February 25, 2009
When the film adaptation of Jurassic Park came out in 1993 the idea that scientists may one day be able to clone dinosaurs had everybody talking. It is still more science fiction than science fact (check out The Science of Jurassic Park and the Lost World), but suppose for a moment that there was some breakthrough that allowed scientists to bring back the dinosaurs. Which dinosaur would you want to see brought back to life?
I know it would be difficult for me to choose. There are just so many fascinating dinosaurs that I would love to see them all in the flesh. If I had to pick just one, though, I think I would vote for Dryptosaurus. It is not a particularly popular dinosaur but it was very significant in revolutionizing the image of dinosaurs in the late 19th century. Found in my home state of New Jersey in 1866, it was one of the first dinosaurs to confirm that some of them walked on two legs and had bird-like characteristics.
What did Dryptosaurus look like? It is hard to say. Enough of its skeleton has been found to determine that it was a tyrannosauroid and may have been similar to Eotyrannus from England, but it is still only known from bits and pieces. Many of the sites in which more Dryptosaurus fossils might be found have either been closed down or built over by suburban sprawl, too, so we may never get a more complete understanding of this dinosaur. That’s why I would love to see it restored.
How about you? If you could tell scientists to clone any dinosaur which one would you choose?
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