March 10, 2019

Jurassic Park (1993)

I'm wondering how much they've thought this through. Ironically enough, Jack Horner -- the paleontologist upon whom Michael Crichton based the character Alan Grant (Sam Neill) -- is the scientist making this big announcement:

While Dr. Jack Horner, who has consulted on all four Jurassic films, initially believed the key to recreating the prehistoric creatures lied in working with ancient DNA strands, further study about DNA degradation over time has since ruled out that possibility.

Instead, a group of scientists at Harvard and Yale have turned their eye to -- wait for it -- the modern-day chicken. “Of course, birds are dinosaurs," Horner told People magazine. "So we just need to fix them so they look a little more like a dinosaur."

In an attempt to reverse evolution, the team has already made significant strides in mutating chickens back to the very creatures from which they descended. If that wasn’t enough genetic splicing and dicing, Harvard scientists attempted a similar feat recently by inserting the genes of a woolly mammoth into elephants in order to recreate the extinct beasts.

I'm on Ian Malcolm's side of this equation: Nature selected dinosaurs for extinction for a reason. The capability to genetically engineer a dinosaur from a chicken is not a rationale for it being a good idea to do so.

The movie didn't end well for almost everyone involved. Why do these scientists think that things will be different in real life?

I'm encouraged by the notion of innovation in genetic manipulation, as it portends to addressing issues like curing cancer and chronic illnesses in humans. But that said, I can't see how bringing back creatures that didn't survive 65 million years ago is something we should even consider.

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