Beach Skin Sample Slides (C/N)

There are four slides that Elizabeth Gelman made from the tissue sample Dr. Ian Malcolm sent her. While he visited her at the  San Francisco Zoo, she presented them to him in a small private conference room. The first slide was a closeup of the remains and consisted of animal tissue in a very advanced state of necrosis, the sample measured four centimeters by six centimeters. Attached to the sample was a green plastic tag, cut by a dull knife from what she could tell.

The second slide was a microscopic view; “…a gross histologic section through the superficial epidermis.” There were patchy, ragged gaps where the postmortem necrotic change eroded the surface of the skin. On this slide the density of the chromatophores, which are the pigment bearing cells, could also be seen. The difference between melanophores and allophores could be seen on this slide as well. Elizabeth noted that it was suggestive of lacerta or amblyrhnynchus, a lizard. On the left side of the projector screen she pointed out that there was a slight rim around a cell, leading her to believe it was muscle, and that the chromatophore could open and close. So the creature could change the color of its skin like a chameleon. There was also a large oval shape with a pale center. It was the pore of a femoral scent gland, indicating that it was a male, since only male lizards have femoral glands. The white waxy substance within was still being analyzed at the time of his visit.

The third slide was a view of the subcutaneous layers, which were highly distorted from the clostridia infection that caused the gas that bloated the dead animal. The vessels were surrounded by smooth muscle fibers, which is not a characteristic of a lizard, but rather is a characteristic of warm-blooded creatures. “Not really mammalia, but perhaps avian.”

The fourth slide was a microscopic view of the small sample of blood that was extracted. Elizabeth indicated that the nucleated red cells are a characteristic of birds, not mammalia. Atypical hemoglobin, which was different in several base pairs from lizards was found. There was an aberrant white cell structure as well. While they did not have enough material to fully determine it, they suspected that the animal had a highly unusual immune system.

Quotes found in the Jurassic Park novel: First Configuration – Tag (page 57 in the paperback edition)