Dinosaurs tend to split opinions. People seem to be either endlessly fascinated by the enormous beasts or indifferent and rather pleased that they do not have to share a planet with them. Neuralink’s co-founder, Max Hodak, has a business partner who splits opinions too. He set up the brain-computer interface company with Elon Musk. Hodak’s latest pronouncement on recreating dinosaurs is far from uncontroversial.
It is reported that a real-life Jurassic Park could be a possibility if someone decided that they wanted to create it. The latest Jurassic Park movie shows dinosaurs and humans co-existing on the planet, and most people assume that it could never be anything other than fiction. Hodak’s comments on his Twitter feed have therefore caught people’s attention.
The tweet said, “We could probably build Jurassic Park if we wanted to. It wouldn’t be genetically authentic dinosaurs, but maybe 15 years of breeding + engineering to get super exotic novel species.”
It is an unexpected departure from Neuralink’s ordinary activity. The company’s website talks about understanding the brain and using technology to help overcome neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Neuralink aims to do this by a process called neural stimulation via an implanted chip. They have previously released footage showing their chip being implanted into a pig’s brain and a monkey’s brain.
The website makes no mention of cloning or species recreation, which is what would be required to bring the dinosaurs back to life. When Hodak said ‘we,’ one must assume that he wasn’t referring to the work Neuralink is undertaking but to the scientific community in general. Genetic researchers would probably be the best people to consider the feasibility.
The overall consensus is that while it might be possible, it would be mind-bendingly tricky. But, as we have seen with Musk’s Starlink project and Tesla production, difficulty is not something that is necessarily a barrier. After all, the billionaire has designs on creating a liveable planet on Mars. So how hard could it be to bring back dinosaurs compared to that?
To date, scientists have managed to clone animal species. Dolly, the Sheep, was the most famous example, but they have also cloned wolves, dogs, cats, and monkeys. However, there is a considerable leap between cloning an existing species and recreating an extinct one.
Hodak is undoubtedly interested in biodiversity. In another tweet, he said
“Biodiversity (antifragility) is definitely valuable; conservation is important and makes sense. But why do we stop there? Why don’t we more intentionally try to generate novel diversity.”
In the film, Dr Wu says that dinosaur DNA was extracted from a mosquito preserved in amber. The mosquito had bitten the dinosaur, which is why it was carrying the DNA. This DNA is then combined with frog DNA, and the dinosaurs are recreated. By carefully engineering the program, all the dinosaurs are meant to be female to prevent them from breeding in the future.
The science currently falls over and means that Jurassic Park remains a work of fiction because amber preserves the outer of a creature and not the soft tissues, which means that the mosquitos within the amber do not contain any dinosaur blood after all.
Even if soft tissue DNA had somehow been preserved, the general scientific consensus is that it would be impossible to tell which parts of the genome have been found without knowing the entire genome of a species.
It seems that for now, anyone wanting to get a dinosaur experience will need to take themselves to somewhere like London’s Natural History Museum or Pembrokeshire’s themed activity centre, The Dinosaur Park, where the dinosaurs are definitely models. However, if you like your dinosaur experience with some thrills and spills, you can use the best casino bonuses to try your luck on the Jurassic Park online slot game. Alternatively, Jurassic World Evolution 2 will allow you to bring back the dinosaurs in the virtual world.
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