As if Jurassic Park’ through ‘Jurassic World‘ didn’t warn us enough, scientists in London discovered red blood cells in dinosaur bones, which lead to the potential of resurrecting dinosaurs. Perhaps one day we’ll be welcomed to a very real Jurassic Park.
Materials scientist Sergio Bertazzo and his colleague paleontologist Susannah Maidment were testing dinosaur bones from the Cretaceous period (meaning the fossils were around 75 million years old.) Using image enhancement and a mass spectrometer, Bertazzo and Maidment discovered red blood cells and collagen strands (or structural proteins) in the specimens. This discovery made them wonder if more existing fossils contain red blood cells.
While these findings can lead to answers in many areas including the physiology, behavior and diet of dinosaurs, there’s a chance that these cells may also contain viable DNA.
Perhaps this is where John Hammond (aka Richard Attenborough) would come in.
While under the right circumstances it may be possible to make a dinosaur from live genetic material, back in 2008 paleontologist Jack Horner suggested there might be a more efficient way to do so. By altering the genetics of birds (who are direct descendants of dinosaurs), one could activate dormant genes.
And this isn’t even conjecture!
In May, A team at Yale University published a paper in the journal ‘Evolution’ detailing their research into reverting a bird’s skull features to the skull of a small dinosaur such as a Velociraptor or Archaeopteryx. The scientists experimented on chicken embryos to reverse the molecular process that made dinosaur snouts evolve into beaks.
“Our goal here was to understand the molecular underpinnings of an important evolutionary transition, not to create a ‘dino-chicken’ simply for the sake of it,” stated paleontologist and developmental biologist Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar.
The embryos were “humanely euthanized”, but I would imagine that once Jurassic Park becomes a real attraction you can probably get a dino-chicken sandwich at the café.