Scientists created 'Dino-chickens' in lab

Biologists have created chicken embryos with dinosaur-like faces by tinkering with the molecules that build the birds' beaks.

Scientists created 'Dino-chickens' in lab

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Scientists for the first time have created animals with dinosaur features using fossils as a guide. They have transformed chicken beaks into something similar to a dinosaur snout.

Many have pondered the idea of recreating dinosaurs while novelists and sci-fi film directors tempted our imagination with such as creations the Jurassic park film and novel series.

A research team led by Yale paleontologist and developmental biologist Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar and Harvard developmental biologist Arhat Abzhanov, have conducted a successful experiment which allowed them to create chickens with dinosaur-like features. 

Researchers were able to transform chicken embryos in a laboratory into specimens with a snout and palate configuration similar to that of small dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Archaeopteryx, according to a Yale press-release published on Tuesday.

“Our goal here was to understand the molecular underpinnings of an important evolutionary transition, not to create a ‘dino-chicken’ simply for the sake of it,” said Bhullar, lead author of the study.

“The beak is a crucial part of the avian feeding apparatus, and is the component of the avian skeleton that has perhaps diversified most extensively and most radically – consider flamingos, parrots, hawks, pelicans, and hummingbirds, among others,” Bhullar said.

“Yet little work has been done on what exactly a beak is, anatomically, and how it got that way either evolutionarily or developmentally.”

The research team also found that major living lineages of birds have a unique, median gene expression zone of two different facial development genes early in embryonic development, which the non-beaked creatures lack. When they blocked this gene expression not only did the beak structure revert into a snout, but the process also caused the palatine bone on the roof of the mouth to go back to a dinosaur-like state.

“This was unexpected and demonstrates the way in which a single, simple developmental mechanism can have wide-ranging and unexpected effects,” Bhullar said..

Last Mod: 14 Mayıs 2015, 16:39
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