The Dinosaur That Inspired Jurassic World's Indominus Rex

Jurassic World introduced us all to the Indominus Rex, the franchise’s first genetically modified hybrid dinosaur. A bunch of scientists, including B.D. Wong’s Dr. Henry Wu, took DNA from a bunch of different dinos and merged them together to create Mother Nature’s angry accident baby. As such, she’s a fearsome foe, but the coolest part about Indominus is that her look is based on an actual dinosaur. 

Jack Horner, a paleontologist and a scientific advisor on Jurassic World, spoke to Yahoo Movies about the creation of Indominus Rex and it all leads back to the Therizinosaurus. He said:

I started the process with a dinosaur called Therizinosaurus that has big grasping arms. That was the most important thing — the grasping arms and its color. It’s white.

BBC aired a special event called Walking With Dinosaurs: Inside Their World that put a spotlight on this unique animal. Check out an image of the Therizinasaurus below. 

I Rex

The dinosaur stood 30 feet tall and its limbs extended to 11 feet. To compare, Indominus is said to be 44 feet tall. When the remains of this creature were discovered in 1948 in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, its claws were mistaken for turtle ribs. Paleontologists eventually corrected this oversight and gave the Therizinosaurus a name that means "scythe lizard." 

Claire Dearing, a Jurassic World executive played by Bryce Dallas Howard, notes Indominus’ creepy coloring, something that the beast uses to gain advantage over her victims. Unlike Indominus, which also goes around killing for sport, the Therizinosaurus was not a meat-eater. Instead of slicing, it used its extended arms and claws to rake up leaves and defend itself against imposing threats. 

The Indominus Rex is a sum of its parts, and there are many parts. Aside from the base look of the Therizinosaurus, it has DNA from cuttlefish, snake, and frogs, and a couple others that prove to be problematic for Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady and all the unfortunate souls who decided to visit the Jurassic World theme park on this one fateful day.

After creating such a dino-tastic abomination, Universal will no doubt up the ante for the Jurassic World sequel. Though one hasn’t officially been announced, Pratt is contractually obligated to appear in more installments, and the film continues to ramp up its box office numbers, which means a sequel is not far behind. The studio will likely want to capitalize on the success, and get going on production sooner rather than later. After all, it was almost 14 years since we last saw a Jurassic Park movie in theaters.