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Let's not bury the story here: Scientists reportedly believe they can create real, living dinosaurs within the next five years by un-mutating the lowly chicken back to its scaly ancestors’ Jurassic state. But with that out of the way, what we really want to know is — what would Ian Malcolm say?
Luckily for us, Jeff Goldblum is on the case. After seeing an Entrepreneur report about the groundbreaking project from researchers at Harvard and Yale, Goldblum ransacked his bottomless grab bag of Jurassic Park one-liners to produce the perfect response — and it’s the same drum Ian Malcolm’s been beating since Jurassic Park unleashed prehistoric havoc back in 1993.
If ever there were a moment when art could be co-opted to supply more than a mere metaphor for a real-world circumstance, this is it. If Ian Malcolm hadn’t said it in Steven Spielberg’s original blockbuster back then, ethical pundits somewhere, somehow, would definitely have to be saying it now.
To be fair, the science side of things is pretty well controlled, and our date with the eldritch reptilian past is still a ways off. The lead researcher on the effort to bring dinos back to life is none other than Dr. Jack Horner, the paleontologist whom Spielberg based Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) on, and Horner himself has collaborated with Spielberg and subsequent Jurassic directors to help make the movies as true to life as possible — which, it’s turning out, is pretty possible indeed.
How are we actually moving toward a world in which dinosaurs roam the Earth alongside people? By identifying and switching the genetic mutations in present-day dino descendants (in this case, chickens) back to the known genetic traits of their ancestors. Horner refers to the resulting new beast as a “chickenosaurus,” according to the report, adding that configuring the tail has proved the biggest challenge the team’s faced so far.
While we wait to learn whether Goldblum will return for another appearance in the followup to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, we can’t help but wonder: Will real-world developments like this one compel director Colin Trevorrow to revise the story for the sequel, just as dinosaurs have finally broken free into the populated world at the end of Fallen Kingdom?
We don’t know, but we have until June 11, 2021, to discover the answer. That’s when the still-untitled Jurassic World 3 is due in theaters. And by then, dinosaurs might have taken one step closer to becoming much more than just a fossilized CGI fantasy.