The Real Jurassic Park?

So there’s a billionaire in Australia, who, according to the Daily Mail (raise an eyebrow ceremonially) is going to be building a real-life Jurassic park. I hope for the sake of my faith in humanity that he realizes, and has taken into consideration, how much more difficult it is to clone a dinosaur than a sheep.

Apparently this guy’s already been behind some pretty crazy ideas in the past so it’s not surprising that he’s thinking about building something that science hasn’t managed yet.

First and foremost, you need DNA. Surely the amount of damage a molecule with the stability of DNA takes over tens to hundreds of millions of years, will greatly reduce the likelihood of finding a molecule complete enough to create an entire dinosaur? Perhaps well-preserved dinosaur DNA exists somewhere that I’m not aware of, but given the many attempts you may need, and given the complication surrounding the actual birthing of the dinosaur… well, you’d probably need a fair bit of it.

When we talk about resurrecting prehistoric species people usually point to the woolly mammoth, and one of the reasons why this could be done in future generations is that woolly mammoths have extant relatives that are similar in both genetics and morphology. In theory, the DNA of a woolly mammoth could be placed into a [fertilized?] egg (God, I hope I’m getting the science right here) and implanted into a female elephant. There are problems with this still however, the differences between the two species could still cause problems.

And when we think about this in terms of dinosaurs, the closest thing we have to them today is, well, all of the birds. If you wanted a T-Rex you’d have a challenge on your hands, and I’m not sure how much more complicated this process gets when you’re talking about an organism growing in the egg of another. Would it even be possible for, say, an ostrich egg to give a dinosaur what it needed to hatch?

Needless to say, the issue is a lot more complicated than the Daily Mail thinks.

But isn’t it always?


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