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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 5th, 2013
06:50 PM ET

Science challenges accuracy of Jurassic Park

In a time long, long ago, 1993 to be exact, there were dinosaurs. Twenty years ago, Steven Spielberg released the formerly-extinct from their cages, and into the memories of millions with the movie Jurassic Park. On Friday, the iconic film returns in 3D - but we've learned a lot since its original debut.

"We have a new species coming from the southern continents that rival T-Rex in size, and have banana-size teeth. And new species even from western North America, here at home, that have claws longer than their hands, that look like giant Freddy Krugers," said paleontologist Nathan Smith.

Some of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park need wings, or at least feathers. According to The Natural History Museum, the toe-tapping Velociraptor featured in the movie, would have actually looked more like this.

"We have a striking array of fossils that have come out in the past ten to 15 years and show many non-avian dinosaurs actually possessed feathers," said Smith.

Turns out dinosaurs were also more vibrant.

"We don't know the full spectrum of colors that might have been out there, but we can get at some of the structural colors including certain blacks, iridescent blues, and also a ... color you might see in a robin," said Smith.

The biggest challenge to the film's accuracy is DNA. Last year, a team of researchers from Australia's Murdoch University released a study suggesting DNA can only survive intact for about 7 million years. That is about 170 million shy of the Jurassic period. So while a gastric brooding frog that vanished in the mid 1980's can, and was, briefly brought back from extinction last year, those older dinosaurs are permanently gone.

But maybe that's a good thing.

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