Nic ~ How to Build A Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever

21 08 2009

How To Build A Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever ~ Jack Horner and James Gorman

I have been reading this book for a while, and originally was not going to blog about it, but decided I may as well, no need to discriminate and only write about my fictional endeavors.  I read this book off and on, as I find that it is almost more like a textbook for me, jammed full of facts and information, and I want to take time to process everything my mind is sopping up.

Growing up I had a cousin that was just OBSESSED with dinosaurs (to Adam: you are the coolest for this), and I from this took an interest in them too.  As I have grown and actually looked at it from a intellectual point of view, I have become more and more interested in them.  I find the research and information about the prehistoric beasts very interesting, and jump at all chances to watch programs and informational movies about them.  I pour over books and take a large interest in reading up on the various breeds and findings that have been made in the last years.  My interest was peaked immediately when months ago I first heard about Jack Horner’s new project.  Jack Horner is an American paleontologist who found the Maiasaura; providing the first real evidence in the field that some dinosaurs cared for their young.  He was also the paleontologist on all the Jurassic Park movies, providing insight and information into the accuracy of the movies.

Jack Horner has now moved into working in a very interesting, and dangerous field: Genetic Research.  Jack Horner has been working with geneticists to figure out how to make the first genetically engineered dinosaur.  And it isn’t by using mosquitoes stuck in embers, that’s for sure.  Using the closest living relative to the dinosaur; the chicken, they have begun work on altering the genetic coding in the DNA to produce a dinosaur.  They have managed to figure out how to produce individual body parts: a claw here, a tail there.  But no whole dinosaur has been produced as of yet (or at least as far as we the public know…don’t get me started).

This book follows Jack and the geneticists journey, as well as involves much other information and theories brought forth from other paleontologists that Horner has been working with.  Although I may not agree with some peoples motives and experiments (which I do not, let me tell you; I find all this playing God to be terrifying), my brain cannot help but want to know everything about it.  The details of the procedures and thought processes behind these decisions are incredibly interesting, and I cannot help but delve into learning about them.

This book is ridiculously interesting, albeit a very slow read for me, as the details at times are indeed beyond my normal scope of thinking, and I need to often stop and dissect what i have just read.  I am looking forward to finishing it, and interested in what will come from it in the field of paleontology as time moves on and startling new discoveries and advances are made.