1993's 'Jurassic Park' inspired some movie buffs to pursue the study of dinosaurs
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Summer is the season of movie blockbusters. And as the announcer might say in a trailer for a movie - 30 years ago this month, one science fiction film towered above the rest.
(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS' "THEME FROM JURASSIC PARK")
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" came out in theaters in June 1993. The movie catapulted the careers of its actors and inspired some movie buffs to study dinosaurs.
STEVE BRUSATTE: There is a straight line between "Jurassic Park" and me becoming a paleontologist and then, later, me becoming the paleontology consultant for "Jurassic World," the most recent film.
INSKEEP: Steve Brusatte is a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, so it's his job to dig up dinosaurs and study dinosaurs and write books about dinosaurs. And he says he saw "Jurassic Park" for the first time in a movie theater when he was 9.
BRUSATTE: And I just remember being flabbergasted by those dinosaurs, being enthralled by them. These dinosaurs were movie monsters, but they were real animals, and they were so different from the dinosaurs in the textbooks we had at school and in the library. Those dinosaurs - they were lumbering dullards just kind of sitting around waiting to go extinct. They were terrifying but not exciting. The "Jurassic Park" dinosaurs - these were active, energetic, intelligent, dynamic animals, and that really stuck with me.
FADEL: Brusatte says as a scientist, he never wants to use the word impossible. But a real-life "Jurassic Park," complete with resurrected dinosaurs, seems really, really unlikely.
BRUSATTE: And the reason is that nobody's ever found any dinosaur DNA. And that's because DNA breaks down very quickly once an animal or a plant dies.
INSKEEP: Apparently, there is some ancient DNA from woolly mammoths, relatives of the modern-day elephants. So maybe somebody will succeed in cloning a mammoth. Is that a good idea?
BRUSATTE: That's a question that I think we might have to wrestle with as the gene technology and cloning technology becomes better and better.
FADEL: If we've learned anything from 30 years of watching "Jurassic Park" and its sequels, maybe let's keep the dinosaurs up on the silver screen.
(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS' "THEME FROM JURASSIC PARK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.