Could a real-life Jurassic Park be coming our way in just a handful of years? If one man who has been consulting on the franchise for years is to be believed, the answer is a resounding (and quite possibly concerning) maybe. According to paleontologist Jack Horner, such a thing may be as little as five to ten years away.
Jack Horner has been consulting on the franchise, including on the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, since the beginning and is a respected figure within his field of research. During a recent interview, Horner revealed that, via very different methods than depicted in the Jurassic Park movies, we could see bioengineered dinosaurs in the world someday soon. Basically, the idea would be reverse engineer birds to make them more like dinosaurs. Here's what he had to say about it.
"Of course birds are dinosaurs. so we just need to fix them so they look a little more like a dinosaur...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."
In Jurassic Park, the scientists use preserved dino DNA from mosquitos. We've since come to learn that idea isn't feasible, but making a "Chickensoraus," as Horner calls it, is very much within reach. Horner says, "just recently, within the last few weeks, were able to transform the head of a bird back to actually reverse-engineer the bird's snout back into a dinosaur-like snout." So we're one step closer to a potentially very bad idea becoming a reality. Horner further explained how this could all work.
"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. 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...We can make a bird with teeth, and we can change its mouth. And actually the wings and hands are not as difficult. We're pretty sure we can do that soon. 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 Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies are basically five action-packed examples of why we probably shouldn't try and make dinosaurs exist again. Yet, here we are. We're reminded of the famous Ian Malcolm quote from the first movie; "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom arrives in theaters this weekend. This news comes to us courtesy of People.