Have you seen the Jurassic Park movie blockbuster since 1993 and you wonder, "Can this really happen? Can the dinosaurs ever come back? "The idea that these mighty beings can once again walk on our Earth again is, for most people, both fascinating and terrifying at the same level.
Even real-life scientists are intrigued whether the evolutionary process can bring us back to the Tyrannosaurus. But Susie Maintmant, a spy paleontologist at the London Museum of Natural History, quickly rejected the idea that a mosquito filled with DNA stored in amber for millions of years – as in Jurassic Park – can help recreate an extinct dinosaur.
"We have mosquitoes and biting flies from the time of the dinosaurs and keep them in amber," says a Maidment statement. "But when the amber keeps things, it tends to keep the scales, not the soft tissues. So mosquitoes do not store blood in amber. [Is It Possible to Clone a Dinosaur?]
Researchers have found blood vessels and collagen in the fossils of dinosaurs, but these components do not have a real DNA dinosaur in them. Unlike collagen or other healthy proteins, DNA is very fragile and sensitive to the effects of sunlight and water. The oldest DNA in the fossil is about 1 million years old, and the dinosaurs died about 66 million years ago.
Maidment added, "Although we have what seems to be mosquito blood up to 50 million years old, we have not found DNA, and to recover something, we need DNA."
Jamal Nasser, a genetics scientist at Northampton University in the United Kingdom, said he would not rule out the idea of dinosaurs developing from the dead. In his view, evolution is not fixed or planned. In other words, everything can happen. Evolution is largely stochastic [randomly determined]and evolution must not necessarily go forward; it may have several directions. I would argue that returning to dinosaurs is more likely to happen in the background because the blocks are already there.
Of course, Nasser pointed out, there must be appropriate conditions for the re-emergence of dinosaurs. "It is clear that one can imagine viral pandemics that could disrupt our genomes, our physiology and behavior beyond our control," he said live. This, in turn, can create the right conditions for evolution to take on the path to the rediscovery of ancient reptiles.
However, while evolution may not be targeted in any particular sense, something we know is that we do not see the same animal evolving again. "We can see an animal that is closely related to such an ecological niche – for example, the Ichthyazars are marine reptiles with long sharp snouts and dolphin-like body shapes and tails," she said. "Today we see the dolphin, and they probably occupy a similar ecological niche, but we would not describe the dolphin as a ichthyosaur because they have no anatomical characteristics that allow them to be ichthyoses." [What If a Giant Asteroid Had Not Wiped Out the Dinosaurs?]
Besides, the dinosaurs have never disappeared altogether, said Maintant. Birds evolve from dinosaurs that eat meat, and thus in a strict biological definition, everything that has developed from this common ancestor is a dinosaur sharing the same anatomical characteristics, she said.
"Dinosaurs are still with us," said Maintant. "They say the dinosaurs have disappeared, but only non-bird dinosaurs have disappeared.
Some scientists even deal with the evolutionary process by trying to turn the engineer chicken into a dinosaur called the "pilaser." But this beast, if ever done, would not be a copy of a dinosaur, but rather a modified chicken, explained Jack Horner, a research associate at the Burk Museum at the University of Washington.
Things have changed dramatically for 66 million years, and if one day a dinosaur has evolved back to Earth, it will be for a very different world.
"An animal that has disappeared naturally, maybe 150 million years ago, will not recognize anything in this world if you return it," said Maintant. "What will you eat when the grass is gone? [yet] evolved then? What is its function, where do we put it, someone owns it? "
However, it may be best to let dormant dinosaurs lie, she said.
Originally posted on Live science,