Friday, August 28, 2009
Or if you prefer a more sensationalist headline: Canadian scientist aims to turn chickens into dinosaurs. Well, not exactly - the plan is to reproduce dinosaur anatomy by making certain modifications during the development of a chicken embryo, in order to show that the two are indeed directly genetically related. Larsson says that he doesn't intend to actually create a dinosaur due to ethical and practical reasons. An Archaeopteryx though isn't all that large, and in a situation where scientists were to succeed at creating one again it wouldn't be that difficult to allow it to live a full and happy life.
This story seems to have attracted quite a bit of international interest. A search on Google News for the name of the scientist turned up an article in Spanish, Polish, Dutch, and many others.
On a related note, it's interesting how blockbuster movies can raise public interest in such stories even long after they've left the box office. Stories like this are clearly amplified by Jurassic Park and its sequels, and Armageddon and Deep Impact are often cited when stories about near-Earth asteroids are mentioned. The plot for Armageddon was ridiculous of course, but whatever does the trick.