Typically, when people think about a chicken or a dinosaur – they don’t immediately think about a creature that could become one between the two. Birds are amongst some of the oldest species on Earth today, but two scientists have managed to do something so unique – their creation can only be called the Chickenosaurus.
As you can imagine, this creature is a genetic cross between a Velociraptor and a chicken. This strange combination took a chicken embryo and modified it in such a way that the stout of a Velociraptor would replace the beak.
Bhart-Anjan Bhullar and Arkhat Abzhanov of Yale and Harvard respectively were the authors of this study and creators of this unique experiment. The pair pointed out though that, “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.” Ultimately, this is about understanding the genetic evolution of beaks and birds specifically, rather than trying to create something that’s never existed before in nature.
He went on to point out that, “This is borne out by the fact that Hesperornis — discovered by Othniel Charles Marsh of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History — which is a near relative of modern birds that still retains teeth and the most primitive stem avian with a modernized beak in the form of fused, elongate premaxillae, also possesses a modern bird palatine bone.” Really, at the end of the day, this is about determining what the next great scientific discovery will be in the science community.
This is an incredible accomplishment that will certainly help the genetic modification studies, as well as studies related to the evolution over time of various species. Determining how their genes evolved over long periods of time give scientists and researchers a better basis for where the breeds might have been throughout the history of their span.
In other words, as time goes on they’re given the opportunity to understand what might have gone wrong with varying species to determine the underlying cause of their demise. This would be significant given how many species around the world today are facing various forms of threat – without having a full-breadth of knowledge about the animals themselves.