Movie Fact or Fiction: Universal's Jurassic Park


I haven't reviewed Jurassic Park. It is definitely not my favorite movie ever, but it's a pretty fun ride that delivers all of the dinosaur action and horror that you want. It's a beautiful movie to watch, so that's a reason to see it even if you aren't interested in the plot.


But this isn't a review. If you don't know what Jurassic Park is about, here's a quick summary: A scientist figures out a way to recreate the dinosaurs because of long-lost dinosaur DNA. He puts them in a park and brings a couple of people to witness the magic of the Jurassic Age. However, when a security breach occurs, the dinosaurs break free.


It's a pretty cool concept that is very interesting to examine in a Fact or Fiction post. So let's check out if Jurassic Park is fact...or fiction.


Introduction


So if it isn't obvious, the thing in this film that I'll be going through is whether we can actually clone the dinosaurs. I'll explain stuff about DNA and how it works, as well as comparing the process that we see in Jurassic Park to how it would work in real life.


Also, if you like this post, I have two more Fact or Fictions. One is on Up and the other is on Avengers: Infinity War. Go check them out after. Both are really cool.


Can We Recover Dinosaur DNA?


DNA is the a long molecule that contains a unique genetic code that every living organism on Earth has. DNA is what makes each person different. If you build a computer, you use tons of wiring and coding and other complex technological stuff that I don't know anything about. DNA is our type of computer coding.


In March of 2020, a small bone of the skull of a dinosaur was discovered in Montana. Scientists from the United States and China found a couple of small balls that appeared to be cells. Some look frozen in the process of dividing. One cell has tangled coils that looks like it may be a strand of DNA.


But then we run into a problem. At death, DNA begins to decompose, just like the organism will when its life is over. Regular DNA can only survive for approximately 1 million years. In case you don't know anything about dinosaurs, they became extinct after an asteroid hit Earth and killed all remaining dinosaurs...65 million years ago.


Some DNA may not even last a million years. There are other factors. Cause of death for the organism, where the organism died and its final resting place, weather, and more. These factors can cut the DNA's preservation in half.


To preserve DNA, it needs to be transferred to a laboratory. At the lab, the DNA will be extracted from the cell, then purified, concentrated, and preserved in long term storage at room temperature. So, if we use the DNA discovered and put it into this situation, then we make the first step toward creating Jurassic Park.


How the Cloning Would Work


There are many organisms and smaller bacteria-type beings that have already been cloned. Scientists have cloned genes and other small organisms that have been successful.


Animals can be cloned in a couple of different ways. The first way is called embryo twinning. An embryo is an organism in the early stages of development, such as a young fetus. Embryo twinning is when scientists split an embryo in half. The two halves of the embryo are then put in the mother's uterus, letting both halves develop into fully formed organisms. These two animals contain identical genes.


However, we are trying to clone dinosaurs. So, unfortunately, that doesn't work, because all of the dinosaurs are dead. There are no mama dinosaurs that can create embryo, meaning that embryo twinning doesn't work.


The second method is called somatic cell nuclear transfer. Somatic cells are the cells that make up the organism. Somatic cells contain two sets of full chromosomes. A chromosome is a DNA molecule that is found in the nucleus of most living cells. So basically, the somatic cell has two DNA strands.


To clone the organism, scientists would need to take the DNA from the somatic cell and put the cell in an egg that has had its nucleus and DNA removed. The egg develops into the embryo which is implanted into a female uterus to develop. This sounds much more like the cloning process used in the film.


We were so close on that last one, but there still isn't a mother that can carry a dinosaur embryo.


Final Verdict


Sadly, the real world is missing a few key components that are required to clone the dinosaurs. Jurassic Park is a cool concept for a real world experiment, but we are missing some dinosaur moms that are necessary to recreate the Jurassic Age.


Verdict: Fiction


Thanks for reading this Fact or Fiction! Like I said at the beginning, I have two other Fact or Fiction posts, one for Up and one for Avengers: Infinity War. Both are really interesting. The Up one has a lot more math, while the Infinity War post delves into the scientific. DM me or contact me through the blog if you have any requests for Fact or Fictions. The next one I'm thinking of doing is Crimson Tide