Jurassic Park: Making steps toward a possible reality

August 3, 2015

st0803-01When Jurassic Park first came out in 1993, many people had fantasized about the way that the scientists in the movie used the blood from ancient mosquitoes to recreate dinosaurs.

However, the organic molecules in the blood containing protein and DNA degrade faster when the host dies. Therefore, there was no blood available from ancient mosquitoes to create dinosaurs.

As a result, Jurassic Park had declined in interest after its demise.

But in 2015, its sequel, Jurassic World shattered box office records and enlightened the scientific community once more.

Although no DNA has ever been extracted from dinosaur remains, other kinds of molecular and cellular preservation have been reported in fossils. As these preservations are very rare, they could be found where the animals are preserved in fine-grained laminated sediment.

Paleontologists have discovered 75 million year old blood cells. In the dinosaur’s claw and rib, paleontologists were able to find blood cells. Using an electron microscope to reveal details smaller than can be seen with light and a mass spectrometer to analyze their chemical composition, the researchers analyzed the fossils.

Although the bones aren’t the best of shape, they reveal how and why soft tissues are preserved. Because DNA cannot be extracted, creating or cloning a dinosaur isn’t possible as of right now. However, with the new data required from the preserved cells, scientists are able to start new research in regards to extinct animals.

What’s portrayed in Jurassic Park or Jurassic World still are not possible due to the degraded DNA in the cells. However, because of these discoveries, scientists have more information about cell shapes and the preservation of proteins that make up bones.

Being able to identify cellular structures and their organic components also means further studies on extinct animals might be able to be done. With all this conducted research, there is still one field in dinosaur physiology that is yet to be determined: the dinosaurs’ body temperatures.

Although Jurassic Park is still far away from completion, scientists are moving towards understanding more about dinosaurs’ fossil preservation and biology.

 

st0803-01-1 Eugene Chon
Troy High School 11th Grade

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