For those who remember, Michael Crichton was the catalyst of the Jurassic Park science fiction film franchise. It was his first novel of the same name published in 1990 that got those genomes stirring. The five subsequent flicks that emanated from its popularity were Jurassic Park (1993), The Lost World (1997), Jurassic Park II (2001), Jurassic World (2015) and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). And it if that isn't enough, going forward, Jurassic fans will be happy to know that Jurassic World 3 will be coming to a theater near you in 2021.
While these fictional screenplays heightened demand, the Jurassic genre also triggered an interest in dinosaur DNA.'
The "Mr DNA" genome sequence in the first movie provided the basis for extracting DNA from the fossilized bodies of "dino-blood-engorged" mosquitoes, as was outlined in this video.
Well, that was Crichton's and Spielberg's 'playing god' solution for resurrecting dinosaurs. But what about the real world? Did scientists follow the Jurassic methodology for creating dinosaurs?
Mr DNA & the Real World
The concept of intact dino DNA contained within blood-sucking insects preserved in amber just doesn’t pass the smell test. This has been proven out by surfacing prehistoric mosquitoes. Unfortunately, there was no dino DNA contained within them. Scientists have affirmed it has long since degraded.
Plus, even if you could locate a strand of DNA, you would not be able to recreate a whole animal. DNA strands would be a starting point. But, the development of an animal inside an egg is a syncopated dance of genes, blinking on and off in tune to an exponential number of environmental cues. Basically, it's like a table-sized jigsaw puzzle missing several pieces after you toiled hours and days to reach the end.
In short, you need the perfect dino egg and all the intricate chemistry contained within it to make it trigger anything close to a dinosaur. The best you would get is a Frankenstein-dino-being.
The Answer lies in "Chickens"?
While we can't recreate a dinosaur, you might be interested to learn that dinosaurs never quite left us. Quite the reverse, as they are all around us – worldwide. Birds did not evolve from dinosaurs – they are dinosaurs.
Paleontologist Dr. Jack Horner, who has consulted on four of the Jurassic Park films, believes the answer lies within chickens.
"Of course birds are dinosaurs," noted Dr.Horner. "We just need to fix them so they look a little more like a dinosaur."
Horner states there are basically four major differences between dinosaurs and birds, namely their arms, tails, hands, and mouths. Presently, he and hs his research team have been manipulating certain genomes in chicken embryos to successfully reverse-engineer the bird's beak into a "velociraptor-like snout."
“Actually, the wings and hands are not as difficult,” Horner said, adding that a "Chickensoraus" -- as he calls the creation -- is well on its way to becoming reality. “The tail is the biggest project," he said. "But on the other hand, we have been able to do some things recently that have given us hope that it won't take too long."
Well, I guess chickens are a start, but a little bit boring, wouldn't you say?
I'm sure Dr. Horner and Spielberg will frog-leap over the "Chickensoraus" idea, to give us something bigger and badder in Jurassic World 3, coming to a theater near you. You might want to get that jumbo-size of popcorn 🍿 -- I'm thinking it's going to be a long tale . . . or is that, tail !!!
Primary Source: Scientific America