Nature Research Center

Dinosaurs Taste Like Chicken

"Some of the world's leading paleontologists are attempting to recreate a dinosaur -- or something a lot like a dinosaur -- by starting with a chicken embryo and working backward to engineer a "chickenosaurus" or "dinochicken," project leader Jack Horner told Discovery News. Such "reverse evolution" has been successfully performed in mice and flies, but those studies focused on re-introducing just a few bygone traits. The dinochicken project instead has the goal of bringing back multiple dinosaur characteristics, such as a tail, teeth and forearms, by changing the levels of regulatory proteins that have evolved to suppress these characteristics in birds. "Birds are dinosaurs, so technically we're making a dinosaur out of a dinosaur," said Horner, a professor of paleontology at Montana State University and curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies."

Excerpt from "'Dinochicken' Scheme Puts Evolution in Reverse" by Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News