Jurassic  Park

Wilmette Theatre Wilmette, IL


Dr. Peter Makovicky

Evolutionary Biologist; Associate Curator of Paleontology and Chair, Department of Geology, Field Museum

Jurassic Park— How Dinosaurs Evolved

A discussion of dinosaur evolution. 

Wilmette Theatre Wilmette, IL

Film Synopsis

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Two dinosaur experts, Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), are invited by eccentric millionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) to preview his new amusement park on an island off Costa Rica. By cloning DNA harvested from prehistoric insects, Hammond's scientists have recreated living dinosaurs for the exhibits. Accompanied by a cynical mathematician who is obsessed with chaos theory (Jeff Goldblum) and the millionaire’s two grandchildren (Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards), the experts are sent on a tour through the resort in computer-controlled touring cars. But as a tropical storm hits the island, knocking out the power supply, an unscrupulous employee (Wayne Knight) sabotages the system so he can smuggle dinosaur embryos out of the park, and the dinosaurs rage out of control. Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, Steven Spielberg directed the first installment of this epic sci-fi adventure film.

About the Speaker

Dr. Peter Makovicky is associate curator of paleontology and chair of the Department of Geology at the Field Museum. He is interested in issues relating to Mesozoic biogeography and faunal change, and the interplay between phylogeny and the fossil record.

Dr. Makovicky's research focuses on dinosaurian evolutionary history with a particular emphasis on the clades Ceratopsia (the horned dinosaurs) and Theropoda (carnivorous dinosaurs, including birds). Much of his research has been dedicated to fieldwork-driven documentation of dinosaur biodiversity and systematics, and he has hunted for dinosaurs on five continents. Dr. Makovicky uses dinosaurs as model systems to study broader topics in evolutionary biology. He has also engaged in research on biomechanics, scaling, dinosaur trackways, and behavior.

Dr. Makovicky makes use of many analytical techniques such as transmitted light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, computed tomography, and laser surface scanning in his research.