Could dinosaurs like Jurassic World come back to life?
Dinosaurs dominated the planet for more than 140 million years, before their reign ended with a major asteroid strike.
Is it possible to carry these long gone reptiles back from death and, if we did, would we really want them to be alive?
Is there a Jurassic Park?
The classic idea of dinosaur resurrection starts with a mosquito packed with DNA, which has been frozen in amber for millions of years. But is this a probability of science, or simply resigned to fiction?
Amber is a tree resin that, due to high pressure and temperature, has fossilized and endured conditions after spending thousands of years covered by sediment layers. Over time, the resin is hard to shape a gemstone desired for thousands of years by humans.
The dinosaur DNA which could be preserved inside amber-entombed blood-sucking insects is of interest since DNA contains the genetic information for the growth and function of all living things. Can ancient amber-recovered DNA act as a genetic blueprint to recreate the extinct animals?
This amber specimen from Lebanese is from the Early Cretaceous Period. This is about 120 million years old.
That means Jurassic Park probably isn’t really feasible. But the search for dinosaur DNA isn’t ending. Blood traces were found in ancient insects-they were found in amber.
‘A story came out of the Eocene several years ago about a mosquito-that is about 45 million years old, or about 20 million years after the dinosaurs died out. The mosquito was in the lake’s sediments, and had a red pigment in the abdomen. When chemical testing of the pigment they discovered porphyrins derived from haemoglobin.
These are the haemoglobin breakdown products, which is the red protein that carries oxygen in the blood of nearly all vertebrates throughout the body.
When blood is stored under some conditions, this does not mean that scientists can find DNA in it. And even though a dinosaur’s blood was discovered inside an ancient insect, it is not guaranteed a chance to recreate the reptile from it.
‘Even though you find blood or soft tissue, you don’t usually find DNA.’ Ancient DNA has been retrieved from permafrost and subfossils – bones or parts of the body that have not yet been fossilized.
But DNA is fragile, and rapidly breaks down. Sunlight has harmful effects and water will speed up oxidation as well. Modern pollution is an problem too. DNA must be treated on strictly regulated terms.
The oldest DNA currently discovered is around one million years old, but may be younger. DNA would have to be classified 66 years later to get to the age of dinosaurs.
Is there a dinosaur we should clone?
Over time, DNA breaks down. The oldest DNA currently discovered is around one million years old, but may be younger. DNA would have to be classified 66 years later to get to the age of dinosaurs. Although bones of dinosaurs will live for millions of years, DNA of dinosaurs almost certainly does not.
Yet some scientists are still looking for it – just in case.
So it looks like cloning a dinosaur is off the table but reverse engineering would be an easy way to revive the extinct creatures. This includes beginning with a living animal and moving backwards into ancient dinosaurs, attempting to reverse evolution for at least 66 million years.
‘What would it eat because the grass hadn’t grown back then? What is his purpose, where do we place it, does anybody possess it? ‘An effort to revive dinosaurs raises many scientific and ethical caveats-making items to place in zoos or theme parks such as Jurassic World is definitely not the solution.
Yet for now dinosaurs must certainly stay locked in the past. Yet in some cases, using genetic engineering to bring back extinct species may be considered acceptable.
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