Several months after our labor-of-love visualization of famous writers’ sleep habits vs. literary productivity, FastCompany makes an infographic on the subject.
Light Fossils by: Darren Pearson
The problems with reviving an extinct species
From time to time its been debated as to whether or not Jurassic Park could become a reality. Scientists would give a resounding no to that debate, but what are the reasons it would be so difficult? UC Berkeley’s Museum of Paleontology has an in depth breakdown as to why we can’t bring back the dinosaurs:
- We must find intact DNA of the species in question. Amber is one of the better preservatives of DNA, so dinosaur DNA in amber would be good. Problem: DNA degrades over time, even in amber. After several million years, many lethal losses of pieces of the DNA would occur.
We must extract the DNA from the amber. We would be lucky to get a few pieces of intact DNA out; certainly not the whole genome of the animal.
We must sequence the DNA — find out what the genetic code of the animal is. That’s several billion letters strung together in a chain. One gap in the chain could possibly ruin the whole thing.
If we somehow got a whole dinosaur genome, we would somehow have to make it assemble into chromosomes, which we don’t know how to do with dinosaur DNA. That might be able to be accomplished with a few decades of work.
Here comes the zinger. These chromosomes now would have to be implanted into a compatible, living, intact egg. The major problem here is that we just have the DNA — we don’t know what species we have (DNA doesn’t come with nametags), and even if we did we don’t have a living dinosaur egg of that species!
Finally, this fairy tale egg would have to be raised under the optimal conditions for that species’ development, which we have little chance of inferring. If we managed to hatch our dinosaur, we would then have the monumental task of keeping it alive — it would be entering a world full of germs and other dangers to which it had no resistance.