Scientists seek to turn chickens into mini-dinosaurs

Creating dinosaurs like those seen in the Jurassic Park films might still be science fiction, but scientists are seeking to turn chickens into mini-dinosaurs. Photo / supplied
Creating dinosaurs like those seen in the Jurassic Park films might still be science fiction, but scientists are seeking to turn chickens into mini-dinosaurs. Photo / supplied

Harvard scientists are hoping to turn chickens into mini-dinosaurs, according to the Daily Mail.

Scientists at the Ivy League university have 'rewound' evolution with chicken DNA to create embryos with alligator-like snouts instead of beaks.

By altering the DNA of chicken embryos in the early stage of their development, the team were able to 'undo' evolutionary progress and give the creatures snouts which are thought to have been lost in the cretaceous period millions of years ago.

Evolutionary biologist Arkhat Abzhanov developed the chickens with snouts by cutting a square hole in the shell of a chicken egg and dropping in a small gelatinous protein bead, before watching the embryo develop - stifling the development of certain molecules and preventing the birds from growing certain features.

Although the eggs cannot be hatched due to ethical restrictions, Abzhanov hopes to one day complete the work by turning chickens into Maniraptora - the small dinosaurs which are thought to spawned thousands of species of birds which exist today.

Leading paleontologist Jack Horner is conducting similar work at the University of Montana, attempting to create a 'chickenosaurus' with a tail and hands similar to those of a dinosaur.

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