Dr. Jack Horner, a famed paleontologist who’s worked as a science consultant on all four Jurassic Park films and actually inspired the character of Dr. Alan Grant, now believes we’re now just five years away from being able to genetically engineer real-life dinosaurs.
Initially, Horner believed the best way to bring dinosaurs into our world was through ancient DNA found in amber (as we saw in the original 1993 Jurassic Park film). That method has now been ruled out, as DNA degrades far too much over time to make it viable, but the plot line of Jurassic World has given Horner and other scientists fresh inspiration in the form of the simple chicken.
“Of course birds are dinosaurs,” Horner said when speaking to People. “So we just need to fix them so they look a little more like a dinosaur […] Dinosaurs had long tails, arms, and hands – and through evolution they’ve lost their tails, and their arms and hands have turned into wings. Additionally, their whole snout has changed from the velociraptor-look to the bird-like beak morphology.”
“Just recently, within the last few weeks, were able to transform the head of a bird back to actually reverse-engineer the bird’s snout back into a dinosaur-like snout,” he added, citing a real study by a group at Harvard and Yale. The team are now working on reverse engineering the tail.
If we did manage to reverse the evolution of the chicken, we wouldn’t end up with the hard, scaly dinosaurs we see in the films, but then again it’s now believed that almost all dinosaurs actually had feathers. That would also have the added benefit of making them slightly less intimidating when they inevitably break out of their enclosures and start wreaking having on our cities… Looking forward to it.