With the massive box-office success of Jurassic World came a renewed public interest in dinosaurs. And although the idea of bringing these ancient creatures back in modern times can seem scary as the movie shows, there are a group of paleontologists and geneticists that are seriously aiming for that.
In fact, they’ve been working on the project for years and one of the top paleontologists, Dr. Jack Horner, is actually the direct inspiration for Dr. Alan Grant, Jurassic Park’s own resident dinosaur expert. He has even served as Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur consultant for the film franchise.
Currently, Horner and his team believe that in 5 to 10 years time, we could soon be having real-life dinosaurs, albeit smaller, once again. How will they do it? Simple. They’ll use chickens.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Dr. Horner said:
“Of course birds are dinosaurs so we just need to fix them so they look a little more like a dinosaur.”
He further explained:
“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.”
Through genetic engineering, Horner and his team says they’ll be able to bring dinosaurs to life again.
In the past, they tried to use ancient strands of genetic code but failed since DNA degrades as time passes. So instead, they approached the project from the opposite direction – which is reverse evolution.
They have already succeeded in mutating a bird’s snout into a dinosaur-like snout. He added that turning the wings into hands is “not as difficult.” The tail, however, remains to be their biggest challenge so far although he believes it’s not impossible to achieve.
Let’s all keep our eyes peeled for this project’s development.