A post on Twitter made the rounds Saturday, claiming that “Scientists Say They Can Recreate Living Dinosaurs Within The Next Five Years.” Sent from the account of Entrepreneur magazine, the post was heavily retweeted, with users making Jurassic Park jokes and posting gifs of Jeff Goldblum.
The tweet, however, is nearly four years old, having been originally posted on June 16, 2015. So, if scientists had a five-year timetable for bringing dinosaurs back, they’re running out of time.
The Entrepreneur magazine story from 2015 was an aggregation of a People magazine interview with Dr. Jack Horner, a paleontologist who actually consulted on the Jurassic Park movies. Dr. Horner said at the time that “a group of scientists at Harvard and Yale” had been doing genetic work on chickens.
“Of course birds are dinosaurs,” Horner told the magazine, “so we just need to fix them so they look a little more like a dinosaur.” That meant that the scientists could create a “chickenosaurus” within five to ten years within the time of the 2015 interview.
However, it didn’t appear that those scientists were working on, say, recreating a T-Rex, or setting up a theme park for for-profit purposes, as seen in the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World series.
Horner was not one of the Harvard and Yale scientists, although he did write a book in 2009 titled How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever, in which he shared his ideas for re-engineering chicken embryos in order to ultimately ressurect dinosaurs. Star Wars creator George Lucas, of all people, has provided most of the funding for Dr. Horner’s research, per The Washington Post. The research’s goals also include healing spinal injuries.
Dr. Horner spent the bulk of his career at The Museum of the Rockies. However, Horner made news in 2016 when, per People, he was pushed out of his job as chief curator after. The incident was prompted when Horner, who was in his late 60s, married a 19-year-old undergraduate student. The two later divorced.
Strangely, that 2015 interview seems to resurface frequently. NDT-TV reported the story in 2017, while Golf Digest and the Daily Express also wrote about it in 2018. All outlets cited the 2015 interview.
There’s been no indication of the progress of that Harvard and Yale research, since the publication of the original interview with Horner.
“One thing I’ve come to accept over these last two years is that humans are absolutely stupid enough to do this after 5 Jurassic Park movies,” Twitter user Marc Deschamps tweeted Saturday. “And after it went wrong 4 times, they would absolutely keep doing it.