Dinosaurs: Maybe life can find a way

A controversial palaeontologist thinks we might have all the DNA necessary to recreate dinosaurs - in chickens.

Scientists managed to tweak poultry DNA to grow alligator-like teeth and a dinosaur-like snout instead of a beak. The creatures would not be recreations of a once-extinct species but a human-engineered version of how they think dinosaurs have been.

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theguardian.com

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Plausibility of Jurassic Park

In 1993, Newsweek ran an article affirming the scientific plausibility of Jurassic Park. They pointed out that two Berkeley scientists announced that they had cloned 40m-year-old bee DNA after finding the insect preserved in amber.

But to replicate a dinosaur genome, you would need billions of DNA building blocks. They could not harvest more than 250. Moreover, the amber-based experiments of the bee DNA finding were likely based on false results. Lastly, no one has ever found any dinosaur DNA since DNA degrades over time.

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Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for 175 million years

Dinosaurs first appeared between 247 and 240 million years ago. An extinction event wiped them out 65,5 million years ago, except for the avian dinosaurs.

Scientists think the extinction was likely because of an asteroid impact, chemicals from erupting volcanoes, climate change and other factors.

The ABCs Of DNA

Your DNA is different from everyone else’s. It determines many of the characteristics that define you, like the color of your eyes or whether your hair is straight or curly.

DNA is much easier to find in the “soft parts” of an animal – their organs, blood vessels, nerves, muscle and fat.

But a dinosaur’s soft parts are long gone. They either decomposed or were eaten by another dinosaur.

Dinosaurs by different names

People have always known about dinosaurs but called them by different names.

  • Old legends that put Western dragons in caves or underground may have originated with fossils.
  • The plumed serpent is described in mythologies of Mexico and Latin America.
  • The Rainbox Serpent of Aboriginal tales was since the beginning of time.
  • The Asian dragon combines features of many animals.

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