In Jurassic Park, dinosaurs were brought back to life after scientists grabbed their DNA from a bug encased in amber. Not a bad idea, but in real life, 66-million-year-old DNA would be way too degraded to be of much use, says Hans Larsson, a paleontologist at McGill University. “Maybe there is a way, but we haven’t found it yet.”
By Kate Lunau|MOTHERBOARD
Larsson and a few other scientists are trying a different approach to bringing back the dinosaur: resurrecting the long-extinct animal’s traits in a living ancestor, the chicken. It’s an idea that’s been popularized by paleontologist Jack Horner (the real-life inspiration for Alan Grant in Jurassic Park), who frequently talks about his wish to make a “Chickenosaurus.” We might just be getting closer. In a new experiment, scientists in Chile say they’ve managed to grow dinosaur-like legs on a chicken.
Just about everybody, scientists included, has fantasized about bringing the dinosaurs back
Bird embryos start out early in their development looking more like dinosaurs, with a fibula bone in the leg that reaches down to the ankle, and matches the tibia. In grown-up birds, it’s splinter-like and shorter than the tibia.