Why Was The Triceratops Sick In Jurassic Park?

I was watching Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Jurassic Park over the weekend and my friend Reza had a question that I never actually thought about before: Why was the triceratops sick in Jurassic Park? Did it tie into the bigger plot of the film? We researched the answer, and I thought you might enjoy the result. Find out why the Triceratops was sick in Jurassic Park after the jump.

In the film we learn that the Triceratops is getting sick every six weeks or so. Dr. Ellie Sattler first believes the culprit may be the West Indian Lilac berries found nearby, but she is told that the dinosaurs don’t eat the poisonous berries. We don’t find out the answer in the film but the event is also in the Michael Crichton novel and thus we have an answer to the question of what made the triceratops sick. (In the book it was a Stegosaurus instead of a Triceratops, however.)

The scene, embedded above, where our main heroes stop the tour to investigate a Triceratops who is constantly becoming ill was probably in the film to serve a variety of functions: First it allows us as an audience to get up close and personal with a dinosaur and witness a magical moment. Secondly, it allows our heroes to become delayed, in result getting stuck in their tour vehicles as the tropical storm hits Isla Nublar.

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The triceratops digests food such as vegetables or fruit by also eating small stones that crush and mash the food in their stomach. In the original book upon which the film is based, we find out that the stones it eats are too close to poisonous West Indian Lilac berries. So when the dinosaur replaces the stones every six weeks it simultaneously picks up some of the fallen berries and is poisoned again.

Interestingly enough, while Spielberg didn’t have the time to answer the question in the film he does suggest the cause as we see Dr. Sattler crouch down by the Lilac berry bush and picks up some small stones, playing with them for a brief moment. This moment is apparently the remnants of a deleted scene which was filmed but never made the final film which would have explained the reason for the dino’s sickness.

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