Years ago, I became aware of two distinct projects to recreate prehistoric creatures. It has been confirmed that it is not possible to find preserved dinosaur DNA in fossils, but there is PLENTY of dinosaur DNA in modern birds since they are their descendants. Over millions of years of evolution, the classical physical traits of dinosaurs were suppressed in birds. However, scientists have found a way to awaken those physical traits in bird embryos before they hatch. Once they work the bugs out of the system, they could create “modern” dinosaurs and they are starting with the chicken.
After successfully retro-engineering chicken embryos, they will look more like dinosaurs than birds. All of the inherent physical traits are in the chicken’s DNA, but they just need to be woken up. For example, they would develop long tails, hands instead of wings, teeth instead of beaks, and scales instead of feathers. Once they are done with chickens, scientists will be turning their attention to emus and ostriches. Then with a few more years of development, we would be seeing larger modern dinosaurs.
In addition to retro-engineering birds back into dinosaurs, scientists are also in the process of cloning the Ice Age megafauna such as the woolly mammoth. Compared to dinosaur DNA, megafauna DNA has been preserved in frozen specimens. They plan to use this DNA to impregnate modern elephants, which will give birth to elephant/mammoth hybrids. With enough hybrids, they would interbreed them in order to breed more pure-blooded mammoths. If luck remains on their side, scientists can find more preserved megafauna DNA and repeat this process with other animals. For example, they could clone the saber-toothed cat through lions, short-faced bears through grizzly bears, woolly rhinos through modern rhinos, and Megalania through Komodo dragons.
With all of this in mind, all of these projects have the makings of a real-life Jurassic Park. This would be a theme park I would go to. I can even envision a thirty-foot statue dedicated to Michael Crighton, who was the original visionary of bringing prehistoric life forms back to life, positioned at the front gate of the park. In addition to the Jurassic Park films and books, this park will be part of his ultimate legacy. The reason for this is because Michael Crighton ignited our imagination of what is scientifically possible.