Synopses & Reviews
A world-renowned paleontologist takes readers all over the globe to reveal a new science that trumps science fiction: how humans can re-create a dinosaur.
In movies, in novels, in comic strips, and on television, weve all seen dinosaursor at least somebodys educated guess of what they would look like. But what if it were possible to build, or grow, a real dinosaur, without finding ancient DNA? Jack Horner, the scientist who advised Steven Spielberg on Jurassic Park, and a pioneer in bringing paleontology into the twenty-first century, teams up with the editor of The New York Times,/I>s Science Times section to reveal exactly whats in store.
In the 1980s, Horner began using CAT scans to look inside fossilized dinosaur eggs, and he and his colleagues have been delving deeper ever since. At North Carolina State University, Mary Schweitzer has extracted fossil moleculesproteins that survived 68 million yearsfrom a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil excavated by Horner. These proteins show that T. rex and the modern chicken are kissing cousins. At McGill University, Hans Larsson is manipulating a chicken embryo to awaken the dinosaur within: starting by growing a tail and eventually prompting it to grow the forelimbs of a dinosaur. All of this is happening without changing a single gene.
This incredible research is leading to discoveries and applications so profound theyre scary in the power they confer on humanity. How to Build a Dinosaur is a tour of the hot rocky deserts and air-conditioned laboratories at the forefront of this scientific revolution.
"The premise of this provocative but frustrating book by MacArthur Award winning paleontologist Horner and New York Times deputy science editor Gorman (coauthors of Digging Dinosaurs) : a kind of reverse genetic engineering could make it possible to ' build' a dinosaur embryo from the embryo of a modern bird a chicken, say since birds are the evolutionary descendants of dinosaurs. The trick would involve the new science of evolutionary development (known as evo devo) and a host of biological techniques. Horner and Gorman argue that during the process, one could stop and analyze every frame of the evolutionary tape as it played in reverse. The authors use the research on tail development of Hans Larsson at McGill University to explore how embryos can illuminate evolution. Much of the rest of the book offers background, but often digresses, for example, into hunting for DNA from 68-million-year-old dinosaur bones or the surfing habit of the man who discovered the polymerase chain reaction or how genetically close humans and Neanderthals are none of which advances the book's central argument. B&w illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A world-renowned paleontologist teams up with a "New York Times" science writer to reveal a new science that trumps science fiction: how humans can re-create a dinosaur.
A world-renowned paleontologist reveals groundbreaking science that trumps science fiction: how to grow a living dinosaur
Over a decade after Jurassic Park, Jack Horner and his colleagues in molecular biology labs are in the process of building the technology to create a real dinosaur.
Based on new research in evolutionary developmental biology on how a few select cells grow to create arms, legs, eyes, and brains that function together, Jack Horner takes the science a step further in a plan to "reverse evolution" and reveals the awesome, even frightening, power being acquired to recreate the prehistoric past. The key is the dinosaur's genetic code that lives on in modern birds- even chickens. From cutting-edge biology labs to field digs underneath the Montana sun, How to Build a Dinosaur explains and enlightens an awesome new science.
About the Author
is regents professor of paleontology at Montana State University, curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, and probably the best-known paleontologist in the world. The recipient of a MacArthur genius award, he is the author of several books on dinosaurs, has helped create several documentaries, and does field work in Montana and Mongolia.
James Gorman is deputy science editor of The New York Times and editor of its Science Times section. He is the author of several books, including two previous books with Horner.