Dennis Nedry stealing the dinosaur embryosA mosquito in amber

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Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park is a novel written by Michael Crichton and published in 1990. It was later adapted as a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. more...

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Often considered a cautionary tale on unconsidered biological tinkering in the same spirit as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, it uniquely uses the mathematical concept of chaos theory and its philosophical implications to explain the collapse of an amusement park showcasing certain recreated dinosaur species.

Plot summary (novel)

The novel, in an "introduction", is initially presented as a brief report on the consequences of "The InGen Incident", which occurred in August 1989. This "fiction as fact" presentation had been used by Crichton before, notably in Eaters of the Dead and The Andromeda Strain. Shortly after the story begins, a group of scientists (including paleontologist Alan Grant and chaos theory mathematician Ian Malcolm) are invited on an all-expense-paid preview visit to Jurassic Park, a zoo-like amusement park set up by billionaire John Hammond (founder of InGen) on the island of Isla Nublar (near Costa Rica). Hammond wishes to hear the opinions of the scientists and eventually win their approval of the park; Malcolm expresses misgivings from the beginning.

The park contains dinosaurs, which have been recreated from DNA found in mosquitos trapped in amber. Hammond (and his genetic engineers) take great delight in explaining the ways that they created the dinosaurs. The scientists grow apprehensive when they discover that the dinosaurs have been breeding, despite InGen's efforts to keep them sterile.

The action begins when Dennis Nedry, chief programmer of the Jurassic Park controlling software, tries to steal dinosaur embryos as per a deal with Lewis Dodgson, who works for one of John Hammond's competitors, Biosyn. In order to do this, he has to turn off the electricity to the park's many electric fences, and a number of dinosaurs – including a Tyrannosaurus rex and eight Velociraptor – escape from their enclosures, and have a number of encounters with the scientists, who remain inside the park.

Eventually several of the characters escape the island alive (although many do not) and the island is razed by the Costa Rican Air Force, although there is disturbing evidence that several Raptors may have escaped, as well as a number of procompsagnathids. The survivors of the incident are detained indefinitely by the Costa Rican government.

The book has one sequel, The Lost World.

One of the themes expressed throughout this story and its sequels is that of homeothermic (warm-blooded) dinosaurs; a recent theory popularized by paleontologist Bob Bakker.

The novel is considerably darker in tone and content than the movie, with graphic violence and a higher body count.


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