Scientists Create Dinosaurs By Tinkering With Chicken DNA

Illustration for article titled Scientists Create Dinosaurs By Tinkering With Chicken DNA

If dinosaurs are the ancestors of chickens, could genetic engineers turn the clock back on chicken DNA and recreate T-Rex? A Canadian researcher thinks it's possible, and has begun experiments to do just that.

According to AFP:

Hans Larsson, the Canada Research Chair in Macro Evolution at Montreal's McGill University, said he aims to develop dinosaur traits that disappeared millions of years ago in birds.

Larsson believes by flipping certain genetic levers during a chicken embryo's development, he can reproduce the dinosaur anatomy, he told AFP in an interview.

Though still in its infancy, the research could eventually lead to hatching live prehistoric animals, but Larsson said there are no plans for that now, for ethical and practical reasons - a dinosaur hatchery is "too large an enterprise."

"It's a demonstration of evolution," said Larsson, who has studied bird evolution for the last 10 years.

"If I can demonstrate clearly that the potential for dinosaur anatomical development exists in birds, then it again proves that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs."

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Larsson says he was inspired partly by the movie Jurassic Park. Did he somehow manage to miss the message of that flick, and the Michael Crichton novel that inspired it? Don't turn your chickens into dinosaurs, unless you've got Godzilla (or Jeff Goldblum) fighting on your side.

via Xenophilia

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DISCUSSION

Michael Crichton was an anti-science prick. Go science!

I still love Jurassic Park though, even if I disagree with its message. It's message is that 'nature finds a way', in other words humans can't control nature. Well, all I saw was a big and possibly dangerous park that relied on one person for all of their security, and who was clearly in financial trouble. We have zoos around the world with nearly as dangerous animals and do just fine. Also, why not have dedicated backup generators for all the fences? And why expect the dinosaurs to be so quick to survive against the odds when they are evolution's most famous extinction?