Resurrecting Tyrannosaurus rex




Ammerman, Lauren

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After the first successful extraction of ancient DNA from a fossilized Quagga in 1984, the subsequent development of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) technology opened up a plethora of possibilities in the field of molecular paleontology. Supplied with fragmented ancient genomes, some scientists acted as if the days of resurrecting dinosaurs were a few technical difficulties away. Theories surfaced on the possible applications of ancient DNA technology, and some, such as creating tactical dinosaurs for the U.S. military, were outrageous. A less ridiculous idea surfaced in the form of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, published in 1990. Coupled with Steven Spielberg’s 1993 feature film adaption, the Jurassic Park series created a world in which geneticallyengineered dinosaurs roamed once again as theme park attractions on a billionaire’s private island, and explored the possible outcomes of a “Jurassic Park” experiment. Jurassic Park ignited scientific debate over the technological feasibility, environmental impact, and ethical questions of a “Jurassic Park” experiment. This thesis continues that conversation by asking, could resurrecting a dinosaur be a productive environmental enterprise, other than a mere display of power over Nature? Focusing on Tyrannosaurus rex, this thesis combines a brief survey the current state of dinosaur genetic research, with analyses of rewilding with large predators, to discuss whether or not scientists should ever attempt to re-create a T. rex in the future.



T. rex, Dinosaur