Genetic modification and bio-printing recreate the dinosaurs

Exactly 37 years to the day since the movie Jurassic Park was released, the world’s first real dinosaur park, with living, breathing dinosaurs, has opened in South America.

After it emerged that trying to extract and reactivate dinosaur DNA from fossils was a dead end, scientists turned to genetically modifying birds, which we now know descended from various dinosaur species.

Plenty of Virtual Reality experiences to enable mankind to ‘meet’ dinosaurs emerged over the last decade, but this is the first time tourists can see the real thing. DinoWorld in Chile is set to become a global hit, as first-day bookings were sold out months in advance.

“For generations people have had an obsession with dinosaurs,” said Professor Raoul Mendez, who headed up the program to create the dinosaurs. “Now you can meet them face-to-face. This works because all our DNA contains the complete history of our evolutionary steps – that’s why we can reactivate the genes that give birds the teeth and scales of their dinosaur ancestors.”

The good news – or sad for some – is that Mendez and his team have carefully avoided creating the killer dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex, Utahraptor and Mapusaurus. Instead, the creatures at DinoWorld are all plant-eating and reasonably small in size.

Among the first species on display are Stygimoloch, a human-size plant-eater, and the feathered and toothless Citipati.

So – are there plans to create the monsters? “Let’s wait and see how the science emerges,” says Mendez.

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