So, there’s a project in the US to reverse engineer a dinosaur from a chicken. Nuts, I hear you say. Well, not necessarily.
I was thinking about this because after watching my chickens this morning. A butterfly happened to flit through their run and they both immediately turned into velociraptors. Now I see the dinosaur in them all the time, but right there in that moment you could really see it – the way they leapt in the air, making a little predatory snapping noise, it was fascinating.
There’s also been a study of some fossilised T-Rex DNA which has been cross-matched with the DNA of living animals. The one it’s the closest to? The humble chicken.
The next time you see a chicken, take a moment to watch it, to really watch it. Forget, if you can, that it’s a “daft” chicken. Forget all the chicken stereotypes, forget comedy chicken costumes, forget the movie Chicken Run – watch it as an animal. Imagine it in a lush forest. Watch the way it walks, the way it bobs its head and searches for food. Look at its scaly legs and feet. You’ll see it.
Now, the Chickenosaurus project in America could be called ethically dubious by some. They’ve manipulated the DNA of chicken embryos and switched on characteristics that had previously been switched off by evolution. So they’ve developed embryos with snouts instead of beaks, with clawed arms instead of wings. It’s all fascinating stuff. They haven’t yet developed one to the stage of hatching it, but I actually hope that they do. I really do.
Call it playing God or screwing with nature, I don’t care. I think it would be amazing.
What do you think?