Hey everyone! Let me start by saying that I love this game. It’s been great for getting me out of the house and out on walks and bike rides and I can tell it’s made major difference to my health and well-being…
Which is why I’m writing today to introduce myself, because I’ve seen a lot of comments on this forum asking for an actual paleontologist to rewrite the creature bios in this game. I’d love to do this! Especially because not only are these bios rather lacking for a game geared toward dinosaur enthusiasts, but some of them are just plain wrong.
A bit of personal history:
I am a lifelong friend and student of Robert Bakker, one of the book’s and film’s main paleo consultants. As a teenager I spent my summers in the field with him in Wyoming every year working on the Morrison formation, late Jurassic and early Cretaceous sediments. I found what may have been at the time the earliest raptor claw known to science, and was helping lead volunteer crews for the Wyoming Dinosaur Society before I was out of high school.
I went to school for evolutionary biology and ecology with a concentration in vertebrate paleontology at the University of Kansas, where I worked as a scientific illustrator for the Natural History Museum for 4 years. For KU as well as a number of other institutions, I did history-resetting paleontological reconstructions of pterosaurs, aetosaurs, and Cambrian marine invertebrates, illustrated the description of a new dinosaur species from the Triassic discovered at the Petrified Forest, and was the one to figure out how flying reptiles walked and swam from studying their trackways. (Although I haven’t published it yet, I also think I may have figured out one of the most persistent puzzles of dinosaur paleontology - the change in dinosaur types between the Jurassic and Cretaceous and the decline of dinosaur biodiversity during the Cretaceous, and how it’s related to the evolution of flowering plants.)
I also have a lifelong relationship with Jurassic Park, which I first read in hardcoverfirst edition at the age of seven (1991) and for which I attended the film’s world premiere on June 8th 1993 at Universal Studios Florida. (I have the logo tattooed on my right side and you can find a video of me getting it if you search “GoPro Time-Lapse Jurassic Park Tattoo.”) Jurassic Park is a major touchpoint in the essay collection I’m writing about the technologization of evolution, and features heavily in the song I wrote about this story, “Life Finds A Way,” which you can find on bandcamp under my name.
I am an ecological tour guide and freelance essayist by profession, leading eco-tours in Austin, Texas when I’m not hosting Future Fossils Podcast. So basically, I know a ton about the ancient world and love writing and teaching people. I’ve been correcting museum placards at places like the Smithsonian (as well as in published letters to the editor in the original JP comic books) since I was a small child and I love this franchise enough to care when you get things wrong.
So I hope somebody sees this and escalates it to the people who make this kind of decision, because it would be my pleasure to dramatically improve the user experience of all of you wonderful people by giving you vastly better dinosaur bios…
And much respect to the folks who have taken it upon themselves to share paleo information in this forum! It’s awesome to see so many people acting on their passion for the prehistoric world…
I’ll leave you with some of the dinosaur paintings I’ve made, incuding Tyrannosaurus, Carnotaurus, Triceratops, and an anonymous Diplodocid:
Thanks and best!