The mega-hit “Jurassic World” opened over the weekend, stomping box office records and drawing huge crowds to the special-effects heavy dino-fest.
As media noted, “The dino sequel demolished nearly every short-term box office record in the book this weekend with a massive $208.8 million domestic debut and a $524 million worldwide debut, both the largest ever.”
What may be lost in the mixed reviews and discussions over the film’s scientific accuracy is that the origins of “Jurassic World” go back much further than 1993′s Oscar-collecting “Jurassic Park,” long before Steven Spielberg or “Jurassic Park” author/screenwriter Michael Crichton were born.
The plot of humans living alongside dinosaurs was actually first made popular by the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Doyle’s 1912 novel “The Lost World” was serialized in magazines and told of explorers finding an existing group of dinosaurs in the jungles of South America. Though presented in a faux-news story format (the subtitle is “Being an account of the recent amazing adventures of Professor George E. Challenger, Lord John Roxton, Professor Summerlee, and Mr. E. D. Malone of the ‘Daily Gazette’”), Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes-cemented reputation for fiction surely prevented anyone for mistaking it for a true story.
“The Lost World” has fallen out of copyright and is now public domain and available free online.
Dinosaurs have been a source of amazement and wonder to generations of today’s children but it’s only been in the past half-century or so that complete dinosaur skeletons have become commonplace in museums.
To readers in Conan Doyle’s era, parts of the world remained only recently and partly explored, and it seemed plausible to many that dinosaurs might remain to be discovered in remote parts of the South American or African jungle — in fact even today some believe in the mythical mokele-mbembe a dinosaur-like creature said to be up to 20 metres long, with brownish-grey skin and a long, flexible neck living in central Africa.