Okay, I know we can’t actually resurrect the T. rex — for now. What’s holding us back?
We have one or two complete genes, but they’re not anything important, like dinosaur hemoglobin. And the information we do have is pretty badly damaged so, right now there’s not that much we can do about it. We don’t know enough about these decaying processes to reverse them and determine the original sequence. So the whole Jurassic Park idea of using frog genomes and reptile genomes to supplement it doesn’t really work because we don’t have anything to supplement. Dinosaurs are also actually physiologically different than the reptiles we have on Earth right now. We don’t have a good foundation to build on there.
I didn’t really have the chance to get into this in my thesis and I’ve never seen anyone mention it, but you also have this problem of ‘Okay, it’s in the cell, now what do we do?’ DNA is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s pretty strictly regulated by epigenetic mechanisms, processes that make DNA available or unavailable for gene expression. We have no way of knowing what key points turn it on or off.
I am going to pretend I did not hear all this. What would happen if we released a T. rex somewhere like Yellowstone National Park; it’s both a scavenger and a predator, and it is also obviously enormous. So on a scale of destructive to like … super destructive…?
The fact that it’s a scavenger and a predator was kind of a surprise, a recent development that changes the way we might see it interacting with the modern world. It would interact as an apex predator, but at a level we’ve never seen before because there’s nothing that matches its size. It wouldn’t just be at the top of the food pyramid, it would be in its own pyramid on top of that pyramid. It would probably be pretty disastrous. It would be too efficient, it would destroy ecosystems even in places that need a top apex predator.
Your thesis had a line about how these guys ‘should not be released in any proximity to civilization.’ Wouldn’t they roam? What does ‘proximity’ even mean here?
They could survive in a huge range of environments, whereas today most top predators just live in one or two environments but a T. rex could survive anywhere, so there’s really not a ‘too far.’ In South Africa, they still can’t build a fence that stops elephants from coming — take that, multiply it by 13, make it angry, and give it sharp teeth — yeah, it would probably be a disaster.
Air/rafts and starship-scale lasers help, when dealing with the Jurassic World some tycoon or fully vested Noble has decided to let loose in the universe.
Also, there are always those Vargr that love a good hunting challenge.
“We’ll do it the old-fashioned way, just with claws and teeth, simply for the extra fame and charisma boost!”
“Just make sure you don’t miss my close-up…”