Meet Screature, the latest in a long line of robotic dinosaur companions, including Roboraptor and their kin. Like many other robotic dinosaur "pets", Screature can be put into guard mode, roars, responds to your touch, and can interact with you via an infared sensor. But wait, Screature is different, can't you tell? Still can't get it, well look at this...
(Image Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Meet Dilophosaurus wetherelli, a large coelophysoid theropod found across North America, known from both fossils in the Arizona Kayenta Formation, and footprints scattered across New England and labelled "Eubrontes". "Screature", is the first robotic dilophosaurus...with a frill.
For those of you that have been living under a rock for the past decade or two, Dilophosaurus' first and only appearance in film was in the famous (or among palentologists, infamous) movie Jurassic Park. Well, I guess I shouldn't call it a Dilophosaurus anymore, seeing as how it was the size of a dog, had a frill, and spat poison at its enemies (and the occasional obese man
Now, don't go blaming Michael Crichton for this. He actually has an excuse. In the original book Jurassic Park, Crichton has Dilophosaurus at its normal size (20 feet long), and is completely frill-less. Now, it does spit poison, but there is a reason for this. Dilophosaurus had rather weak jaws for a theropod, probably using its flexible, weak jaws to snag smaller animals, and then using its massive ripper talons on its forelimbs to bring down larger animals. Crichton, thinking that Dilos had to have another way to catch prey if its jaws were so weak (and getting a dose of misinformation from one Gregory S. Paul), gave it poisonous saliva, like a Komodo Dragon, and the ability to spit it.
Enter Steven Spielberg. Spielberg screwed up the original telling of Jurassic Park in so many ways. He edited out the compy scene, gave the raptors steroids, and changed the plot of the book (originally ALL the dinosaurs couldn't see you if you stood still, because of the frog DNA) so that the "he can't see you if you don't stand still" was part of the T-rex's natural genome. But by far, his greatest screw-up was with the Dilophosauruses. To "distinguish them from the raptors", he shrunk the Dilos down (ironically, to the natural size of a Velociraptor), and gave them a gaudy frill.
This is a great injustice to Dilophosaurus. Dilophosaurs were the first large carnivorous dinosaurs ever, that's what made them so interesting. Not to mention there is no evidence of frills or poison in Dilophosaurus. One can tell if an animal was poisonous or not, by the way their teeth are built; they are grooved. Dilophosaurus...no grooved teeth. In fact NO dinosaur, save a possible tooth from Baja California, has any evidence to suggest they were venomous. As for the frill, frills are attached to the body by muscle (especially if they can be erected and moved), and so we would be able to tell if Dilophosaurus had a frill...it didn't.
So why is Screature so bad? Despite all of the evidence pointing against a Spiebergian Dilophosaurus, pop culture seems to refuse the actual idea of a non-venomous, frill-less, though bigger and tougher Dilophosaurus. Screature is just the latest in a long line of these, ParaWorld and other pop culture items (even in places like DeviantArt) have a frilled Dilophosaurus, and seem to be following the "Rule of Cool" http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RuleOfCool more than any actual science. The only non-Spiebergian Dilo out there? Turok. Yes, Turok. Turok is the sole non-scientific piece of pop culture that shows Dilos as they truly are, rather than what the public wants them to be. This really has to stop, we can't be holding onto disproven ideas, just because they are cool. That's not how the world works...
This post brought to you by a Dilophosaurus wetherelli playing an electric guitar.