Jurassic Park Will Never Happen: Get Over It

I'm going to put a big disclaimer right here: before you watch this video, understand that while Michio Kaku is a very, very bright man, whose books I have enjoyed quite a bit, he is a theoretical physicist. Not a biologist, or a paleontologist, or a geneticist. So why would the folks behind Big Think choose him to talk about the possibility of clone a dinosaur? I really don't know.

A couple things about what he discusses in the video. First, the confirmation on a genetic level that dinosaurs are related to birds isn't really anything new. Scientists have pretty much agreed on that for the last 15 years. Modern birds are classed as a subgroup of theropods. Second, and because of this lineage, Kaku's suggestion that we might grow a cloned dinosaur in a crocodile egg is ridiculous. Reptile eggs are thin and weak, and susceptible to the slightest change in environment. Better to use the heartier Ostrich egg, or better yet, a synthetic egg medium, designed specifically for this sort of laboratory growth.

The soft tissue he mentions in the video is probably a reference to the Brachylosaurus found mummified in 2007. This was an extremely rare find, of a practically impossible situation wherein a dinosaur was well preserved at the time of death. The condition of this body is an anomaly, and nothing we can rely on discovering again. Add to that the fact that the soft tissue inside the bones is better then likely a bacterial growth, or other byproduct of the mummification or excavation process, and that despite it's preservation, it would be impossible to extract any usable DNA from.

More likely, is the last point he makes, about turning on and off specific genes to create not a dinosaur, but a chickensaurs, as Jack Horner details in his book, How To Make A Dinosaur. But it would be no more a dinosaur then turning on our genes to make something resembling a monkey, but a far cry from a chimp.

The idea of dino cloning will never go away. Because we all want it, and always will. Some people want to see monsters, other want to see beautiful creatures. But until they bring back the mammoth, as they've been promising for nearly 20 years, or recreate the Dodo bird, or the Tasmanian Tiger, or hell, rebreed the depleted Rhino or Tiger populations that currently still exist, lets leave the high hopes in the back pocket.

And leave biology to the biologist, and physics to the physicists.

Via Dino Tracking.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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