Sorry, 'Jurassic Park' fans: Scientists say dinosaur cloning probably isn’t going to happen
Scientists at the University of Manchester have cast doubt over previous research that claimed the discovery of a protein from extinct dinosaur species.
Earlier research published in the journal Science claimed protein peptides had survived from a 68-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex. This discovery led to a proliferation of "Jurassic Park"-esque theories claiming that scientists could possibly clone the DNA and recreate the extinct dinosaurs, as happens in the classic 1993 Steven Spielberg film.
The team from Manchester found that the reported proteins could have also come from cross-contamination with the bones of ostriches or alligators, both of which were used in labs where the original studies took place, according to a press release on these new findings.
The researchers of this most recent study were quick to point out that they did not set out to disprove the findings of their colleagues, nor did their own findings definitively negate the possibility of dinosaur cloning. They had originally been studying collagen fingerprints, or the protein inside bones, and how long it can survive over time.
“All this research is saying is that contamination cannot be ruled out,” Mike Buckley, a zoo-archeologist — someone who studies ancient animals — at the University of Manchester and one of the chief researchers, told Travel + Leisure.
They found that collagen had not been proven to survive more than 3.5 million years and that the proteins the original paper claimed came from dinosaurs may very well have come from another animal.
For fans of the “Jurassic Park” movie franchise or those excited for the upcoming “Jurassic World 2” premiere, the research might be disappointing, but it’s not all bad news. Ancient DNA is a field of study that paleontologists are still exploring, and nothing can be ruled out.
“The more we understand how these ancient molecules survive, the idea is we’re more likely to be able to find real, ancient DNA which you could then take advantage of,” Buckley said.