Scientists believe they can recreate living dinosaurs within the next few years. However, we're not sure that's a very good idea.
We already know what's going to happen at the end of this one.
Life imitating art is really interesting and it would be amazing if scientists could tell us about extinct species by creating lifelike specifics to observe and understand. However, there is one absolutely terrifying case. The renowned paleontologist who served as the inspiration for Jurassic Park protagonist Dr. Alan Grant is spearheading genetic research that is aimed towards bringing the most dangerous creatures in world history back to life. In his opinion, the research could possibly engineer dinosaurs into existence once again within the next five to 10 years. Renowned paleontologist Dr. Jack Horner has shared his expertise and played the role of a consultant on all four of the Jurrasic Park movies. He believes that the initial idea of trying to recreate DNA to bring back extinct creatures is not the way to about it considering that most DNA is degrading over time. He claims to have found a new method.
Instead of focusing on degrading DNA, the scientists at Yale and Harvard have turned their attention to...(drum roll)...the modern day CHICKEN! As reported by PEOPLE, Horner says “Of course, birds are dinosaurs," which is slightly arguable. He continues, "So we just need to fix them so they look a little more like a dinosaur." A team of scientists is making an attempt at reversing evolution. They are trying to make the chicken mutate back into the creatures it originally descended from. At the same time, scientists recently injected the DNA of mammoths into elephants in an attempt to bring the wooly beasts back to life.
Scientists believe that they should start on a small scale first before they can bring back the gigantic and dangerous beasts. Hence, the chicken. According to Horner, there are only four major distinctions between dinosaurs and chickens - their tails, hands, arms, and mouths. “Dinosaurs had long tails, arms, and hands – and through evolution, they’ve lost their tails, and their arms and hands have turned into wings. Additionally, their whole snout has changed from the velociraptor-look to the bird-like beak morphology," said Horner. However, he claims that the team of scientists has already tried to flip certain genetic switches in the chicken embryo.
This genetic change has been done in order to reverse engineer the bird's beak into one that looks like the mouth of a dinosaur. Other genetic switches have been either planned or already made in an attempt to bring back as many of the deadly creature's characteristics as possible. According to Horner, the team of scientists from Harvard and Yale managed to successfully bring back the dinosaur-like snout in place of the beak. Currently, the doctor is working on retro-engineering the tail portion back into existence. Genetic changes are being made to embryos again.
“Basically what we do is we go into an embryo that’s just beginning to form, and use some genetic markers to sort of identify when certain genes turn on and when they turn off,” explains Horner. “And by determining when certain genes turn on, we can sort of figure out how a tail begins to develop. And we want to fix that gene so it doesn't stop the tail from growing.” With the success that was seen in bringing the snout back, Horner believes that the "chickensoraus" will become a reality within the next five to ten years. Slowly, they will be able to recreate dinosaurs, maybe even create new species altogether.
“We can make a bird with teeth, and we can change its mouth,” he says. “And actually the wings and hands are not as difficult. We’re pretty sure we can do that soon.” He further mentions that “the tail is the biggest project. 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.” The reason why Horner says that birds are dinosaurs is that the ancestors of birds are dinosaurs. Almost every bird species that has ever existed has been an evolution of the ariel dinosaurs. Only the land dinosaurs and some of the marine ones truly went extinct. The birds, they just adapted and mutated naturally.
So in a way, if you think about it, dinosaurs still live among us. It's just slightly disappointing to know that a pigeon or a sparrow falls under that category of once deadly creatures. Susie Maidment, a vertebrate paleontologist at London's Natural History Museum, said, "Dinosaurs are still with us," in an interview with Live Science. "They say dinosaurs went extinct, but only the non-avian dinosaurs went extinct. Birds are dinosaurs, and birds are still evolving, so we will certainly see new species of birds evolving — and those will be new species of dinosaur."
"An animal that died out naturally, perhaps 150 million years ago, is not going to recognize anything in this world if you bring it back," Maidment noted. "What is it going to eat when grass hadn't [yet] evolved back then? What is its function, where do we put it, does anyone own it?" Things have changed drastically in the last 66 million years. The animals from the ice age or the era of dinosaurs most probably will not be able to survive in the present climate. They were built for a different era. The reason behind the past five mass extinctions was mostly the change in climate. It is only the upcoming mass extinction that has been fueled by man. This being said, the creatures will need to be kept in specially controlled temperatures that replicate the climate of the time they were on the planet. It's best we let the past be in the past and not try to bring creatures we will most certainly regret, back to life.