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A friend and I were discussing how much it costs John Hammond to acquire each dinosaur in the Jurassic Park movies.

My friend thinks that they can cost up to $30,000,000 USD, but I believe that this is too much.

Is there any information given in the movie, interviews, or marketing materials that suggest how much a dinosaur would cost?

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    You mean the animatronic ones or the digital ones? – Catija Jul 23 '15 at 0:20
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    Also, we don't make guesses here, really. If someone from production quotes a price in an article, we can tell you that (and that's a big if), but we don't pull numbers out of mid air. – Catija Jul 23 '15 at 0:26
  • In Jurassic world the say the indominus rex is 26,000,000 usd – user23249 Jul 23 '15 at 0:47
  • I was talking about the dinosaurs inside the movie itself, How much does John Hammond had to pay? – Carlos Martínez Mendoza Jul 23 '15 at 5:13
  • @CarlosMartínezMendoza Well, I'd assume that each dinosaur costs different amounts... they may spend millions on developing a dinosaur like the Indominus but I seriously doubt that's what each dinosaur costs... most of them are probably quite inexpensive. – Catija Jul 23 '15 at 5:40
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To figure out the cost of creating a dinosaur, you can extrapolate from real life. Good sir, we live in the future!

Bio Arts, is one of a handful of companies that clones people's dogs. They charge a mere $150,000 to clone a dog. However, that process is much simpler than cloning an extinct animal. Any human IVF treatment has about a 34% rate of success, so for the sake of argument let's say it takes 3 tries to get the process right.

This is a good starting point, but doesn't take into account the paleontologist needed to locate fossils/amber with viable DNA, as well as provide the only available expertise on dinosaur biology. A paleontologist's salary costs approximately $80,000. It doesn't take into account the genetic scientist needed to compile fragmented DNA, an additional $200,000 salary. It doesn't take into account the lawyer needed to advise and protect your endeavor, another $300,000.

That comes to $1,030,000.

As you can see, the manpower adds up pretty quickly. I know I'm forgetting things. That number doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the number of people you'd need on your team over several years to successfully create a dinosaur. It also doesn't take into account the cost of raising, housing, and feeding said dinosaur.

But, if you just want to simply spawn a dinosaur, you might only be looking at a couple million dollars.

  • Are you getting the $150,000 number from somewhere on the Bio Arts site? I don't see any mention of pricing or offers anywhere. This gives the same number, but in reference to a different company (RNL Bio). – Etheur Jul 24 '15 at 14:51
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    Sorry, I was referring to this instance of pet cloning. I didn't check the Bio Arts site too carefully. Although it is the same company that was cloning dogs for $150k, they no longer clone pets. – R. Lang Jul 24 '15 at 15:27
  • Sounds reasonable for me, thank you! – Carlos Martínez Mendoza Jul 24 '15 at 17:39
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Obviously the main thing to note is that the two films are set decades apart. The costs will have changed dramatically.

Jurassic World

There's a quote regarding the cost of the I-Rex™. Masrani indicates that the total amount spent on the "asset" is in the ballpark of $26M.

Owen: You're going after her with non-lethals??

Masrani: We have $26 million invested in that asset. We can't just kill it.

Jurassic World

Now within Jurassic World, where they've had twenty years to get good at this stuff, I think we can assume that a run-of-the-mill stegosaurus or hadrosaur (where they've got the breeding techniques down pat) would be dramatically cheaper, probably in the region of a few million. Heck, they've even got kids riding on the damn things so they can't possibly be that expensive.

Jurassic Park

As a startup, the costs here are substantially higher. The source novel mentions that John Hammond has spent nearly a billion dollars developing the techniques used to create the dinosaurs. Those costs include the amber ($17M) the genetic sequencers ($24M) and the cost of the park itself ($100M).

Given that there are around 100 dinos on the island, that suggests a per-unit cost of about $50-60M spent on each animal. The flipside is that he's expecting to generate a revenue into the tens of billions each year, with the cost (per unit) declining rapidly now that the hard work has been done.

Donald Gennaro had come to Cowan, Swain from a background in investment banking. Cowan, Swain's high-tech clients frequently needed capitalization, and Gennaro helped them find the money. One of his first assignments, back in 1982, had been to accompany John Hammond while the old man, then nearly seventy, put together the funding to start the InGen corporation. They eventually raised almost a billion dollars, and Gennaro remembered it as a wild ride.

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There are three components to the price.

The first component would be creating an artificial egg and implanting an embryo in it. This is the science fiction portion of the process. In the original book, a new material had been developed that could mimic bird eggshell. I'm going to ballpark that each egg needed as much as 2 pounds of that material (would depend on the species though). Let's guestimate this material to be expensive, it's machined or maybe uses deposition, and will require ultra-pure raw materials. We'll say $1500 per ounce, so up to $50,000 per egg. The egg will need to be filled with the substance referred to colloquially as "egg white" and "yolk". These can be sourced from other, extant animals, but will undergo a biological cleansing process that removes foreign cells so there can be no rejection or chimera issues. This will require tens of pounds for the big ones. They do this now with some cartilage-like tissues for surgery, and the process can take days and cost upwards of $10,000 or even $20,000. Then, they'll source an embryo cell (ostrich, some bird probably), and do the cloning thing. That probably also costs quite a bit (thousands)... I know how they harvest these from mammals and livestock, but I'm unsure if they have to do it surgically to the bird before the egg is laid, or it they can do it after. All of this work is highly technical, and would require experts in their fields, so you can imagine they are paid well.

The second component would be incubating the egg, and raising the dinosaur to maturity. While there are no dinosaurs in the real world, there are large eggs that are artificially incubated, and large animals in zoos. We can assume that this portion of the cost is largely the same as it would be for keeping an elephant or giraffe. From this site they are claiming the average cost of an elephant, per year, is €100.000 a year. This can vary (and would be cheaper somewhat in a developing country), but this gives us a way to ballpark. Dinosaurs larger (and especially carnivorous) will cost even more to feed. It may cost more to safely contain them. I would double that number, at minimum.

The third component is the technological infrastructure for such a zoo. He needs DNA sequencers and other similar laboratory equipment. It's state of the art. Put it down for $100 million, maybe more. However, for any single dinosaur, you can't put the entire $100m on it... this would be amortized out, over many hundreds of dinosaurs. So less than a million each.

Thus, for a typical dinosaur, I am guestimating that this costs $500,000 to hatch one, and another $250,000 to keep one for a year, plus as much another another $150,000 in amortizing the infrastructure (for the labs alone, not the theme park).

They're somewhere between the high 6 figures and the low 7 figures.

As time goes on, they'd get cheaper, primarily through perfecting technique and having fewer duds.

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