Your Jurassic Park fantasies came a little truer today. Paleontologists working in the Yunnan province of China discovered a cluster of fossils left behind by ancient dinosaur embryos, which upon further inspection turned out to be the oldest remnants of dinosaur embryos ever discovered by human beings. The scientists discovered the embryos in a layer of sedimentary rock (known as a "bone bed") containing bone fragments and shards of once-intact dinosaur eggs. The science journal Nature, where the paleontologists published their discovery, says that the discovered fossils date to the Jurassic period, making them approximately 190 million years old. The fossils' importance extends beyond their age, though. According to Nature, the recovered material "includes remains from many individuals at different developmental stages, providing a unique opportunity to investigate the embryonic development of a prehistoric species."
Like any other discovery involving ancient dinosaurs, today's announcement will certainly arouse a very important question: What does this have to do with making Jurassic Park a reality? The authors of the study published in Nature aren't too optimistic. "Resurrecting a dinosaur is out of the question," one told Discovery News, which added, "Bringing a Jurassic animal into the present could therefore be a disaster, probably worse than what some movies have fictionally predicted. At the very least, such an animal — if it wound up in the wild — could wreck havoc on the existing ecosystem." The bigger problem with growing dinosaurs in the 21st century is the fragility of dinosaurs' DNA, which precludes extracting it from remains — or, as depicted in Jurassic Park (now in 3-D!), from the stomach of a mosquito preserved in fossilized tree resin:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.