Saturday, August 15, 2015

Jurassic Park: First cycle

The Lost World - Tina - beach - compy
"I found something!"
After the Introduction and the Prologue, Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park naturally flows in the book's First Cycle, which consists of five chapters and further setting the stage for the rest of the book. Let's recap.

Almost paradise

In synopsis: It's July. Tourists Mike Bowman and his family, wife Ellen and daughter Tina, have driven to Cabo Blanco for a day of fun and nature. Cabo Blanco is a biological reserve on the West Coast of Costa Rica. Tina decides to play on the beach, where she soon runs into a chirping three-toed animal the size of a chicken. She is bitten.


In synopsis: The Bowmans race off to the Clinica Santa Maria in Puntarenas. Her left arm was covered in blood, caused by many small bites, and foamy saliva. The bite marks cannot be identified, with Tina's description of the animal causing confusion. Dr. Guitierrez, a researcher at the Reserva Biológica Carara, isn't aware of any three-toed green lizards attacking people.  There had been an incident with a lizard biting a baby in its crib in Amaloya (a 100 kilometers from Cabo Blanco), but he had not heard of any attacks like Tina's. Guitierrez identifies the lizard as a Basiliscus amoratus.

The beach

In synopsis: Not at al sure about his identification - lizards simply don't bite people, and there had also been attacks at Vásquez and Puerta Sotreto - and curious about the possiblity of a new species, Guitierrez goes looking for the Basiliscus lizard. He finds a howler monkey snacking on a curious brown-striped lizard, obtaining the specimen and sending it to professor Edward H. Simpson, a renowned zoologist at Columbia University in New York.

New York

In synopsis: The medical faculty of Columbia soon after sends Guitierrez a fax stating that there is no histological or immunological evidence for communicable diseases. He decides to let his investigation rest. At the clinic of Bahía Anasco a newborn baby is killed by a trio of three-toed lizards.

The shape of the data

In synopsis: The nurse on guard decides not the report the lizard incident, fearing that she might be reprimanded. At the university laboratory in San José, meanwhile, the saliva sample of Tina Bowman's arm is being analyzed. The sample contains large quantities of serotonin and a molecule weight of 1,980,000, one of the largest known proteins. The lab also discovered traces of gamma-amino methionine hydrolase, which is a main marker for gene manipulation. It was deemed a lab contanimation and went unreported. 

Now let's dig.

Cabo Blanco Jurassic Park
  • The Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve (red circle) is a nature reserve in Costa Rica, situated in the province of Puntarenas. It covers an area of 12.7 km² and is home to the San Miguel Biological Station which supports teaching, research and enviromental education. There is a considerable variety of mammals in the park, from Howlers to White-face monkeys, White-nosed coati, marine birds, fish, crabs and mollusks. 
  • The Reserva Biológica Carara/Carara National Park (blue circle) is a national park near the coast of Costa Rica. It first was established as a biological reserve, but was upgraded to a national park in 1998. It lies 30 miles west of San José and covers an area of 52 km².
Basiliscus basiliscus
  • Basiliscus amoratus is a fictional basilisk lizard. Basiliscus is indeed a genus of lizards, with four species documented so far: the Common basilisk (Basiliscus basiliscus), the Red-headed basilisk (Basiliscus galeritus), the Plumed basilisk (Basiliscus promifrons), and the Striped or Brown basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus). Basilisks can sometimes run bipedally.
  • Amaloya, Puerta Sotreto and Vasquéz are fictional villages.
  • The Deparment of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B) at Columbia University is a relatively new department, established in 2001.
  • Gamma-amino methionine hydrolase is a fictional protein.
In the movie...

The Lost World (1997) - At the very start of the movie, we see the wealthy Bowman family making a trip to Isla Sorna during a yachting cruise. Their young daughter wanders off and is attacked by a pack of Procompsognathus. 

< Next chapter: Second cycle >

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