Weismann sought to illuminate the links between them. Churchill shows how Weismann’s experimental observations of chromo- some movements during cell division reinforced his germ-plasm theory. Weismann adapted ideas from leading cytologists and experimental embry- ologists such as Theodor Boveri and Wilhelm Roux, to link heredity and development through what Churchill calls his “architectonic view”. Instead of a holistic or vitalistic understanding of the organism, Weismann developed a more structural view in which the system depends on integration of the material parts, with guidance from the germ- plasm and its determinants. Develop- ment then constructs the organism out of cells, with reproduction providing a source of variation on which acts, enabling . Weismann was confident and some- times controversial. Churchill shows how disagreements helped Weismann The Indominus rex runs rampant in World. to work out his own ideas. He sparred, for example, with physician and biologist Rudolf Virchow over issues of acquired characteristics and the role of external Q&A Jack Horner factors in shaping variation. And Weis- mann clashed with zoologist Theodor Eimer about the apparent randomness of evolution. Dozens of leading scientists The dinosaur doctor influenced or interacted with Weismann palaeontologist Jack Horner has served as scientific adviser on the because of his central role in . The from the start. With the latest, , soon to be released, he talks about a shark- zoologist and illustrator Ernst Haeckel, devouring Mosasaurus, breeding back into and the influence of the for example, was a close friend, but his franchise on his own field. views diverged from Weismann’s in ways that influenced both men, and affected public perceptions of biology. We also see How did you get on its toes in a -like position, rather than the impact on Weismann of technically involved in the series? heel-first like a . In a kitchen scene, brilliant figures such as Boveri and theo- In the early 1990s, a the puppeteers had sticking out reticians including Darwin. Weismann in colleague called me forked tongues, which dinosaurs did not have. turn influenced his contemporaries and and said, “You’re in a Instead, we had the raptors snort to fog up the subsequent generations of Darwinians. book about cloning window, revealing that they had warm blood.

Even as his contemporaries began to dinosaurs” — Michael MUS. OF THE ROCKIES LEFT: specialize and to give up the study of con- Crichton’s Jurassic What are the innovations in Jurassic World? nections between heredity, development Park (Alfred A. Knopf, The has got ahead of the films, but we and evolution in favour of specialized 1990). I said, “I hope my character doesn’t get cannot really change the way the dinosaurs study of the parts or selected processes, eaten.” I never bothered to pick it up; I am look. If suddenly the raptors had , it Weismann worked hard to develop a dyslexic and have trouble enough keeping up would destroy consistency. But I did help to comprehensive understanding of . with my own science. Then director Steven render new creatures. You can see a , ENTERTAINMENT; UNIVERSAL PICTURES/AMBLIN TOP: Churchill has mirrored that determina- Spielberg called and asked whether I wanted a swimming , shoot up from a tion in developing a compelling and com- to work on the film. I thought growing a dino- tank to eat a great white shark. From my prehensive understanding of Weismann, saur was an intriguing idea, and I still do. It is research, I helped to ensure that the juvenile his ideas, work, life, contemporaries and a little far-fetched now, but I think one day we , with its backward-curving horns, context. ■ will be able to do it, not using -trapped looked distinct from the adult, whose horns DNA, but through genetic modification of curve forward. But my biggest job was helping Jane Maienschein is Regents’, President’s dinosaurs’ closest living relatives, . to create the ‘genetically modified’ Indominus and Parents Association Professor at rex, a combination of several dinosaurs and Arizona State University in Tempe, and What did work on Jurassic Park (1993) entail? other , which turns against its makers. adjunct senior scientist at the Marine My job was to find things that were obviously Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, wrong. In one scene, the puppeteers were hav- How plausible is such a dino-hybrid? Massachusetts. Her most recent book is ing trouble getting an animatronic Tyranno- Jurassic World is set in the future. If you can Under the Microscope. saurus rex leg to move properly. So I stepped clone a dinosaur, you can modify its DNA e-mail: [email protected] in to control the joystick, making the foot land and combine it with that of other animals. We

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Jurassic World already have lots of tools DIRECTOR: COLIN for modifying an . TREVORROW We have been breeding Books in brief Universal: 2015. them for centuries. Now we are getting to the point where we can take The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life genes out of one organism and put them Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski into another, for example taking fluorescent (2015) genes out of jellyfish and putting them into How do we cope with the knowledge of mortality? In this considered the embryos of other animals to make them treatise, psychologists Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg and Tom glow in the dark. The challenge is finding Pyszczynski present their “terror management theory”, positing that ways of changing a creature without killing we hold off existential fear through our cultural world view and sense it. And I think we will. of personal significance. Drawing on several disciplines and many experimental-psychology studies, they conclude that embracing Are you trying to breed birds back into ambiguity and cultivating meaning in life create the basis for the dinosaurs? finely calibrated courage that we need to face our inevitable end. In the Dino- Project at Montana State University in Bozeman, we are looking for the genetic pathways that provided the Empire of Tea: The Asian Leaf That Conquered the World transformation from dinosaurs into birds, Markman Ellis, Richard Coulton and Matthew Mauger Reaktion (2015) with the hope that some of those pathways ‘Tea’ has at least five meanings: the shrub Camellia sinensis; its leaf; can be reversed. Part of it is genetic engi- the dried commodity; the infusion made from it; and the occasion neering to see if we can get a long tail back for consuming the infusion. As Markman Ellis, Richard Coulton and on a chicken (D. J. Rashid et al. EvoDevo Matthew Mauger show in this stimulating volume, history is steeped 5, 25; 2014). My postdoc Dana Rashid has in the stuff. In eighteenth-century Britain, tea smugglers murdered screened mouse genes, looking for pathways customs officers; across the Atlantic, excise duty provoked the Boston that cause mice to lose their tails. If she can Tea Party. In 1920, say the authors, John Maynard Keynes “imagined find one that causes a similar reaction in a tea at the centre of the modern mercantile world”. With 290 billion reptile, it might be possible to reverse the litres of tea imbibed in 2013, the taste for it seems set to grow. process and grow a tail on a chicken.

Do the films do justice to the science? The House of Each film explains a bit of the science, for Tony Angell Press (2015) example through the dancing DNA cartoon in Wildlife artist and naturalist Tony Angell, who memorably explored the first movie. If people are wondering about corvid behaviour with John Marzluff (see N. Clayton Nature 484, whether the science in Jurassic World is real, 453–454; 2012), here turns to the . A self-confessed strigiphile, that is great for science. Jurassic Park brought Angell has had western screech owls (Megascops kennicottii) nesting out all sorts of students who wanted to switch outside his home in Washington state for 25 , and his exquisite careers into palaeontology. It channelled a monochrome illustrations testify to that intimate coexistence. Angell flood of graduate students to my lab, includ- delves, too, into the owl in culture, and the ranges and of the ing some of the best scientists I have trained. 19 found in . A treat for fans of these strangely remote, inquisitive, astonishingly sharp-eared and -eyed raptors. How have digital effects changed your work? For the first film, I would sit with and advise him on the motions of Move: Putting America’s Infrastructure Back in the Lead the dinosaur puppets. But Jurassic World had Rosabeth Moss Kanter W. W. Norton (2015) only one puppet on set — an injured sauro­ The US transport infrastructure is riddled with “pain points and pod. For the rest of the dinosaurs, most of my bottlenecks”, from delayed to crumbling bridges. So notes consulting was with the graphics people. Harvard business professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter in this propulsive study, which argues for an overhaul of US transport to boost the What do we know about how dinosaurs economy, ease commuting and curb emissions. Kanter delivers a behaved? number-crunched analysis of the state of road, and air transport, They were more like robins than . and details progress on intelligent transportation and smart cities. Their spikes and shields were too flimsy for But with government and industry preventing advances, the prime fighting and were more likely to be for display, hurdle, she notes, is a lack of political will at the top. like the bony crests on some modern birds. Some dinosaurs had feathers and probably ‘danced’ like birds. If you built a Jurassic Park, Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells it would be more like the Serengeti than Jaws. Helen Scales Bloomsbury Sigma (2015) I wrote a script once for a film where scientists Structurally elegant and often stunningly marked, seashells have come out of their time machine to see tricera- obsessed scientists for centuries — as attested by the millions housed tops dancing and showing off their coloured in ’s Natural History alone. In this engaging study of shields. Nobody would go to that movie. ■ molluscs, marine biologist Helen Scales covers a wealth of research on this vast phylum, from findings on shell shape and colour (rococo INTERVIEW BY JASCHA HOFFMAN formations may deter predators, whereas pigmented patterns could be a mollusc’s way of tracking its own construction process), to the This interview been edited for length and clarity. ecosystem services performed by oyster beds. Barbara Kiser

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