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Dear Piper: De-extinction Denier

Dear Piper,

Do you think that dinosaurs will ever come back?

-Anonymous

Dear De-extinction Denier,

Well Jurassic Park may not be opening up soon, but some scientists believe that the dinosaurs coming back is a very real possibility. That might sound cool to some people, but it gives me heart palpitations. 

So you are a Nervous Nelly when it comes to the return of the dinosaurs-you probably should be because they could easily kill all of us. Easily. I honestly don’t think you get how easily they could kill everyone and everything.  

But if that is what you are into, you will be happy to hear that scientists are looking for dinosaur DNA to create a clone of one. Once they have the DNA, they can inject it into an egg that they have stripped of its DNA. The egg would probably be a crocodile or chicken since they are descendants of the dinosaurs. Since there are still descendants of dinosaurs among us, dinosaurs are not completely lost from the world. 

Other scientists are trying to alter crocodiles and chickens to make their traits related to the dinosaurs more prevalent. So as terrified as I am to say this, Jurassic Park might be reality. What can I say? Life imitates art. 

Scientists have not been able to get DNA from any of the samples that they have found. A small group of scientists are very hopeful that a mosquito bit a dinosaur and then was promptly preserved in amber. Then the DNA of the blood from the dinosaur in the mosquito would be usable to clone a dinosaur. (For more information on this for you nerds, check out https://nypost.com/2017/01/07/how-scientists-actually-could-bring-dinosaurs-back-to-life/

It also talks about the first time an egg was stripped of its DNA and injected with the DNA of an extinct goat. Spoiler alert: the goat goes extinct twice.) 

While this seems ridiculously far fetched to me, entomologist George Poinar studied million year old insects preserved from the inside of trees that hardened into amber. He didn’t find any dinosaur DNA, but found out that amber is a great preservative.

If you are wondering how good of a preservative amber is, then first you are a nerd. Secondly the cells were still in tip top shape after 40 million years. So amber can for sure preserve cells for 40 million years, which makes me look lazy. 

But of course as many scientists that believe that bringing back the dinosaurs is plausible, there are as many saying that it is not plausible. Tomas Lindahl is a Nobel Prize winner and a guy that is calming my nerves about this whole de-extinction thing. He is also a biochemist, which is cool too. He believes that there would be no way for dinosaurs to come back since all of their DNA will be broken down by now. 

I am hoping that Lindahl is right or this may be the last you hear of me. Honestly, all of those quizzes that tell you how long you would survive in a horror movie have me dying first. So if that is the case, it’s been nice ranting to random asks and I hope that Chris Pratt saves you with his shirt off. Tell him I love him and that I think he looks better chunky. 

Sincerely,

Patricia Piper 

To get a response from Patricia Piper, email asks to hercampus@hamline.edu or message us on social media.

 

Patricia Piper is a proud Hamline student who loves long walks on the beach, reading and helping people. She has a PHD in interpretive dance. loves to rescue cats in her free time and has about twenty in her house at one time.
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