The film version of Dilophosaurus is a cloned species of the theropod dinosaur of the same name.

Divergences from the real dinosaur

The cloned Dilophosaurus had very abnormal traits that the original never had. These traits include a frill, venom glands, and a skull that resembled dromaeosaurids like Deinonychus and InGen's recreation of Velociraptor. The frill would expand and rattle when attacking or when preparing to attack.[1] The Masrani backdoor suggests that this venom came from the DNA of Dendrobates leucomelas (Yellow-banded poison dart frog) as Dr. Wu notes that genetic structure of Dilophosaurus was compatible with that species of frog.[2]

The Dilophosaurus encountered was also noticeably smaller than the original dinosaur.[1] Though it is never directly stated in the films themselves, the films and supplementary material have explained the Dilo's small size as the one seen on-screen as being or implied to be a juvenile. In a Empire magazine article released two months after the first film was released the Dilophosaurus was described as a "baby".[3]



Dilophosaurus was recreated by InGen[1] in their compound[4] on Isla Sorna where they raised by the workers there until a few months had passed where they would be transported to the neighboring island of Isla Nublar for InGen's Jurassic Park.[5] They resided in the Dilophosaur Paddock of the park.[1]

Isla Nublar Incident (1993)

The endorsement team was meant to see the Dilophosaurus in its paddock during their tour of Jurassic Park, but no Dilophosaurs revealed themselves to the visitors.[1]

File:JP1 DilophosaurusHides.jpg

When Dennis Nedry turned off the park's security systems so he could steal InGen's dinosaur embryos, Dilophosaurus was one of the many dinosaurs that were free to roam the island. One such Dilophosaur stalked Nedry himself when he was trying to get his vehicle unstuck out of a fallen tree limb. Feeling uneasy, Nedry stopped rope towing his jeep to face his stalker that was right behind him. Dennis Nedry tried to trick the dangerous dinosaur into fetching a stick for him, but the Dilophosaurus showed little care for the stick outside of the brief sound it made when it hit the forest floor. Angered that his trick was unsuccessful, Dennis Nedry jeered the Dilophosaur before running back to his jeep. But when he was climbing up the hill to get to his vehicle, the Dilophosaurus followed in pursuit and began to spit its venom at Nedry. The Dilophosaur's first attack failed to reach his eyes and its prey increased the pace of his escape only for its next spit managed to hit its target. While Dennis Nedry was wiping the stinging venom from his eyes, the Dilophosaurus went inside his vehicle where it proceeded to kill him once he got into the driver's seat.[1]

It is unknown if there were any surviving populations after the Isla Nublar Incident of 1993. It might have become wild on Isla Sorna after Hurricane Clarissa struck the island because Dilophosaurus was a screensaver for one of the computers inside the Fleetwood RV Mobile Lab in 1997.[6]

Jurassic World


No Dilophosaurus were known to have been held publicly in Jurassic World, nor were listed on its official website as attractions, but the Innovation Center included it in the Holoscape, along with Velociraptor, Spinosaurus and other dinosaurs created by InGen but not kept on display in the park. The glass of the Gyrosphere is designed to protect visitors even from them, meaning that it could have been in the park at one point.[7]

During the second Isla Nublar incident, the holographic display of Dilophosaurus from the Holoscape was briefly used by Gray Mitchell to distract the Velociraptor Delta while he, Claire Dearing, Owen Grady, and his brother Zach Mitchell escaped the building.[7]

Behind the scenes


Adapted from its novel counterpart. The Dilophosaurus was designed by Mark "Crash" McCreery who designed all the dinosaurs of the first film. Paleoartist Mark Hallett, who was hired to create to give advice and guide the film's concept artists and computer animators in creating accurate dinosaurs,[8] also created a maquette made out of Sculpey that was baked in his own studio oven in Oregon and later drew character studies of the Dilo.[9] The Dilophosaurus that appeared in Jurassic Park was purposely made smaller than the actual animal per Steven Speilberg's decision out of fear that audiences would confuse the Dilo for Velociraptor.[10][11] Another departure from the real animal, Hallett recalls that Speilberg requested that the Dilo have a shorter and snake-like head.[9] McCreery has said that when designing the Dilophosaurus, he started with the skeleton of the real animal and evolved his drawing from the skeleton.[10] John Gurche claims to have been the one who conceived the idea of the Dilophosaurus having a frill when he was given an assignment by the film's art director for a scene where Dr. Alan Grant get's the main characters "out of a jam". Gurche had conceived the frill as being only used a threat display against males and other animals, rather than an indication sign that it is about to spit.[12]

Shane Mahan recalls that Speilberg originally wanted the Dilo's spit to be yellow-green color, but after Stan Winston Studo created the goop that would represent the spitter's spit, Speilberg though the spit "looked too much like the pea-soup stuff from The Exorcist."[13]


Because of its minor role, the filmmakers were able to not fully follow the storyboards involving the Dilo completely.[14] Similarly, Shane Mahan—head of the Stan Winston Studio team who created the Dilophosaur—went ahead and created the full-sized animatronic without making a full-size maquette, his reasons being that he was confident that his team did not require a full maquette to create it and because he "wanted to get right into the actual character."[15]

File:Content jurassic-park-spitter-blog-8.jpg

The Stan Winston Studio team responsible for the creation of the Dilophosaur animatronic analyzed frame by frame a documentary featuring an ostrich which the used to create the hopping gait of its animatronic. Initially, a cam operated mechanism was created for one of its legs to follow the gait of an ostrich before a different mechanism was chosen. This later mechanism were rods coming out of its feet going beneath the floor and operated by a puppeteer.[16] Inspired by the Steadicam, Rick Galinson created the concept for its neck.[15] Each spring in the neck and head were sprung differently with each spring being heavier from the head the to the body, providing realistic movements.[16] This head mechanism had originally been proposed for the raptor, but Stan Winston Studio was not convinced that it work had an animal that large, so the steady cam mechanism was transferred to the Dilophosaurus. After the mechanism was crated, Stan Winston was impressed by what Galinson had done and applied it to the animatronic of the Velociraptor's head and neck, scrapping an alternate design for the raptor animatronic.[15]

The animatronic had three interchangeable heads: the frill in a lowered position, mechanized to allow the frill to open, and lastly the frill open and able to rattle as well as the ability to spit.[17] The frill itself was a sheet of latex rubber glued onto some support rods hooked to a pulley. When activated it rotate out and forward at the same time as it was coming off the animatronic Dilo's neck. Its ability to spit was a paintball mechanism with the spit itself being a mixture of KY Jelly and food coloring. Underneath the tongue of the third head were two holes for the tubing that would have high-pressure air pumped through them to allow the animatronic the ability to "spit". The rest of the body, such as the head, tail, and arms were radio controlled.[16] Cable-actuated insert legs were also created to portray the Dilo's hop when it initially approaches Nedry. The hopping was created by the legs being suspended from stage catwalks on bungee cords.[18][17]


For the filming of Nedry's demise, a trench was built on the set for the path the Dilophosaurus would take as well as so that Shane Mahan could support and puppeteer the Dilo's legs while a crane above supported its body and the rest of the team responsible for its creation radio-controlled the other body parts of the animatronic upstairs. Because of the copious amount of water that was to be on the set during shooting, the soundstage used in the filming of the scene had a water tank underneath the set and was supposed to drain into the Los Angeles River, but the drainage system did not function well. This caused water to overflow into the puppeteering area, which lead to Mahan being given a riser to stand on just to get at least some of the water off of him, but the water level only got higher. The roaring of the water made it difficult to hear out of his headset making him unable to hear the film crew, which made him rely on video monitor stacked onto some Snapple boxes. But water got so high that this monitor floated away from Mahan and was rising to his chest. However, this was toward the end of filming and filming of the scene was filmed without Mahan drowning.[19][16] Director Steven Spielberg thought that the Dilophosaurus was going to be the easiest practical dinosaur to film in Jurassic Park, but was disappointed by the problems that occurred when filming of the scene.[3] The Dilophosaurus and Triceratops are the only dinosaurs to appear in Jurassic Park that did not use CGI, only using animatronics.


The sounds of the Dilophosaurus came from various sources. The hooting sounds it made were created from a swan call while the screeches it made when preparing to spit were created from a mixture of a hawk, howler monkey, an egret (that has a raspy call), and sound designer Gary Rydstrom making a croaking sound to give the dinosaur some body and weight. The rattling of its frill was also created from a rattlesnake and a "very exotic" insect.[20][21] [22]

In pop-culture

The Jurassic Park depiction of Dilophosaurus has been taken up by others. Several other video games, such as ParaWorld, Jurassic: The Hunted, Nanosaur, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, feature Dilophosaurus modeled after the representations in Jurassic Park. In Primal Carnage, the Dilophosaur can spit poison over long distances, but it doesn't have a frill. The Whitest Kids U'Know sketch "Dinosaur Rap" (a music video for Trevor Moore's "Gettin' High With Dinosaurs") features a Dilophosaurus, complete with a short frill.


The Jurassic Park trading card of Dilophosaurus incorrectly states that it is forty feet in height.[23] If this were the case that would mean the crested dinosaur would be taller than Spinosaurus and Tyrannosaurus as well as both its real life and film counterparts. This seems to have been an error by the publisher as the card "A Dilophosaur Drops By" gives a more accurate height of four feet for the film's Dilo.[24]

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Jurassic Park
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sears, Rufus. (October 12, 2014) How Jurassic Park Became The Biggest Movie Of All Time. Empire Online, first published in Empire Magazine #50 (August 1993).
  4. Jurassic Park III
  5. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  6. 50px This can be proven to be Dilophosaurus because in The Making of Lost World: Jurassic Park by Jody Duncan shows that a computer screen featuring Dilophosaurus was created for the film.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jurassic World
  8. Hallett, Mark. (Spring 2013) Remembering Jurassic Park. Prehistoric Times, 105, p. 47.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Hallett, Mark. (Spring 2013) Remembering Jurassic Park. Prehistoric Times, 105, p. 49.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Duncan, Jody. (August 1993) The Beauty in the Beasts. Cinefex, 55, p. 81
  11. Shay, Don, Duncan, Jody. (June 7, 1993) The Making of Jurassic Park, pp. 35-36. Ballantine Books. ISBN-10: 034538122X. ISBN-13: 978-0345381224.
  12. Kartzman, Mark. (2001) John Gurche Interview Artzar (archived from the original)
  13. Duncan, Jody. (August 1993) The Beauty in the Beasts. Cinefex, 55, p. 84
  14. Jurassic Park Topps trading cards: #92 - Likeable But Lethal
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 The Making of Jurassic Park, p. 35
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 JURASSIC PARK's Spitter - Building the Dilophosaurus Dinosaur puppet
  17. 17.0 17.1 Duncan, Jody. (November 1, 2006) The Winston Effect: The Art & History of Stan Winston Studio, p. 177. Titan Books. ISBN-10: 1845761502. ISBN-13: 978-1845761509.
  18. The Making of Jurassic Park, pp. 113-114.
  19. Duncan, Jody. (November 1, 2006) The Winston Effect: The Art & History of Stan Winston Studio, pp. 177-178. Titan Books. ISBN-10: 1845761502. ISBN-13: 978-1845761509.
  20. The Making of Jurassic Park documentary
  21. The Making of Jurassic Park, p. 144.
  22. Buachann, Kyle. (June 9, 2015) You’ll Never Guess How the Dinosaur Sounds in Jurassic Park Were Made. Vulture.
  23. Jurassic Park Topps trading cards: #4 - Dilophosaurus
  24. Jurassic Park Topps trading cards: #44 - A Dilophosaur Drops By