A paleontologist who consulted on the “Jurassic Park” movies acknowledged that he delayed the announcement of a dinosaur find in Montana at the studio’s request to help promote one of the film sequels four years ago.
The acknowledgment by Jack Horner was in response to a National Public Radio report Wednesday that looked at the promotion of the movie and the discovery in Montana of one of the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever found.
Horner, who is one of the nation’s leading fossil hunters and works at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, said that the skeleton was discovered in June 2000 and excavated the following year. The announcement was not made until just before the 2001 release of “Jurassic Park III.”
He said that when he told Universal Pictures about the discovery, “when they chose to announce it, it was up to them. I didn’t care.”
But he disputed a part of the NPR report that said he “fudged” the discovery date so that news of find would come out closer to the movie.
“What was fudged? Nothing,” Horner told The Associated Press. “The discovery dates are put in our notes. When somebody finds something, you write it down; you can’t alter it. There wouldn’t be any reason to alter it.”
NPR spokesman Chad Campbell said Thursday that NPR stands by its story.
NPR’s report looked at the marketing of movies and TV shows and raised questions about the impartiality of paleontologists who have financial ties to Hollywood.