Scientists managed to turn part of a chicken back in to a dinosaur. Image Credit: PD - Wiki
A recent reverse evolution experiment has succeeded in growing a dinosaur's limb on a farmyard bird.
Modern chickens might not look particularly vicious, but inside their bodies they possess many genetic throwbacks from a time when their distant ancestors were large, carnivorous reptiles.
But is it really possible to turn back the clock and transform a chicken in to a Velociraptor ?
To find out, scientists at the University of Chile recently conducted a reverse evolution experiment involving a lower leg bone called the fibula which was believed to be long and tube-shaped in dinosaurs but is now short and splinter-like in modern birds.
With a bit of genetic tinkering, the researchers were able to effectively disable the gene which limits the fibular's growth in chickens thus creating a modern bird with the leg bone of a dinosaur.
"The experiments are focused on single traits, to test specific hypotheses," said evolutionary biologist Alexander Vargas, one of the scientists involved in the project.
"Not only do we know a great deal about bird development, but also about the dinosaur-bird transition, which is well-documented by the fossil record."
Whether we will ever be able to genetically rewind an entire bird however remains to be seen.
Source: Extreme Tech | Comments (13)