The Definitive Ranking of Every Dinosaur from the ‘Jurassic Park’ Films
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Chris Pratt may get top billing, but the real reason to get excited about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is to see the dinosaurs.
In anticipation of one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters, we’re looking back at all the dinosaurs to appear in the Jurassic Park films. You can revisit all four of the previous films available now on DIRECTV. In the meantime, we’ve ranked all the dinosaurs to appear in the films below, taking into account realism, story, scare factor and star power.
20. Corythosaurus (Jurassic Park III)
These duck-billed dinos only make the briefest appearance in the third Jurassic Park film: You can catch their cameo as the characters run through a stampede on Isla Sorna. Their orange and red crests are the film’s second most remarkable headpiece after Téa Leoni’s unfortunate mom haircut.
19. Mamenchisaurus (The Lost World)
In one of the series’ blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments, these large creatures can be seen as the InGen team captures dinosaurs on Isla Sorna. Like a Brachiosaurus with a longer neck and whip-like tail, the Mamenchisaurus gets points for its massive size, but leaves little impact on the story. There was once a plan to include a scene of Mamenchisaurus mating, but it never made it to the final edit. (In contrast, do you think a Velociraptor sex scene would end up on the cutting room floor? I don’t think so.)
18. Apatosaurus (Jurassic World)
It’s easy to love the tiny tot in the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo, but it’s the Apatosaurus massacre later in the film that sticks with viewers. One unlucky Apatosaurus gives one of the most dramatic performances of any Jurassic Park dino, taking its last living breaths with Owen (Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard).
17. Parasaurolophus (Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World)
One of only four dinosaurs to appear in all of the first four Jurassic Park films, Parasaurolophus had its big break in The Lost World when Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite) dubbed one Elvis, due to the pompadour-esque crest atop its head.
16. Pachycephalosaurus (The Lost World)
Captured alongside the parasaurolophus by the InGen team, the Pachycephalosaurus was nicknamed “Friar Tuck” due to its unconventional head shape. It puts up a heck of a fight, ramming into one of the jeeps. Although only quickly shown on a screen in the control room in Jurassic World, it’s said the Pachycephalosaurus shorts out its tracking implant when ramming heads. Points for toughness, but we’re still waiting for a "Pachy" to have a star-making moment.
15. Ceratosaurus (Jurassic Park III)
Now, this is how you make the most of a cameo: In just one scene, the Ceratosaurus makes a lasting impression with its unique appearance -- a bright red head and a large horn on its nose -- and it offers a little comic relief. Encountering Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Paul Kirby (William H. Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Leoni) while digging through Spinosaurus dung, the Ceratosaurus takes one whiff of them and does an about-face.
14. Dimorphodon (Jurassic World)
One of the flying pterosaurs to attack park visitors, the Dimorphodon looks like it has a Pteranodon body, a little T-Rex face and a terrible attitude.
13. Compsognathus (The Lost World, Jurassic Park III)
One could imagine Bernie Sanders would approve of these tiny terrors. First, they attack little Cathy Bowman (a total one-percenter), then they work together (socialism!) to defeat Dieter Stark (Peter Stormare) in The Lost World.
12. Stegosaurus (The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World)
The Stegosaurus is one of the most instantly recognizable and popular dinosaurs. Even so, they didn’t appear on screen in the first film. When we do meet them in The Lost World, the herd attacks Ian (Jeff Goldblum), Sarah (Julianne Moore) and Nick (Vince Vaughn) after getting too close to a Stego baby. The young creature is adorable, but the Stegosaurus doesn't make too big an impact on the series overall – it only makes brief appearances after that.
11. Spinosaurus (Jurassic Park III)
Sure, the Spinosaurus may have bested a T. Rex in one of Jurassic Park III’s earlier scenes, but the film’s main antagonist never quite lives up to the series’ best. Its attacks were relentless, but lacked some of the tenser stalking moments that other prehistoric predators used to give viewers palpitations. Turns out, bigger isn’t always better.
10. Indominus Rex (Jurassic World)
Part of the appeal of the Jurassic Park films and the fictional parks is the chance to see these incredible, real-life creatures walk the Earth once again. Although fictional audiences may have grown jaded of seeing dinosaurs, we haven’t! Its extreme adaptations – speed, agility, camouflage, hiding its thermal signature – may have racked up one of the highest body counts, but it still doesn't impress the way other real-life dinos do.
9. Ankylosaurus (Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World)
Indominus Rex has all the performance-enhancing genetic modifications, but the good ol’ Ankylosaurus still gave it a run for its money. They look like little tanks, and they provide Jurassic World with one of its most thrilling scenes batting around a Gyrosphere while fleeing Indominus.
8. Pteranodon (The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World)
The glimpse of the Pteranodons at the end of The Lost World whet appetites for seeing the winged dinosaurs in action. When they got their wish, the Pteranodons were terrifying. Extra large versions preyed on the Kirbys, Alan and Billy (Alessandro Nivola) in Jurassic Park III, but it’s the swarm of Pteranodons (and Dimorphodons) in Jurassic World that felt like a bigger threat. Whether impaling with their beaks or dropping people from the sky, the Pteranodons brought the terror.
7. Gallimimus (Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic World)
There are much more vicious dinosaurs, but few had such a notable moment as when the “flock” of Gallimimus raced alongside Dr. Grant, Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards). Plus, thanks to Tim’s stuttering pronunciation, viewers will never forget the name of “Galli … Galli … Gallimimus.”
6. Triceratops (Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World)
In one of the Jurassic Park films’ most iconic scenes, Dr. Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) examine a sick Triceratops. Watching Grant lay atop the ailing beast as it labored to breathe made it feel so real. It's also one of the earliest indicators that maybe the park doesn't have the dinosaurs' care entirely figured out. (Plus, it’s got to be tough to have to give such a powerful performance opposite the legendary Laura Dern.)
5. Mosasaurus (Jurassic World)
Not only did this aquatic predator effortlessly eat a great white shark (and a British assistant), but it was also the one to deal the killing blow to Indominus Rex. Maybe “Deus Ex Mosasaurus” would be a better name.
4. Velociraptor (Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World)
Had we made this list only after the first film, the raptors could’ve easily landed the top spot. However, since then, they’ve been bested by a teenage gymnast, got chatty with Dr. Grant and started taking their orders from Star Lord. The kitchen scene in the original film remains one of the most bone-chilling in the series, but overexposure and unnecessary fussing with the character design spoiled their cool factor.
3. Brachiosaurus (Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III)
The first full dino we see doesn’t disappoint. These sizable sauropods are the perfect introduction to the enormity of what’s possible at the park. Grant and Sattler are all of us as they react in shock and awe to the dinosaurs. Later, in the trees, the Brachiosaurus gives us one of the films’ most heartwarming moments when it unleashes a large, messy sneeze all over Lex.
2. Dilophosaurus (Jurassic Park)
There are few dinosaurs throughout the entirety of the Jurassic Park canon as iconic as the Dilophosaurus. Yes, it has some unusual anatomy, but beyond its trademark frill, it’s so perfectly utilized. During the tour, we don’t see the Dilophosaurus, but we hear the audio tour rattle off facts about its venom. It’s so subtle that it’s easy to forget when Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) stumbles into a seemingly friendly purring dinosaur. It’s Chekhov's dino, and it serves the real villain of the original Jurassic Park his comeuppance with big wads of paralyzing poison and a bloody attack.
1.Tyrannosaurus Rex (Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World)
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is as synonymous with Jurassic Park as John Williams’ score. From the logo to the most memorable moments, the Tyrannosaurus Rex is king in more than name only. We still haven’t recovered from the T-Rex’s first attack on the kids’ in the car, but that’s just one example. There’s the attack that pushes the trailer off the cliff in The Lost World, the losing battle with the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III and that calvary moment in Jurassic World finale. Even the Tyrannosaurus’ roar is unforgettable. It helps that the character design has stayed pretty consistent over the course of the films. They didn’t need to add a bunch of crazy colors or feathers or the ability to sing an aria. She’s just a big, bad, Earth-shaking beast, and you better hope she’s not hungry.