Dinosaurs ruled the Earth for approximately 140 million years until being wiped off by a massive asteroid. Is it even feasible to bring these long-dead reptiles back to life, and if so, would we want to? For most people, the prospect of these powerful beasts roaming our planet again is both exciting and scary.
Blood vessels and collagen have been discovered in dinosaur remains, however, these components do not contain dinosaur DNA. DNA, unlike collagen and other tough proteins, is very delicate and susceptible to the impacts of sunshine and water. Dinosaurs went out around 66 million years ago, and the oldest DNA in the fossil record is around 1 million years old.
“We have what seems to be blood from mosquitos up to 50 million years old,” Maidment continued, “but we haven’t discovered DNA, and we need DNA to rebuild something.”
A scientist from the University of Northampton in the United Kingdom, Jamal Nasir, said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of dinosaurs resurrecting from the dead. Evolution, in his perspective, is neither fixed nor planned. To put it another way, anything might happen. “Evolution is essentially stochastic [randomly decided], and it does not have to proceed in a forward manner; it can take numerous paths. Going back to the dinosaurs, in my opinion, is more likely to happen in reverse since the building blocks are already in place.
While evolution may not be directed in any way, Maidment contended that the same animal does not evolve again. “We may observe a closely related species occupying a comparable ecological role,” she explained to Live Science. “Ichthyosaurs, for example, were marine reptiles with long pointed snouts and dolphin-like body forms and tails.” “Today, we encounter dolphins, and they most likely share the same biological niche. Dolphins, on the other hand, would not be classified as ichthyosaurs since they lack the anatomical features required to be classified as such.”
Dinosaurs, after all, never truly went out, according to Maidment. Birds originated from meat-eating dinosaurs, and anything that arose from this common ancestor, according to rigorous biological definition, is a dinosaur, possessing the same physical features, she explained.
Some researchers are even attempting to reverse engineer a chicken into a dinosaur known as the “chickenosaurus.” According to Jack Horner, a research associate at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum, this beast would not be a copy of a dinosaur, but rather a modified chicken, if it ever comes to reality.
“Bring Back the King: The New Scientific of De-extinction,” by science writer Helen Pilcher (Bloomsbury Sigma), “would mark a landmark point in the history of the Earth; an end to the finality of extinction.”
Helen Pilcher’s book “Bring Back the King: The New Science of De-extinction” (Bloomsbury Sigma)
“Cells with Celia’s DNA were implanted into goat eggs that had been cleansed of their genetic content two years later.” The eggs began to split after a brief electrical shock.”
The embryos were put in the wombs of “surrogate mother goats,” and while most of the pregnancies failed, one succeeded.
On July 30, 2003, one of Celia’s clones was born, making history the first time a species was brought back from the brink of extinction. Her condition, however, did not improve. Her lungs were “grossly malformed,” and she died seven minutes later, making her the first person to become extinct twice.
What if a hungry mosquito ate a dinosaur and then became stuck in amber, with its last meal still within its stomach, many millions of years ago? It could be feasible to “raise a dinosaur” if a dinosaur blood cell could be recovered from inside that mosquito and transplanted into an egg that has had its DNA extracted.
Although this notion seemed far-fetched, it wasn’t completely absurd. George Poinar, an entomologist at the University of California in Berkeley, devoted his career studying million-year-old insects trapped inside amber-hardened tree resin. Normally, they were in good shape on the surface but “a dismal mess” on the inside, but in 1980, he discovered a fly that “defied expectation,” with cells remaining intact after 40 million years. This was just what Tkach had predicted.
While she acknowledges that there are credible scientists who believe it can be done, she warns that we shouldn’t hold our breath. Finding the raw materials to construct a dinosaur is, to say the least, a huge undertaking.
Nonetheless, starting in 1992, paleontologist Mary Schweitzer achieved a series of breakthroughs, including the discovery that dinosaur fossils “contain chemicals found in red blood cells” and that some forms of dinosaur tissue may “survive fossilization.”
Continuing her research, she discovered that protein molecules had also survived, prompting the Guardian newspaper to speculate that her results “hint to the enticing potential that scientists may one day be able to replicate .Jurassic Park’ by cloning a dinosaur.”
“Even though dinosaurs were comprised of protein (and a variety of other chemicals), we won’t be able to recreate one from a few ragged fragments of collagen. Pilcher compares it to “trying to build the 5,195-piece Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon with only a few bricks and the image on the box.” “It’s hard to tell what the other bricks should be or how to put them together without the instructions.”
A series of discoveries in the 1990s claimed to have recovered DNA from as far back as 120 million years, including an 80-million-year-old dinosaur bone. Nobel Prize-winning scientist Tomas Lindahl, however, refuted these assertions, demonstrating that “DNA just can’t live over these types of time frames” due to the way it breaks down. In 2012, “a research revealed that DNA has a half-life of just 521 years,” proving his assertion.
This indicates that “every single connection would be broken after 6.8 million years, rendering DNA retrieval from remains older than this impossible.
Making things to put in zoos or amusement parks like Jurassic World is unlikely to be the answer to resurrecting dinosaurs, both scientifically and ethically. As a result, dinosaurs are likely to remain dormant for the time being. In certain cases, though, utilizing genetic engineering to bring extinct species back to life may be regarded as appropriate.
Things have changed dramatically over the last 66 million years, and if a dinosaur resurfaced, it would be to a completely different planet.