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A Smithsonian paleontologist fact-checked the ‘Jurassic World’ trailer. His take? ‘Meh.’

A super-sized mosasaur snacks on a shark. (Universal Pictures)

The first trailer for “Jurassic World” came out this week, and skeptical paleontologists everywhere are raising eyebrows about the “Jurassic Park” franchise reboot.

As Hans-Dieter Sues, National Museum of Natural History Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, said in an e-mail to The Post: “Meh.”

“It looks like a standard monster movie,” Sues said after viewing the clip. “The prehistoric animals represent reconstructions from the 1970’s and ’80’s. The reconstructions are totally out of date.”

Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking "Jurassic Park" series, "Jurassic World." Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure from a screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly. (Video: Universal Pictures)

While still beloved by many dinosaur enthusiasts, the original “Jurassic Park” famously got a lot of things wrong when it brought the prehistoric creatures to life in 1993.  That includes calling what appears to be a sorta-deinonychus a “velociraptor,” the latter of which was likely much smaller than the terrifying creatures in the movie. 

Based on the new trailer, it appears “Jurassic World” will suffer from a similar fate when it comes to its reconstructions. Here’s a look at what scientists and dinosaur experts have flagged just from the first short glimpse at the new film:

Where are the feathers?

“The raptors and ostrich-mimic dinosaurs would have been feather-clad,” the Smithsonian’s Sues noted. The dinosaurs in “Jurassic World” are featherless, even though researchers now know that many prehistoric creatures would have sported feathers.

While some have argued that feathered raptors might not look quite as intimidating as the more nostalgic models seen in the trailer, Sues suggests another reason: “Animating feathers is hard, and the producers probably wanted to cut costs.”

Anyway, science says these dinosaurs should have feathers. I am #teamfeathers. But not every dino nerd agrees.

They’re way too big.

In a SeaWorld-like scene in the trailer, astonished audience members watch what is apparently a mosasaur jumping out of the water to devour a great white shark. Cool! But there’s just one thing…

“The mosasaur in the pool is twice the size as the largest actually known species,” Sues said. Plus, it should have a forked tongue. In the movie, it doesn’t. So there are two things off about the mosasaur.

Oh, and the frill on its back? Shouldn’t be there. Three things.

The movie got something right about the marine reptile, however — and it’s a weirdly obscure thing to get right: Its teeth.

There’s another creatively super-sized prehistoric creature in “Jurassic World,” based on the trailer: Unless the film’s first line about the park’s infamous velociraptors is followed by a scientist chiming in with “actually…” and correcting the species name, it seems safe to assume that the velociraptors are still way too large.

This is probably not the right bug. 


Reptiles don’t have thumbs. They just don’t. Iguanodons don’t count – they had hand spikes.

So it was much to the dismay of many paleontologists that the hybrid dinosaur at the center of the new film appears to have full-blown thumbs. They show up in a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it moment about 2:08 minutes into the trailer. It’s inconclusive, but quite possibly another box to tick on the checklist of the “Jurassic” franchise’s wild disregard for what we actually know about dinosaurs.

Sure, there’s a single 2006 study suggesting that it was possible one species of dinosaur  – the bambiraptor – might have sported semi-opposable digits, but Sues called the study’s claim “dubious. “Even if valid, that would be different from the opposable thumb in primates,” he wrote, which is what the freaky hybrid dino appears to be sporting. Maybe. 

But that hardly means that the entire prehistoric animal enthusiast community will be boycotting “Jurassic World” over its, uh, nostalgic approach to dinosaurs.

For his part, Sues thinks audiences are in store for a Godzilla-like monster move, but not a “realistic portrayal of actual extinct animals.” The movie buff, who thought the first Jurassic Park film was “a great, imaginative piece of film-making,”  adds: “Frankly, the JP franchise jumped the shark a long time ago.”