Jurassic World takes place 20 years after Steven Spielberg’s hit film Jurassic Park and revolves around the bioengineering company InGen creating a hybrid dinosaur called the Indominous Rex.
Due to genetic tampering, the Indominous is very aggressive and managed to get out of her cage. She then wreaks havoc and even manages to convince the velociraptors that were being trained by Own Grady to turn on the humans.
At first glance, the Indominous Rex appears to be the villain of the piece. After all, she killed other dinosaurs for sport and had no problems chowing down on humans. However, upon closer examination, the Indominous Rex is actually the tragic figure of the film and InGen is revealed to be the true villains.
Near the end of Jurassic World, Dr. Wu admits the Indominous Rex was specifically engineered to be aggressive because Hoskins was interested in designing weapons for the U.S. military.
Psychology Today points out that genetics play a huge role in determining an animal’s temperament. In the real world, responsible dog breeders only breed animals that are physically healthy and mentally sound in order to avoid any behavioral issues, such as fear or aggression.
The genetic tampering performed by InGen unwillingly caused the death of the second Indominous Rex. The older hybrid killed and ate her younger sibling right after they hatched. Essentially, the Indominous was the product of bad breeding and InGen’s lack of caution when designing the hybrid led to the deaths of dozens of people.
However, even though the Indominous was not mentally sound, InGen still could have managed her potential issues. If InGen and Masrani Global were smart, they would have socialized the young Indominous with either Rexy or Blue and the other Velociraptors. After all, the Indominous was created using a wide variety of DNA, including from the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Velociraptors. The older dinosaurs could have taught the young Indominous social skills, which may have helped to curb her aggressive tendencies.
The late animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin pointed out that puppies who miss the crucial socialization period tend to be fearful with unfamiliar environments.
Given the Indominous’s unstable temperament and lack of socialization, it is very likely that she killed the other dinosaurs and humans sent to contain her because she was terrified.
Finally, InGen could have avoided the entire incident if they also allowed Owen to train the Indominous the same way he trained the Velociraptors.
“Much like working line dog breeds, such as the Belgian Malinois, intelligent animals need plenty of positive reinforcement training in order to keep from becoming destructive.”
In the film, Owen respected the Velociraptors and was always gentle with them because he knew they were not domesticated animals. Even when the Indominous convinced her new allies to attack the humans, Blue and her sisters never hurt Owen or his fellow trainer Barry because they remembered how both men were kind towards the pack. Claire even admitted at the beginning of the movie that the Indominous grew up in isolation, which worried Owen because animals that grow up all by themselves often have behavior problems. To make matters worse, the only positive interaction the Indominous ever had was with the crane used to feed her.
If Owen had been allowed to train her, that would have kept her from being bored and she might not have been so desperate to escape if she had something to occupy her mind.
Much like working line dog breeds, such as the Belgian Malinois, an intelligent animal needs plenty of positive reinforcement training in order to keep from becoming destructive.
Celebrated dog trainer Victoria Stillwell notes that using positive reinforcement on aggressive dogs is the best way to manage a dog with behavioral issues. If Owen had used positive reinforcement on the Indominous, he could have successfully managed her aggressive tendencies and she would have been a happier, healthier animal.
At the end of the day, the blame for the second incident on Isla Nublar lies firmly on the shoulders of InGen. They were the ones who disregarded the link between genetics and temperament and insisted on breeding an animal to be a living weapon.
The Indominous Rex is the most tragic figure in the franchise because she never had a chance to be a normal animal due to the odds being stacked against her. InGen is the real villain because they decided to breed animals willy-nilly without thinking of the consequences to both the human visitors and the dinosaurs. Somewhere amidst the action, violence, and CGI, Jurassic World was sending us message: be careful how you train your pets.