I'm a paleontologist. Can I help rewrite the creature bios?


#1

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!

Michael


#2

cliff notes, please?


#3

He would like to help rewrite the dino bios to make them more accurate and has added info about his background to show he is qualified to do so.


#4

Fantastic idea. Would you do it for free? Because let’s be honest, that’s the only way Ludia will let it happen.


#5

Man, you’re multi talented, love the paintings and how much passion you have for dinosaurs!


#6

LOL probably…but maybe they can pay me in “hard cash” or other in-game assets, which cost them nothing.


#7

https://www.ludia.com/en/careers


#8

Oh snap! There’s actually a “name your job” post on that list. I’ll submit this post there also. Thank you! :slight_smile:


#9

I was right there on your side until you said “oh, snap”. We cant have dinosaurs writing dinosaur bios, I hope you sought assistance modernizing your resume… J/k… J/k… Good luck


#10

Ha! Luckily I wouldn’t use colloquial language in scientific writing at all, even for a lay audience…this answer reveals even deeper squareness than I think you supposed, huh?


#11

Great idea! I was already googling some of these creatures to get more info on them. Perhaps Ludia could also provide links underneath the short texts to more detailed info outside the game, linking to an online JWA encyclopedia/wiki or something?
Also love your artwork btw! Good luck getting that job :+1:


#12

I’m commenting to bump this thread to the top.

Somebody give this man a job at JWA!


#13

For those “TL;DR” people… He paid lots of money to be considered an actual expert in subject field of this game, and wants to “volunteer” fruits of his labor to edumacate youse guys.
Thanks for sharing Michael!


#14


#15

Thanks! I was just super sad to see someone in this forum asking (with possibly-imagined desperation), “Which of these dinosaurs are real??” What’s real and what’s not is confusing enough as it is these days without the intentional confusion already set in place by Spielberg’s weird creative insistences with the first film (T. rex “frog vision,” giant featherless Velociraptors, tiny frilled Dilophosaurus, Brachiosaurus standing on only its hind legs…pretty much everything in there was done wrong on purpose for unnecessary additional dramatic effect. They’re dinosaurs! If you need them to be MORE dramatic, you’re not as imaginative as people think you are.). It’s bad enough when someone can fake a video of Obama telling you whatever the comedian operating the CGI puppet wants “Obama” to say; now we have to deal with Erlidominus, etc. :wink: (At least use consistent naming conventions! Erliko- is the prefix so it should be Erlikodominus…but now I’m just a griping geek.) <3


#16

:slight_smile: Thanks but it was mostly just my time and passion, not my money. I was very fortunate with scholarships and field research grants. Anyway! Let the edumacation begin!


#17

Yes!!! This was me:

but I just got meh answers. I would love to know which existed and which didn’t… have “real world” knowledge as well as being a JWA geek. I play the game because since a visit to the Natural History museum in London aged 5 and then the first Jurassic Park film when I was 7 I became interested in dinos.

Great GREAT idea on the “proper” bios - again I would love this and am sure others would too!


#18

And it wasn’t imagined desperation lol, I genuinely would love to know! Have been meaning to do a spreadsheet on it and research myself, but working 2 jobs + kids + horses = no time yet! Plus really wanted an expert as it’s better than google research… no matter how good I am at that :wink:…!


#19

I answered your question in greater detail in that other thread:


#20

For now I like battling most with the more or less realistic dinosaurs (& other prehistoric creatures) ie far more than with hybrids… Not sure how far I can come this way without the hybrids, but I’m not in a hurry anyway. I also downloaded the app to get me out the house and walking around, and it works really well for this. I just got Erlikosaurus some week ago and I didn’t know this dino before I started encountering it in battles in JWA. Also really cool they are adding pterosaurs now btw!! :grinning: