination.
They were abruptly attacked by Troodons, with Yoder’s keen hearing giving them just a few seconds’ advantage. Sorkin protected Jess from one of the dinosaurs as they were scattered briefly by a bright flare, which startled the nocturnal creatures. Unfortunately the attack forced Dr. Harding and Cruz down a different corridor than Dr. Sorkin, Jess, and Yoder, separating them. Sorkin and her group fled toward the desalination plant, going almost straight toward it with few detours; they managed to evade the Troodons using light to their advantage and entered the back area of the Marine Facility. Here they found the fish hatchery, which Dr. Sorkin presumed was for raising a food stock for a larger animal. She knew about the mosasaur, but did not reveal it yet; despite her feigned ignorance, Yoder was already suspicious that she was holding back what she knew again.
Inside the visitor area of the facility they found that Dr. Harding and Cruz had reached the building as well, via one of the tour vehicles. It had continued running, in a damaged state, after Dr. Harding had told Sorkin to reactivate the tour program at the Visitors’ Centre. Now reunited, they attempted to call the mainland, but found that the backup batteries had run out and the phones were dead; the computer needed to be booted up in order to make a call. Yoder urged that they hurry, and in a brief confrontation with Dr. Sorkin revealed why he was in such a rush: the United States Air Force had been instructed by InGen to firebomb Isla Nublar with napalm on June 13, which was now mere hours away. Nothing on the island would survive.
Horrified by this revelation, Dr. Sorkin left while the others were arguing with Yoder and accessed the Marine Facility’s rotunda via pressurized elevator, locking the others out. She reached the main computer terminal and got the phone line in the control room working, calling InGen’s Mr. Parker in an effort to be connected to Hammond. When this was refused, she tried requesting Mr. Maquire or Peter Ludlow, but again was refused. Parker believed at first that Sorkin simply needed the bombing waylaid in order for her rescue to take place, but she insisted that the bombing be stopped entirely. Parker relayed to her that InGen had reported the island as the site of a high-risk disease outbreak, with all onsite animals having been contaminated; this was the reason that the island was set to be firebombed. Sorkin insisted that the animals were not diseased.
By this time she could see that the others had accessed the rotunda, and were just on the outside of the control room’s geodesic dome; they were still locked out of the control room, but Dr. Harding spoke to her over the intercom. She believed that he would take her side and help stop the bombing of Isla Nublar. However, the approach she used was to take Dr. Harding and the other survivors hostage, sealing the elevator doors and thus eliminating the only link to the surface other than the lagoon itself. She informed Parker that she had taken hostages and would only release them if the bombing was called off for good. This angered Dr. Harding, who saw Dr. Sorkin’s dedication to the dinosaurs as neglect of the wider ecosystem and individual human lives. When Sorkin threatened to escalate the situation, Parker put the United States military on the phone; she was reminded that the island had the potential to contaminate the global ecosystem. As she had threatened and against Dr. Harding’s pleas, Sorkin escalated matters: she activated controls for the lagoon’s access gate leading to the open ocean. The mosasaur was now free to leave if it chose.
She locked the system down when she realized the others were breaking into the control room; Yoder took the door down with a fire axe. The mosasaur was now circling the rotunda, watching the people inside with predatory curiosity; it did not yet realize it could leave its home. Harding begged Sorkin to close the gate, but she assured him her action was irreversible. As she and Dr. Harding argued, the mosasaur unexpectedly rammed the rotunda, shaking the entire structure violently. The force of the impact knocked Dr. Sorkin over the guardrail, and she fell the full height of the control room into the moon pool below. She swam to the side of the pool, but in her disorientation she reached the side opposite the ladder. Unable to climb out in time, she was grabbed by the legs and flung backward. The back of her head struck the ladder at high speed, probably knocking her unconscious, and she was dragged under the water and swallowed whole. She most likely died via crushing or suffocation in the mosasaur’s mouth or throat.
Despite her death, the bombing of Isla Nublar was in fact stopped for unknown reasons. This was presumably facilitated by the Hardings, who escaped the island. Reports differ as to whether Cruz survived; she has not been heard from since. Yoder, emotionally destroyed due to the deaths of his brothers-at-arms, betrayed the others and had left them to die, but he himself did not make it off the island alive. The dinosaurs were cured of the lysine contingency thanks to Dr. Sorkin’s efforts, though they could have survived anyway due to the dietary sources of lysine available in the wild. As Sorkin had wanted, the animals developed a kind of natural ecology on Isla Nublar, mostly free of human interference for a few years.
Sorkin’s dream of a de-extinct animal preserve did not die with her. She had been the sole advocate for the dinosaurs before 1993, a pioneer in the world of de-extinct animal rights, but this cause would next be championed by Hammond himself. During the incident, Hammond nearly lost his grandchildren, who were a part of the tour group and came under dire threat. Recognizing that his reckless capitalist ambitions had nearly cost him the lives of his own family members, Hammond halted all progress on Jurassic Park despite protest from the rest of InGen. Over the next four years he kept Isla Nublar mostly untouched and ended production on Isla Sorna; in 1995 Hurricane Clarissa forced a full and permanent evacuation of Site B. The de-extinct animal rights movement gained momentum thanks to Hammond, eventually taking off with legislature such as the Gene Guard Act of 1997. Ten years later, the movement would get more traction through non-governmental organizations such as the Dinosaur Protection Group. Another of InGen’s founders, Sir Benjamin Lockwood, also carried on the goal of a dinosaur wildlife preserve, putting a vast amount of his fortune toward dinosaur welfare in 2018.
The battle for de-extinct animal rights is still a politically contentious one, and its modern-day participants are largely unaware of Dr. Sorkin basically originating the movement. Hammond and Lockwood did not credit her for any part of their respective changes of heart, and Dr. Wu certainly never brought her up, choosing to take all the credit for de-extinction for himself. InGen overall swept Laura Sorkin’s existence under the rug, erasing her from the record. Her dream, however, lives on. Sorkin herself never wanted fame and fortune, and was only concerned with the well-being of the animals she had created. That dream is carried into the future by activists cut from the same cloth as the hippie protester of the 1970s who left her family farm in Arkansas to pioneer new fields of biology.
Dr. Sorkin’s remains were, of course, unable to be retrieved from Isla Nublar as she was swallowed whole and digested. The mosasaur was successfully contained by the Hardings and Cruz, so it lived out the rest of its days in the Isla Nublar lagoon. Any indigestible remains of Dr. Sorkin would have ended up on the lagoon floor. It is unknown what InGen told the Sorkin family about their daughter’s death; they were not listed among the families that sued InGen between 1993 and 1997.
Dr. Sorkin was unarguably one of the most skilled and knowledgeable geneticists in the world during her adult life. Despite numerous obstacles to education in her life (including but not limited to her gender, political arrest record, and economic background), she attended the University of California at Berkeley during the genesis of paleogenetics as a scientific field; she was probably in grad school in 1984 when the first-ever extraction and sequencing of DNA from a long-dead animal was performed. It is highly likely that she knew the scientists involved with the program, and even possible that she participated herself. She graduated from university with the first-ever doctorate degree in paleogenetics, a degree that remains rare even today.
She was hired in 1985 by International Genetic Technologies, founded by Scottish entrepreneur John Hammond and British philanthropist Benjamin Lockwood. The goal of InGen at the time was to perform de-extinction, or the resurrecting of extinct organisms through science. While the concept of de-extinction is largely focused on recently-extinct species, InGen had far loftier goals: to bring back animals and plants that were millions, rather than thousands, of years gone. Sorkin succeeded in proving within a year of being hired that ancient DNA could be extracted and sequenced from Mesozoic-aged amber inclusions. At InGen, Dr. Sorkin had access to technologies far beyond what her colleagues at UC Berkeley could dream of; this kind of cutting-edge opportunity gave her experience above any other geneticist of the time.
Although she was a fantastically skilled scientist, Dr. Sorkin maintained a firm belief that InGen should strive for genetic purity in their creations. The half-life of a DNA molecule, as well as various environmental factors that could affect its integrity, means that under normal circumstances it would not survive more than a few tens of thousands of years and remain viable. That Dr. Sorkin had sequenced DNA far older than that was nothing short of a scientific miracle, but it was still highly decayed. To create a full viable genome, Dr. Sorkin needed dozens of amber samples, all with gravid mosquitoes and other blood sources inside. These inclusions would all need to yield DNA from the same species, and the obtainable fragments would need to be complementary (that is, different parts of the genome and not duplicates). This process was laborious, even though Dr. Sorkin was quite diligent about it. It was also expensive. In 1986, only a year after hiring Sorkin, InGen hired Dr. Henry Wu to get a fresh perspective on the problem.
Dr. Wu’s methods were criticized as quick and dirty by Dr. Sorkin, suggesting that she was fully capable of doing what Dr. Wu was doing but simply refused to on principle. Between 1986 and 1993, Dr. Sorkin worked in the field to catalogue unexpected phenotypes in the animals produced by Dr. Wu’s work and discern which genetic hybridizations had caused them. To do this would require Dr. Sorkin to study the genome in detail, associating each altered characteristic with a specific modified gene or group of interacting genes. In order to amend Dr. Wu’s mistakes, Dr. Sorkin had to develop an understanding of genetics that was decades ahead of its time.
Perhaps the most impressive example of Dr. Sorkin’s work was her cure for the lysine contingency, which would involve replacing an intentionally faulty gene with a functional copy of the same gene. This is an example of gene therapy, which like many other aspects of Dr. Sorkin’s work at InGen was decades away from being commonplace in the wider scientific world. The vector Dr. Sorkin used for her solution was an adenovirus, most likely from the genus Aviadenovirus (the genus of adenoviruses that affects birds). Adenoviruses can affect cells regardless of whether the cells are replicating, and can lead to protein production without actually integrating into the DNA of the host, making them a useful vector for gene therapy. In addition, an adenovirus can carry a large transgene, which Dr. Sorkin likely needed. Since the InGen lysine deficiency was caused by a single faulty enzyme, it was probably caused by a single gene and so would be comparable to a monogenic disease, making molecularly-targeted gene therapy using an adenovirus vector the most realistic solution.
Once she had engineered a functional version of Dr. Wu’s faulty gene, Dr. Sorkin would have injected this into an adenovirus vector, replacing the virus’s own genetic material with therapeutic recombinant DNA. These modified viruses would be kept in an aqueous solution at temperatures meant to keep them from deteriorating until they were ready to be introduced to the Park’s water system. Once inside a dinosaurian host, the adenovirus would behave as it would if unmodified: reaching a host cell, it would break down and release its genetic payload. The host cell would then begin producing proteins using the instructions encoded in the introduced gene. Instead of producing viruses, the host cell would self-medicate. This process would occur in all the dinosaur’s affected cells, reversing the deficiency and ending the lysine contingency.
Dr. Sorkin was aware that her cure would only work on dinosaurs, and that the Pteranodons would remain unaffected. This was by design: if she designed the cure to affect a wider spectrum of animals, it could affect modern species as well. Her main concern appears to have been modern reptile species, though realistically a dinosaur-specific cure would also affect birds. It is unclear whether Dr. Sorkin had considered this. Before her death, she was considering developing single-species cures to target more precisely and minimize unwanted ecological effects.
With a background in farming and a passion for animal rights, Sorkin was easily motivated toward a career in animal biology. Her upbringing would have given her a prior understanding of animal husbandry and she demonstrated a strong ability to understand an animal’s emotional and physical needs. In the 1980s, scientists were just beginning to view animals as conscious, self-aware and thinking beings, having long thought of animals as simple automata and humans as the sole exception; Dr. Sorkin was clearly at the forefront of this progressive scientific view and had a thorough understanding of animal behavior and intelligence. As she grew and furthered her career as an adult, Dr. Sorkin extensively studied concepts of biology such as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, evolutionary paleontology, taxonomy, ontogeny, toxicology, and ecology.
Many of these skills were put to the test during her time at InGen. While she was chiefly employed because of her background in paleogenetics, her stubborn refusal to simply do as InGen asked resulted in her being relegated to a field scientist. She took it upon herself to study InGen’s animals outside of her normal discipline, devoting her career to understanding the creatures’ biology. Many of her studies used her background knowledge of modern animal life to relate to InGen’s de-extinct species, sometimes in unexpected ways. She likened the lookout behavior of Parasaurolophus to claims of altruism in meerkats, for example, and compared the movement-based visual acuity in Tyrannosaurus to the feeding adaptations in certain amphibians. This latter example was one of the cases in which she believed she had identified a phenotypic anomaly resulting from Dr. Wu’s genetic engineering methods. Sorkin often worked directly with her research specimens, probably tapping into her knowledge of animal husbandry from her farmer’s upbringing.
To best understand the dinosaurs she was working with, Dr. Sorkin became well-versed in the history of paleontological theory, familiarizing herself with other scientists’ work. Not all of the Park’s animals were famous creatures seen in every children’s book, and Dr. Sorkin needed to be able to care for even the most obscure species InGen brought to life. To this end, she became particularly familiar with the embryology and rearing processes of the dinosaurs, ensuring that she could hand-rear animals from the egg. This, at least, was something she had prior experience with; she had raised chickens on her family farm during her youth, and she found that many non-avian dinosaur species were not too different. Overall, the animals raised by Dr. Sorkin appeared in exceptionally good health and generally flourished. Some, such as the Compsognathus, persisted on Isla Nublar for generations after her death.
Engineering and construction
Without much help from InGen’s higher-ups, Dr. Sorkin had only the help of her assistant David Banks to construct her research paddock on Isla Nublar. Neither of them had a background in construction, though Dr. Sorkin had probably done some physical labor around her family’s farm as a child. The two of them did an impressive job of rigging up a speaker system around the paddock to record and play back parasaur calls. Some features of the paddock, such as the new water tower installed in 1993, were placed by InGen’s construction teams, but aside from the heavier infrastructure much of it was built by the two researchers.
During her time at the Park, Dr. Sorkin also familiarized herself with the mechanical systems in case of emergency. She felt uneasy about the restricted nature of the geothermal power plant’s system reset process, for example, so she taught herself how to reset the power in the event of an overload.
Along with learning many of the physical mechanical procedures at Jurassic Park, Dr. Sorkin learned how to hack the computers in order to access information or processes that were technically beyond the scope of her job. She may have learned some of her hacking techniques from InGen’s chief programmer Dennis Nedry, since her techniques were similar to his and she seemed quite familiar with his system. She used an Opta-Lite AR-590 computer, the same type used in the Visitors’ Centre security office.
Sorkin often hacked the Park intercom in order to host a “radio show” in which she would play selections from her record collection. This was tolerated by other InGen employees because they found it entertaining. Sorkin was good enough at this that she was able to teach the Park’s head janitor Artie Bridges how to do it successfully.
During the 1993 incident, she utilized a simple brute-force attack to crack Nedry’s system access code. He used a relatively weak password with only seven letters, all uppercase, based on his own surname and without any special characters; Sorkin’s program cracked his password in a few seconds, but likely would have taken longer if he had bothered to use a stronger code. By Sorkin’s own admission, the Jurassic Park computer systems were alarmingly unsecure, which made it quite easy for a less experienced hacker like herself to break into them. InGen was relying mostly on the remote nature of Isla Nublar to keep it safe.
Dr. Sorkin was visually impaired and required eyeglasses at all times, and was also a long-time smoker. Other than this, she was in decently good health for her age at the time of her death, though she was not particularly physically active or strong. She had a life that consisted largely of laboratory work, but did practice some amount of fieldwork and even occasional larger construction and engineering projects for her research.
Throughout her life, Dr. Sorkin took lysine supplements. These are taken for a variety of reasons, including skin health, calcium absorbtion, conversion of fatty acids into energy, and cholesterol reduction. Among the most common reasons to take lysine is the treatment of cold sores caused by the herpes virus. The specific reason Dr. Sorkin was taking lysine is undisclosed.
While her vision was below average, Dr. Sorkin had a remarkably keen sense of air pressure. This gave her the ability to unerringly predict when severe storms would strike her area; she was able to predict tornadoes and tropical storms without fail.
While she did try to show respect to her coworkers and associates, Dr. Sorkin’s headstrong attitude and disregard for authority often made her disliked by her employers at InGen. This resulted in her being demoted from the position of chief geneticist in favor of Dr. Wu, since she refused to budge from her personal values and work for the company’s benefit. At the time of the 1993 incident, InGen’s Board of Directors had recommended that Dr. Sorkin be transferred away from Isla Nublar to work for population research and development at Site B on Isla Sorna.
She was appreciated by many of her equals, and her unauthorized use of the Park intercom was enjoyed by her coworkers as well. Her superiors were less amused; it does not appear that any of her peers spoke up on her behalf, and only her research assistant David Banks seems to have truly been her friend. His youth was a factor in their friendship; Sorkin often empathized with young people as their enthusiasm reminded her of the energy she had when she was younger. She would often encourage younger people to challenge the boundaries set for them by society.
Sorkin much preferred the company of animals, and sometimes displayed a lack of empathy toward human beings. This was especially obvious when her scientific fascination came into play; the most egregious example of this was during the 1993 incident when the body of Daniel Cafaro was discovered. He had been killed by a poorly-understood predatory animal species that Dr. Sorkin had been researching, and the discovery of his body was a major step forward in learning about the animal’s reproductive behavior. While the body was being investigated, Dr. Sorkin repeatedly showed a shocking lack of empathy for the man, or his close friend Billy Yoder who was immediately nearby. This incident played a major role in the degradation of Yoder’s mental state, which put the entire group in danger.
Throughout the events of 1993 she also was guilty of withholding vital information from her fellow survivors if she belived doing so would benefit her cause or standing in the group. This repeatedly created unnecessary tension. She seemed unaware that she had made this mistake and continued to withhold information from the others whenever she considered it necessary. During the minutes that preceded her death, she went so far as to hold the rest of the survivors hostage against their will, risking all of their lives.
Some of Dr. Sorkin’s lack of social skill was directly tied to her animal rights stance, as she believed all living things to have equal value. Therefore, while she did not wish harm upon anyone, if asked to choose between a human life and an animal one she would not default to valuing human life first. This put her at odds with the majority of people. She was never willing to compromise on her own values in any way, even if it was detrimental to her interpersonal relationships.
Dr. Sorkin favored liberal political views and did not believe in compromising on them. During her youth she was a part of the hippie movement. She maintained more or less the same political opinions from her youth all the way through her life, which she attributed to the freedom of self-determination she was allowed when she was young. As an adult, Dr. Sorkin described youth as a time of rebellion and testing one’s own boundaries, and that this sets one’s values and limits for later in life. She was particularly adamant about her beliefs when it came to society’s obligation to nature.
The only time Dr. Sorkin ever compromised on her values was at the end of the 1993 incident, in which she attempted to release a mosasaur into the East Pacific Ocean in order to make a statement about de-extinct animal rights. This decision was made under extreme duress, and her colleague Dr. Gerry Harding even described it as uncharacteristically poorly thought out. Sorkin justified her decision by stating that the animal could be recaptured and that, as a lone creature, it would be unable to cause any real damage. Previously, though, she had been aiming to negate any environmental harm, and had not considered any amount acceptable.
On animal rights
A staunch supporter of equal animal rights since at least the 1970s, Dr. Sorkin had a notable arrest record from her involvement in animal rights protests. This particular view shaped nearly her entire life, from her career to her personal relationships. It was the reason she took a career in biology, and led to her groundbreaking paleogenetics doctorate.
Once employed at InGen, her political goals focused to specifically the rights of animals created through genetic engineering, particularly de-extinction. At the time, InGen considered these creatures to be products, as did the U.S. patent office. Sorkin was perhaps the first person to truly support the idea that de-extinct animals should be considered as animals first. She believed that scientists had an obligation to provide the best possible care to the creatures they brought into existence, regardless of whether their biology was natural. Under no circumstances did she endorse euthanizing any dinosaurs, even those that were hazardous and difficult to keep in captivity; her pet project Troodon pectinodon is commonly cited as the most extreme example since it was a threatening combination of highly intelligent and fatally venomous.
The mere existence of Jurassic Park was a massive animal rights conundrum. As with all zoos, it brought animals to a part of the world (and in this case, a period of time) in which they would never have naturally existed, and fundamentally displaced native wildlife to do so. Since it was built on an island, it was particularly harmful to the natural ecology, damaging environments unique to Isla Nublar including rare endemic species. Sorkin firmly defended the dinosaurs’ right to remain there, and advocated turning Isla Nublar into a de-extinct animal preserve. The issue of native species displcaement versus selective re-extinction is still one of the major unsolved moral quandaries in de-extinct animal rights philosophy.
Dr. Sorkin was a biocentrist and deep ecologist. This means that, in general, she believed all living things to have inherent value regardless of their utility to human civilization, and that civilization should restructure itself in accordance with that. She does not appear to have endorsed a conventional coupled human-environmental system, instead favoring a distinct separation of humans and the rest of the biosphere. This would allow for nature to proceed on its course, with humans making contributions to natural diversity but never interfering with the results of that new life entering the ecosystem. Unlike some people with similar philosophical leanings, Dr. Sorkin tried to justify her views using purely scientific reasoning, eschewing spirituality in her arguments altogether. She made efforts to present herself as objective, though whether she succeeded is entirely a matter of opinion.
She considered all organisms as inherently having equal rights, but maintained that special treatment would have to be given to those that were highly endangered; essentially, a “triage” kind of environmentalism. This is probably how she justified Jurassic Park being built on top of an insular ecosystem, though she never specifically brought it up. An artificial species, once created, would inherently be critically endangered because it did not occur naturally. Therefore, it would need special protection and would be given preferential treatment over naturally-occurring species. On the opposite approach, she viewed invasive species very negatively, since they were already common and were now invading an environment that could include rare species. This created for bizarrely contrasting opinions given by Dr. Sorkin in which both brown rats and de-extinct life were called “invasive” in the same breath, but the former was treated as a nuisance and an ecological threat while the latter was deserving of the utmost protection.
The most obvious example of her view on intrinsic value in ecology was the incident involving the attempted release of a Tylosaurus into the Gulf of Fernandez. Her colleague Dr. Harding pointed out that this animal was a large apex predator, capable of killing humpback whales and other marine megafauna. Its release was justified by Dr. Sorkin with the claim that, since there was only one mosasaur, any ecological damage it might cause would be outweighed by its own survival (and the survival of Isla Nublar’s de-extinct life, which it was intended to levrage). This clearly demonstrates Dr. Sorkin’s view that rarer species require additional protection, even at the expense of other forms of life if absolutely necessary.
On genetic engineering
Unlike many environmentalists, Dr. Sorkin was tolerant of genetic engineering, specifically because of its potential to bring extinct species back to life. While InGen focused on de-extinction of Mesozoic life for entertainment purposes, the technology could easily also be used to bring back species that have become extinct due to overhunting or environmental destruction, or to grow the populations of endangered species. During her employment at InGen, Dr. Sorkin witnessed the recreation of many extinct animals and plants via cloning. Even before her time there, she considered cloning overall to be a force for good due to its potential to reinvigorate deteriorated populations.
The creation of genetically modified organisms was a murkier matter. While it was impossible to recover a fully-intact DNA strand from Mesozoic amber, Dr. Sorkin intended to reconstruct the genomes of ancient species by cross-referencing amber samples from the same geological formations rather than replacing the decayed segments with compatible genes from donor species. Many of the concerns regarding GMOs are environmental or biomedical in nature, but Dr. Sorkin’s criticisms were from a more philosophical standpoint. She believed that genetically altering an organism was an affront to scientific integrity, considering it a “corruption” of the “true” design that evolved in nature. While she did bring up unintended and unforeseen biological attributes (even noting some that were hazardous) as a consequence of gene splicing, these were not her main complaints; she was concerned about purity for purity’s sake. This was likely tied to her biocentric worldview, in which every living thing has intrinsic value. To Sorkin, modifying an existing species into a new form could be seen as an insult to the intrinsic value of a creature.
As a geneticist herself, she was capable of genetically modifying organisms and actually did so in her career, but she exclusively used this knowledge to reverse alterations that had been made by her rival Dr. Henry Wu. Her goal was to create animals that were genetically pure, without gene inclusions from other organisms, and she spent her career cataloguing Wu’s modifications. The most prominent example of this was the lysine contingency, which Dr. Sorkin reversed using mass gene therapy.
Although she sought to reverse genetic modification, Dr. Sorkin still highly valued the lives of genetically modified organisms and did not seek to end their existence. Her goal was only to breed unmodified variants and release them into the wild, replacing the modified variants over time as they lived out their natural lifespans.
Having a career as a paleogeneticist meant that Dr. Sorkin grew intimately familiar with paleontology and remained up to date on the latest scientific theory. Her career with InGen exposed her to science that her colleagues on the mainland could never have dreamed of, permitting her to move leagues ahead of most others in the field. One of the earliest paleontological theories she is known to have espoused was the theory that lambeosaurine hadrosaurs used their elaborate cranial crests for communication, rather than air storage or combat as some older theories proposed. This is now the main theory for lambeosaurine crest usage, and Dr. Sorkin confirmed it through observation in 1993 of four adult female Parasaurolophus. She also discovered that these dinosaurs use visual, rather than just auditory, cues for social communication.
She also observed ontogenic change in Triceratops including the development of large fenestrae in the frill as well as changes in beak and horn shape. This occurred in at least one adult female, though the transformation has not been observed since. Sorkin believed that this change indicated that the genus Torosaurus, which her transformed Triceratops essentially resembled, was not a valid genus of dinosaur and was instead a junior synonym of Triceratops. This would be proposed as a paleontological theory by John Scannella in 2009 based on disputed fossil evidence, though it has not come to be accepted as fact by all paleontologists.
Many of Dr. Sorkin’s theories about dinosaur biology were similarly ahead of their time, thanks to the unique insights she had working at InGen. Observing small theropods such as Compsognathus, she speculated that these birdlike animals might have originally had feathers and were only scaly due to genetic modification. Fossil proof of feathers outside of Avialae was discovered in 1996 in the form of the compsognathid Sinosauropteryx prima. She also discovered that the Triassic dinosaur Herrerasaurus was an early theropod, which has been (and still is) heavily debated among paleontologists. Sorkin disagreed with the idea that tyrannosaurids were incapable of distinguishing stationary objects from a stationary background, which was supported by Dr. Alan Grant, and believed that this trait in InGen’s Tyrannosaurus was only due to genetic modification. All modern paleontologists, aside from possibly Grant, reject the movement-based visual acuity hypothesis.
Dr. Sorkin came from a farming family in Arkansas. Most of her relationship to her family is unknown; she never mentioned any family members specifically. However, her ability to predict severe weather is known to have saved her family from tornadoes on occasion, making her presence on the farm the difference between life and death.
While on the farm, she gained her first skills with animals, particularly the chickens. Her regular exposure to animals probably influenced her belief in animal rights, and later resulted in her pursuing a career in biology.
It is unknown what happened to Dr. Sorkin’s family after she left the farm. They would have had to rely on more conventional means of predicting the weather without her. Her family was not among those listed by InGen as having sued the company between 1993 and 1997, suggesting that Sorkin’s family chose not to sue for her death. No reason is known, but it may have been due to economic inaccessibility, lack of legal knowledge, the fact that Dr. Sorkin was branded as an ecoterrorist before her death, or possibly that Dr. Sorkin had no surviving family by 1993.
Attending the University of California at Berkeley in the early-to-mid-1980s would have put Sorkin in the midst of an age of advancement in science, especially genetics. Her gender and socioeconomic background would have put her at a disadvantage, especially in that period of time, but she excelled in her college career and graduated with the first-ever doctorate in paleogenetics. She was likely in grad school in 1984 when the field of paleogenetics started; the first extraction and sequencing of ancient DNA was conducted at UC Berkeley that year. This means that Dr. Sorkin was almost certainly personally acquainted with the scientists performing the research, if not a part of the team itself.
After she graduated, she was emploeyd by International Genetic Technologies, where she was able to work with cutting-edge technology beyond anything her colleagues had access to. This came at a cost, though: the secrecy of the Jurassic Park project meant that she could not publish any of her findings in a scientific journal until InGen approved it. She died before Jurassic Park had a chance to go public, meaning all of her findings were kept as InGen property; since the company has since covered up her existence and credited her contributions to other people, it is unlikely she has been recognized as the trailblazer she was. Her colleagues in the scientific community probably never learned what became of the world’s first doctor of paleogenetics.
Animal rights movement
In the 1970s, before she became a doctor, the young Laura Sorkin was involved in numerous animal rights protests (probably in the American South, as this was where she grew up). She was an avid participant in these protests, even getting arrested in the name of her cause. However, any friends she had in the movement have so far gone unnamed.
Dr. Sorkin has an arrest record in the United States due to her involvement in animal rights protests, though the exact nature of her sentences remains undisclosed as do the officers involved. It is not known what charges she was arrested on; usually, protesters arrested for political reasons are charged with offences such as disturbing the peace, unlawful assembly, or obstruction of traffic. Of course, some political protesters are arrested on bogus charges simply to shut them up, or illegally taken in by law officers without any charges at all. Sorkin, as an adult, clearly had a thorough understanding of her rights under the law when it came to being handled by authority figures, and this is probably thanks to her negative experiences with the police.
Dr. John Parker Alfred Hammond
After graduating with the first degree in paleogenetics ever awarded, Dr. Sorkin was hired in 1985 by the CEO of International Genetic Technologies, John Hammond. Her academic achievements were nothing short of groundbreaking, and Hammond could not have passed up the chance to employ such a person for his de-extinction project. Sorkin proved an invaluable resource to his company, proving that it was possible to extract ancient DNA from sources millions of years old.
However, Dr. Sorkin did not share Hammond’s exact vision. She hoped to bring back extinct species exactly as evolution had left them, creating an environment where they could live in peace and serve no greater purpose than simple scientific knowledge. Hammond, of course, wanted to quickly produce astounding creatures and put them on display to the world, turning a huge profit for InGen in the process. Sorkin’s insistence on using Jurassic Park as a nature preserve, and taking the longer and more accurate way to create the dinosaurs, was a source of conflict with Hammond, and ultimately she was demoted in favor of Dr. Henry Wu as chief geneticist.
Sorkin came to detest Hammond’s cost-saving measures, capitalist philosophy, and disregard for animal welfare. When she was ordered to euthanize the entire Troodon pectinodon population, she refused and secretly held them in the quarantine pens without InGen’s knowledge. Her supplies were often late, and Hammond provided minimal help to her research while still benefitting from her discoveries. She was the only major InGen employee to refuse to accept the lysine contingency as company policy, but since she had been hired before it acceptance was made mandatory, she was grandfathered in.
During the 1993 incident, Dr. Sorkin suffered due to the isolated location Hammond had assigned her to work. The only access road was washed out by the tropical storm, leaving her stranded. She ultimately refused to leave the island, staying behind to cure the lysine contingency, and attempted to reach Hammond when she discovered the island was slated to be firebombed. She was never connected to Hammond and died before she could speak to him again.
After her death, Sorkin’s proposition to create a de-extinct animal preserve does appear to have influenced Hammond. He attempted to protect Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna from both InGen and other companies, even sacrificing his position as CEO and President of the company to do so. Hammond did not credit Dr. Sorkin for being the first advocate of de-extinct animal rights, largely taking the credit for starting this movement. As a result Dr. Sorkin has been mostly forgotten.
Sir Benjamin Lockwood
Another of InGen’s founders was the British philanthropist Sir Benjamin Lockwood, but his relationship to Dr. Sorkin is less known. She would have performed the first-ever extraction of anicent DNA from Mesozoic amber in the private laboratory of his estate. It is unknown if she ever met his daughter, Charlotte, since she was probably working at the field lab by that time. When Lockwood left InGen in the 1990s, financial troubles would have struck Sorkin fairly quickly as budgets were slashed across the company.
In the 2010s, Lockwood became involved with InGen again, and by 2018 was a supporter of the de-extinct animal rights movement. He even offered up a private island he owned to function as a wildlife preserve for de-extinct animals, much like how Sorkin had proposed Isla Nublar be used. However, Lockwood’s inspiration appeared to be Hammond rather than Sorkin, meaning that Sorkin was more of an indirect influence on him.
During the 1990s, Dr. Sorkin obtained a research assistant in the form of young genetic engineer David Banks. His youthful enthusiasm endeared him to Sorkin as he reminded her of her own younger years, and he was of great help in putting together her research paddock. He assisted in caring for her specimens, such as the Parasaurolophus. Banks was highly appreciative of Sorkin’s mentorship and amazed at her skills, though he did not share her cynicism. He also sometimes neglected to follow her instructions correctly.
Banks was apparently the only person at Jurassic Park who considered Dr. Sorkin a genuine friend, rather than just a coworker. However, it is unknown if he was aware of all of Sorkin’s ambitions, such as reversing the lysine contingency. Banks died during the 1993 incident after straying too close to the quarantine pens, despite warnings from Sorkin to stay away from them. He was most likely killed by the Troodons, which would have made his death particularly painful for Sorkin. She mourned him, but avoided talking about him later during the incident and maintained her position that the dinosaurs be preserved at all costs.
John Raymond “Ray” Arnold
The Park’s chief engineer Ray Arnold knew Dr. Sorkin, but not particularly well, and the two did not appear to trust one another. Sorkin mistakenly believed that his last name was Allen, rather than Arnold. He was one of just a handful of employees to know the reset procedure for the geothermal power plant and did not agree to teach it to Sorkin, leading to her figuring it out herself.
Arnold died during the 1993 incident, probably about twelve hours before Sorkin did. He took part in the process of restarting the Park’s power, shutting it down completely so that the breakers could be reset. This probably cut the power to the quarantine pens and allowed Sorkin’s Troodons free, which may have been the cause of David Banks’s death. Sorkin remained unaware of this, being mostly isolated from the rest of the Park. Arnold died before the power could be completely reset.
The warden of Jurassic Park, Robert Muldoon, probably knew Sorkin in some detail since they both worked in the field with the dinosaurs. While Sorkin held scientific interest in the animals, Muldoon was concerned with what they meant for Park security. One point upon which they would have fundamentally disagreed was euthanasia of dangerous species; Muldoon believed that the more intelligent predators should be exterminated, while Sorkin vehemently opposed this idea. Muldoon would have been fully supportive of Hammond and the Board deciding to euthanize the Troodons, making him another figure that Sorkin would have had to hide her project from.
Otherwise, Muldoon would have benefitted from Sorkin’s research since it gave the Park’s staff a better understanding of the dinosaurs’ behavioral patterns. When she studied predatory creatures she gave particular attention to their hunting and feeding behaviors, which would help Muldoon know how to predict and contain these animals. Her research into the herbivores’ behavior, too, would prepare Muldoon and his security staff for any containment risks they might present.
Muldoon died during the 1993 incident not long after Ray Arnold, meaning Sorkin outlived him by roughly half a day. She was unaware of his death due to being mostly cut off from the rest of the island, unaware of what was going on.
Dennis T. Nedry
Jurassic Park’s chief programmer Dennis Nedry shared Dr. Sorkin’s acrimonious relationship with Hammond, though his gripes were financial rather than philosophical. Although they had this in common, Nedry and Sorkin did not appear to be friends, nor did Sorkin particularly like Nedry; she considered him cocky and obnoxious. It does appear that she learned to hack the Park’s computers from him, either being shown directly or just observing his techniques, since she was very familiar with the system’s weaknesses in a manner similar to Nedry.
When Nedry turned off the Park’s security systems in order to steal trade secrets, he threatened Dr. Sorkin in more ways than one. He not only meant to deliver her life’s work (and Dr. Wu’s) to a rival corporation, he deactivated the essential systems keeping the Park safe. Ultimately the entire 1993 incident, which culminated in Dr. Sorkin’s death, was Nedry’s fault; however he did not actually intend for anyone to die. It was his plan to return to the control room and fix the “glitch” before anyone noticed something was wrong; the failure of his plan resulted in his own death as well.
One of Dr. Sorkin’s most positive working relationships was with Artie Bridges, the head of Jurassic Park’s janitorial staff. He was appreciative of her unauthorized radio show; since he had always dreamed of being in radio himself, he begged her to show him how to hack the intercom. She obliged, and soon Bridges was pre-recording tapes to play during work hours. Sorkin joked that she regretted teaching Bridges how to hack the system due to his terrible singing voice.
Bridges’s final radio show was accidentally activated on June 12, the second day of the 1993 incident, while Sorkin was still on the island. After briefly enduring Bridges’s recorded singing, Dr. Sorkin manually shut down the intercom system and brought Jurassic Park’s employee radio to a final close. Bridges himself had left the island the previous day, so he and Sorkin never met again.
Dr. Henry Wu
After a year’s worth of research and development had not yet fully cracked de-extinction, InGen hired another bright young geneticist to yield results: MIT’s Dr. Henry Wu, who became a star within the company at a breakneck pace. He eschewed Dr. Sorkin’s more thorough methods of genomic reconstruction in favor of substituting genes from modern species that he believed had identical function to those being replaced. Wu also established methods of controlling the dinosaur population that Sorkin strongly disagreed with, but saved InGen time and money; as a result, InGen promoted Wu over Sorkin and relegated her to field research.
Because of this, Sorkin developed feelings of animosity toward Wu for replacing her and, in her eyes, harming the integrity of science. The feelings were mutual; Wu considered his methods superior to Sorkin’s because they were faster and more innovative, and he thought of her more thorough approach as cumbersome and artless. As they both worked on the ancient DNA, Sorkin noticed that most of Wu’s creations bore physiological differences from what fossil evidence predicted the animals could look like, and not all of it could be explained by unknown biological attributes. She believed that his gene-splicing techniques were responsible for many of the anomalies, but he ignored her when she brought up this concern.
Most of Sorkin’s career consisted of “fixing” Wu’s errors in the field, and as time went on she got less and less credit for the Park’s development. By the time of the incident, she was considered barely relevant. Her death during the events of 1993 left Henry Wu as the world’s leading expert in paleogenetics, and enabled him to take full credit for de-extinction. It also ensured that there was no one left alive to criticize his work; no other scientist could hold a candle to what he had accomplished. With Sorkin permanently out of the way, Wu happily allowed InGen to forget she had ever existed and give him free rein to do as he pleased.
Dr. Gerry Harding
Jurassic Park’s chief veterinarian Dr. Gerry Harding was one of Sorkin’s more agreeable coworkers, though they did not often work together. It was the job of Dr. Harding to ensure the animals’ health, so Dr. Sorkin appreciated his efforts, and conversely Dr. Sorkin’s research gave Dr. Harding more resources to better understand the biology of the creatures he tended to. These two biologists lived in mutual symbiosis on Isla Nublar, each providing the other with an essential service. Harding was also a fan of Dr. Sorkin’s radio show.
They came to clash during the 1993 incident, though. While their primary concern was to survive being abandoned on Isla Nublar, Sorkin was still dedicated to preserving the lives of the animals at any cost. Harding disagreed, believing that being responsible for the animals also meant deciding when to let them die for the greater good. He opposed Sorkin’s decision to end the lysine contingency and was irked that Sorkin had gone ahead and done so without consulting with anyone else, and was deeply concerned that animals crossing the ocean and establishing on the mainland would destroy other ecosystems. Sorkin considered his concern overblown, since the island was highly isolated and a handful of non-breeding animals would do minimal damage.
In the final hours of the incident, Sorkin further disregarded Harding’s concerns by attempting to release a mosasaur into the Gulf of Fernandez as an act of protest against the firebombing of Isla Nublar. She also took Dr. Harding and the other survivors hostage while trying to negotiate with InGen and the U.S. Armed Forces to stop the bombing. Harding tried to talk her into a more reasonable solution, but she was unwilling to compromise; before they could have any kind of discussion she was accidentally killed by the mosasaur. Harding and the others had only a brief few moments to mourn her before the situation worsened, and she was mostly forgotten for the rest of the incident as they struggled to survive.
While Dr. Harding and Dr. Sorkin ended their friendship on poor terms, their working relationship at the Park would set the stage for the de-extinct animal rights movement later. Veterinarians working with de-extinct life created the field of paleoveterinary science in the coming decades, and it became an essential component of de-extinct animal rights.
While Dr. Sorkin worked on Isla Nublar, Peter Ludlow was a fairly important employee on the mainland. His relationship to Dr. Sorkin is more or less unknown. During the 1993 incident, she attempted to reach him on the phone to cancel the bombing of Isla Nublar, but was denied the chance to speak to him.
Other InGen staff
Most of Dr. Sorkin’s other working relationships are unknown. Many of her peers appreciated her radio show, though most of them seemed to be unaware of just how important she was to the company. This was especially true of employees hired after Dr. Wu joined the team. Her superiors did not enjoy her nearly as much, generally considering her a necessary burden to InGen.
The Board of Directors took issue with her challenges to authority, planning on relocating her to Isla Sorna after a June 1993 review of Jurassic Park. Her final act was to defy InGen authority and try to release a mosasaur into the Pacific Ocean in an act of protest against the planned firebombing of Isla Nublar while also taking hostages. During the negotiations, she spoke with an InGen employee named Mr. Parker, but requested to speak to a different representative named Mr. Maquire. It was Parker who labeled her an ecoterrorist and closed negotiations.
Since her death, InGen has swept Dr. Sorkin’s existence under the rug.
Jessica Marie Harding
While not an official part of the Jurassic Park endorsement tour, Dr. Gerry Harding’s daugter Jess was on the island at the same time as permitted by Hammond. During the evacuation before the storm hit, the Hardings were delayed and could not reach the East Dock in time. This led to them eventually meeting up with Dr. Sorkin during the rescue effort, and Sorkin enlisted the Hardings in helping her with her dinosaurs before she would allow herself to be rescued.
The rebellious teenage Jess struck a chord with Sorkin, reminding the older scientist of her own youth. Rather than reprimand Jess for her behavior, Dr. Sorkin assured Jess that her desire to push boundaries and challenge authority was not just normal but commendable. Sorkin encouraged Jess to test her limits and discover her values, and to use her rebelliousness in a constructive way that would benefit her later in life. Noting Jess’s aptitude for studying animal behavior, Sorkin suggested that she consider a career in zoological research.
Various crises occurring throughout the next day precluded any more such moments between Sorkin and Jess, but as the events wore on Sorkin entrusted that Jess’s pluck would make her a capable survivor. On a few occasions Sorkin enlisted Jess’s help to overcome obstacles, even though her father protested against this. However, later on (particularly after the death of Oscar Morales), both Sorkin and Jess showed signs of breaking from the stress, and both had to rely chiefly on the other survivors. Ultimately, Sorkin would take the rest of the survivors hostage in an effort to prevent the bombing of Isla Nublar, Jess included. She did not have a chance to apologize for this, but showed clear signs that she regretted Jess’s involvement in the situation.
William “Billy” Yoder
Billy Yoder was one of six mercenaries sent to Isla Nublar to rescue the survivors, and one of only two to actually get as far as the Isla Nublar field lab. By the time he arrived, the other mercenary team had already been killed, and one of his own team had disappeared. Yoder restrained his companion Oscar Morales from taking Dr. Sorkin off the island by force, instead trying to learn enough about Sorkin’s motives to persuade her into evacuating with them. He held back from telling her that the island was set to be firebombed, hoping to have her off Isla Nublar by the time she found out.
Events of the incident would separate them for a period of time, reuniting near the power plant. By this time it was clear Yoder had no particular care for the dinosaurs, and Sorkin lost whatever respect for him she had. There they had to cooperate to prevent a massive steam explosion, but as they finished resetting the power plant, they were attacked by Velociraptors. Their group was only saved by the selfless sacrifice of Morales, who gave his life to open the blast doors. Yoder was devastated by the loss of his only remaining friend, but things were about to get much worse for him.
They discovered the body of his third team member, Daniel Cafaro, in a catatonic state with eggs implanted in his abdominal cavity. Finally the truth about the missing mercenaries was revealed; they had been attacked by Troodon pectinodon, driven out of their minds by a hallucinogenic neurotoxin and finally rendered comatose. Sorkin had created and was intimately familiar with these animals, but had not told the others about them; she admitted that Hammond and the Board had ordered the Troodons terminated and their existence scrubbed from the record, but Dr. Sorkin had not complied.
This broke Yoder. He threatened to kill Sorkin, and was only talked down from it by Sorkin admitting that she was at fault, which she was extremely resistant to doing. Tensions remained high between them as they navigated their way out of the utility tunnels to the Marine Facility, where Sorkin finally learned about the firebombing. She was too angered by InGen’s decision to be upset about Yoder’s hypocrisy regarding secrets, and sealed herself in the control room to contact the company authorities. She took the other survivors hostage and attempted to release a mosasaur into the Gulf of Fernandez as an act of protest. To free himself from her captivity, Yoder broke into the control room using a fire axe, but the damage was irreversible. Shortly thereafter, Sorkin was accidentally knocked into the facility’s moon pool and killed, ending her short but violent relationship with Yoder for good.
The second member of the mercenary team sent to rescue Dr. Sorkin in 1993 was Oscar Morales, a gruff and burly man with a kill count tattooed on his arm. Their relationship was off to a rocky start from the very beginning; Morales made it clear he would force Dr. Sorkin off the island if she did not come willingly, and she steadfastly refused while threatening to sue Morales if he laid a hand on her. It was because of Yoder that Morales was convinced to let Sorkin come willingly; the mercenaries helped her by loading file boxes of paperwork onto their rescue helicopter for Sorkin in exchange for her cooperation.
Events during the incident separated them, and they were reuinted in the maintenance tunnels when Morales ambushed and wounded a threatening Velociraptor using his hunting knife. For the first time Dr. Sorkin witnessed the raptors retreat in a show of fear. Morales also admitted to having killed another raptor with his knife. Sorkin was impressed, gaining some amount of respect for Morales’s sheer physical prowess if nothing else. He became much more helpful to her in a real survival situation, scouting out regions of the tunnels to ensure they were safe. The power plant had to be reset to avoid a steam explosion, and during this process they became trapped in the plant by the raptors Morales had scared off earlier. Now that their confidence was back, the raptors were a threat again. Morales, knowing that whoever faced them would not live, willingly put himself on the line to get the plant’s blast doors open. Though they had begun as enemies, Sorkin watched with a mixture of astonishment and sadness as Morales gave himself up to the teeth and claws of the raptors to let the others escape with their lives.
Daniel “D-Caf” Cafaro
Dr. Sorkin did not meet Daniel Cafaro while he was conscious, though he had been the third member of one of the two mercenary teams sent to rescue her during the 1993 incident. He had already gone missing by the time Yoder and Morales arrived to her lab.
His body was discovered in a closet within the utility tunnels, mostly buried in foliage and dirt, showing clear signs of a Troodon pectinodon attack. Cafaro was completely paralyzed, possibly comatose or even brain-dead. His eyes appeared to look at people in the room, and he had a faint pulse, but otherwise there were no signs of life. Most disturbingly, he had dinosaur eggs implanted in a carved-out section of his abdominal cavity, kept warm by his body heat. Sorkin was fascinated, finally understanding what function the Troodon ovipositor served, and why the venom put its victims in a comatose state rather than killing them outright. Cafaro was her most valuable research subject for this purpose.
He was also the cause of her animosity with Billy Yoder, who had been Cafaro’s friend. Sorkin’s scientific fascination overcame her ability to show empathy, and Yoder (who was already highly distressed) was utterly broken by her callous attitude. The discovery of Cafaro’s body led to Yoder threatening Sorkin’s life, and ultimately to his betrayal of the rest of the group.
During the 1993 incident, Dr. Sorkin became briefly acquainted with Nima Cruz, a Tun-Si woman who had once lived on Isla Nublar. InGen had forcibly relocated the Tun-Si, a tribe of the Bribri people, from the island to the Costa Rican mainland in the 1980s. It is unclear whether Dr. Sorkin was fully aware of InGen’s role in displacing the native people of Isla Nublar.
Sorkin and Cruz interacted fairly little during the incident as they were both attempting to survive, but Sorkin at least does seem to have admired Cruz’s spunk and strength. Having fought her way through a male-dominated field to great success, Sorkin would have been in a position to admire Cruz’s backbreaking effort to support herself and her daughter in an unforgiving world.
However, admiration only got her so far, and during the final hours of the incident Dr. Sorkin took Cruz and the others hostage in an effort to save Isla Nublar. Preventing the firebombing of the island was something that Cruz had wanted too, but Sorkin did not even consider cooperation, jumping headlong into hostage-taking and making demands to InGen. Had she tried working together rather than commandeering the others, Sorkin might have gotten her demands met; instead, she found herself thrown into a moon pool and eaten by a mosasaur. Cruz, on the other hand, continued to support the other survivors and was ultimately their salvation as she knew the way through the prehistoric lava caves out from the lagoon.
Laura Sorkin was employed at InGen for every single de-extinction of the company’s first era, and was the first known advocate for de-extinct animal rights. Cloning Mesozoic life began with a Triceratops created in 1986, followed by other herbivores like Brachiosaurus and Parasaurolophus. The first confirmed theropod, a Tyrannosaurus, was bred in 1988, and that same year the first dinosaurs were shipped from Isla Sorna to Isla Nublar. The parasaurs were her most notable research project; she had four adult females contained for a period of several months before the 1993 incident, recording and playing back their vocalizations. She observed their social behaviors, gaining a deeper understanding of how the animals lived and deciphering what some of their calls meant. Sorkin appears to have cared for her specimens very well; the only malady among them was a broken toe.
Many of the animals were modified from their original versions by Dr. Wu, who had used filler DNA to complete their genomes rather than stick to Dr. Sorkin’s more laborious cross-referencing methods. Because of this, Dr. Sorkin spent much of her time in the field studying the alterations and determining which genetic modifications had resulted in them. She opposed the lysine contingency, which was designed to kill any escaped animal within a week, and worked for most of her career to engineer a reversal for it. This is generally considered to be the first de-extinct animal rights project in history.
Some of her notable research subjects included one of the oldest Triceratops, the oldest Tyrannosaurus, and the first non-dinosaur Pteranodon. As time went on at InGen, other species were created; not all of these were destined for Isla Nublar just yet, so it is unknown whether Sorkin encountered them very often. If she traveled to Isla Sorna, she would have probably studied Stegosaurus, Mamenchisaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Carnotaurus, Baryonyx, Edmontosaurus, and Microceratus, along with possibly Apatosaurus. X-ray scans in her laboratory show skulls of at least two species that were not alive in 1993, Apatosaurus and Metriacanthosaurus, suggesting that Dr. Sorkin was also working with species that had not yet been cloned (or, had cloned and died out by that time).
In the 1990s, InGen created a flurry of small theropods, including Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, Compsognathus, Gallimimus, and Herrerasaurus. Many of these were research subjects of Sorkin’s, particularly the first three. The dilophosaurs and raptors were of interest to her because of their large numbers of phenotypic anomalies, which she believed was the result of gene splicing. The compies simply reminded her of chickens and she found them endearing for this. She eventually discovered another non-dinosaurian species, a mosasaur, had been cloned by InGen. This was one species that she did not get much chance to study. In fact, she never even learned that it was in the genus Tylosaurus.
She also created a small theropod of her own, the venomous nocturnal Troodon pectinodon; this was the only species known for certain to not have been bred mostly by Dr. Wu and almost entirely by Dr. Sorkin. However, much of the genome was still hybridized by Wu before Sorkin finished it. When this dinosaur was found to be visually unappealing and a serious biohazard, InGen demanded it terminated and scrubbed from the record, and Dr. Sorkin protected the species’s existence in secret. Despite her being their protectors, the dinosaurs were thankless, not understanding that she was the reason they had not all been euthanized. During the 1993 incident, the Troodons killed her research assistant, having found a way to escape the quarantine pens and then being released anyway by the Park shutting down.
Although Sorkin and her companions were threatened by some of the escaped animals during the 1993 incident, she never faltered in protecting the dinosaurs. She had just finalized her cure for the lysine contingency and ensured to place it in the Park’s water mains before evacuation, preventing the dinosaurs from dying out. The first dinosaurs to actively threaten her were the Velociraptors, namely a pride that Hammond had ordered shipped in to replace those that had died some time before. Sorkin herself had been opposed to this, only learning about it after the fact. The raptors menaced Sorkin and the others as they journeyed through the maintenance tunnels eastward; they only gave up the chase when frightened away by Sorkin’s Troodons. She bore witness to the harm they had already brought to human life on the island, but did not regret sparing them from InGen’s termination plans.
Finally, she attempted to use the mosasaur as levrage against the firebombing of Isla Nublar. She opened the lagoon’s access gates to free it as an act of ecoterrorism, locking the system so that there could be no closing the gates again. This act was intended more as a symbolic gesture than an effective one, demonstrating to InGen and the U.S. government that life could not be contained, nor could it be exterminated. However, the mosasaur did not take the opportunity given to it. Instead, it rammed the glass of the Marine Facility nearest Sorkin, shaking the entire structure to cause her to fall into the moon pool a story below. Once she was in the water, it grabbed her by the legs and slammed her into the metal side of the pool, knocking her unconscious and eating her.
Incidentally, Dr. Sorkin had recently taken a lysine supplement, meaning that once the mosasaur digested her body it got a noticeable boost in lysine itself.
Dr. Laura Sorkin has only appeared in the 2011 video game Jurassic Park: The Game, in which she is voiced by Susan Cash. She has not appeared in any live-action media. She is also not based on any particular character in Michael Crichton‘s novels, though she does exhibit a generalized form of the themes and scientific concepts used by Crichton.