Can We Make a Pet Dinosaur?

Can We Make a Pet Dinosaur?

We often talk about
saving endangered species from extinction, but
what if I told you that extinction doesn’t
have to be forever, Matthew? I’d call you a filthy liar. Well, things that we’ve
long considered gone forever have a habit of reappearing
from time to time. So every once in a while, kids,
children, are born with tails. And that is an ancestral
characteristic. CRAIG: This is Jack
Horner, curator of paleontology at the Museum
of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. He’s widely known for
discovering evidence of parental care in
dinosaurs, and was also the inspiration for the
character of Dr. Alan Grant in “Jurassic Park.” JACK HORNER: Every
once in a while, snakes are born with legs. That is an ancestral gene
that accidentally comes on. I’m trying to find
those atavistic genes to intentionally
make them come on. Hold on. I thought he was
a paleontologist. Shouldn’t he be digging
up dinosaur bones and frightening
obnoxious children? You are alive when
they start to eat you. Why is he looking for
snakes with legs and babies with tails? Well, he also
has this project– Where I am attempting to
retro-engineer a bird back to something that looks a little
more like an extinct dinosaur. CRAIG: Dinosaurs have been
extinct for 65 million years. And although we’ve seen
them brought back to life many times in
stories and movies, no one has ever seen
a real live dinosaur. But that all might change
if Jack Horner has his way. Humans have been modifying
animals for a long time. We breed various kinds of dogs
and cats and cows and pigs and whatever, you know. And we change the way they look. And people always say, well, why
would you make a dino-chicken? And I always say, why did
somebody want a chihuahua? I mean, you had to start with
a wolf to get a chihuahua. And I’d say it’s for the
same reason, I guess. Somebody wanted a chihuahua
to have a little dog, right, that they could carry
around with them, I guess. And I would like a pet dinosaur. So that’s for your own–
you’d just like to have a pet. MATTHEW: OK. He wants a pet dinosaur, which
would be awesome, obviously. But is it even possible
to bring back dinosaurs? So you start with a bird
embryo and you switch a gene on that has been turned off. Birds already share a lot of
characteristics with dinosaurs. In fact– Birds share more
characteristics with extinct dinosaurs than
with any other group of animal. [T-REX ROAR] [ROOSTER CROWING] Birds’ closest living relatives
are crocodiles and alligators. MATTHEW: They don’t seem to
have much in common, do they? CRAIG: But if dinosaurs
were alive today, you might have trouble
telling some of them apart from their bird cousins. Both have three toed feet,
hollow bones, hard shell eggs, and feathers. There’s just a long
list of characteristics. Remember when I said no one
had seen a living dinosaur? Well, that’s not exactly true. Birds are dinosaurs. We see dinosaurs every day. So Horner wouldn’t exactly be
bringing back the dinosaur. He’d be making a bird
with characteristics of its ancient ancestors. JACK HORNER: That’s
our hypothesis. We hypothesize or theorize
that birds are actually a group of dinosaurs. CRAIG: But it’s not the traits
they share that Jack Horner is interested in. He wants to turn on the
traits the birds lost, like the snout, teeth,
tail, and clawed hands. JACK HORNER: Really, we’re
looking at those four features. And two of the four
features we now can reverse. A team of scientists from
Yale and Harvard universities were able to successfully
create a chicken with a dinosaur-like snout
by turning off the genes that code for the beak. Researchers have also
observed bird embryos with a mutation that
allows for the growth of alligator-like teeth. But none of these animals
have ever survived to hatch. By just going in and turning
ancestral genes back on again, we can produce a
bird that actually has a snout like its ancestor. And eventually, all the
rest of those traits. But they’re not
really lost, right? They’re still in the bird
genome, just turned off. Yes. Just because living things don’t
exhibit those features anymore, like claws or teeth,
it doesn’t mean that the gene that coded
for them goes away. In fact, once the
trait disappears, it’s no longer subject
to natural selection. Therefore, there’s no
pressure for the gene to do anything at all. Evolution just leaves it alone. However, given enough time,
some of those dormant genes will eventually be lost through
the process of random mutation. JACK HORNER: We do lose
genes occasionally. And in fact, birds have
lost the enamel gene. So even though we can put
teeth back into a bird by flipping a switch,
the enamel gene is gone. They’ve lost it. And so if we are
going to give them hard teeth, the
enamel teeth, we are going to have to do
it transgenically which means taking the enamel
gene out of a different animal and putting it
into a bird, which is something we can do as well. I mean, we do transgenic
engineering already. CRAIG: The process of inserting
new genes into an organism to make new characteristics
is called transgenesis. Many transgenic
animals already exist. By taking the genes that
allow a jellyfish to glow under black light, scientists
at the University of Hawaii, in partnership with two
universities in Turkey, successfully made glow
in the dark rabbits. Although the bunnies look white
under normal conditions, put under a black light,
they glow bright green, thanks to the jellyfish genes. And bunnies aren’t
the only animal scientists have done this to. Mice, goats, cows,
pigs, and chickens have all been made
to glow in the dark. JACK HORNER: Once we
understand what genes do and how to turn them
on and turn them off, we certainly could design
any kind of animal we wanted. Even before we make a
dino-chicken, if we wanted to, we could probably make
a unicorn pretty easily. And we could make
a glow in the dark unicorn because we could
do it transgenically. Wow. In fact, we could
probably make a pink glow in the dark unicorn. CRAIG: What will come first? The dinosaur chicken or
the dinosaur chicken egg? The dinosaur chicken egg. That’s for sure? Mm hmm. OK. The egg is always first. Evolution is about modifications
in an organism over time. There are no bigger
jumps in evolution than that which happens between
a parent and its offspring. You are never a different
species than your parent. But you are a mutant
compared to your parent because you are different. You’re not a clone. And so the egg is where
that mutation occurs. So whatever changes has ever
occurred is in the egg first. All right. Well, thanks for that. That make sense? CRAIG: Yeah. Thanks for solving
the age old mystery. Right. MATTHEW: OK. Let’s say someone
makes a dino-chicken. What would they do with it? Put it in a theme park? Set it free in the wild? Dinosaurs haven’t been
around for millions of years, and the earth has changed a lot. Could dinosaurs
even survive today? Of course. CRAIG: Yeah? Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s still a chicken. So it would be mainly,
the behavior of it will still just be a chicken? It’ll still be a chicken. We’re not changing their DNA. We’re switching genes on
and switching genes off in one animal at a time. So you can’t even breed them. I mean, if you breed a
dino-chicken with a chicken, you have a chicken. All right. And so someday I know we’ll
be able to change the DNA and change animals completely. But that’s not the
dino-chicken project. That’s not what we’re doing. MATTHEW: Dinosaurs
are cool and all, but aren’t there other
scientific projects more worthy of support? Like what would be the
purpose of a dino-chicken? It could be used
to test out one of the most controversial
scientific theories ever put forth. A lot of people– what is
it, 43% of the population– don’t believe in
evolution, for example. And you can’t retro-engineer
an animal back to anything if evolution doesn’t work. But if it does work, you can. And so it’s sort of a
ground proof of evolution. I mean, you can’t bring
back ancestral characters if there are no ancestors. So it’s a great way to
teach about evolution. It’s also just a cool way
to study a very complex kind of science, genetics. And it’s also just, in the
end, we’ll have a cool animal. Yeah. I like that attitude. MATTHEW: OK. I understand the
scientific merit to it and I know it’d be
freaking awesome. But isn’t it kind of reckless
and possibly unethical to tamper with the genes
of an unborn chicken and make some kind
of mutant hybrid? Is it wrong to try and
control nature like that? JACK HORNER: Humans occupy
so much of the world that we basically control every
animal on earth right now. I mean, we control
the ecosystems of every single
thing alive today. And the animals that have
adapted to live with us, we don’t like. They’re the weed species, right? If they can live in our
backyard, we don’t like them– CRAIG: A squirrel, yeah. JACK HORNER: –because
they’re eating something. The pretty animals, we’re
all concerned about. And the pretty animals
are going extinct because there’s too much of us. The animals that
we do best with are the ones we’ve domesticated,
the ones we’ve created. The ones we have
genetically created are the ones that
we like the most. And so the dino-chicken
is just another version of a domesticated animal. CRAIG: A really cool one. A really cool one, I think. Yeah. Well, thank you very much. You’re welcome. So what do you think? Will the dino-chicken be like
any other domesticated animal we breed? Or is it an abomination of
nature, a horrifying example of scientific hubris destined
to end in terrible bloodshed? Let us know in the comments. Wow, Matt. Thanks for watching. If you want to help support
the show, go to and become a
supporter, or you can join our digital street team
and help us promote the show. Last week, we went
to Olney, Illinois, and checked out the
squirrels there. And this is what you
had to say about it. Kabtastick pointed out
that it’s probably not correct to say recessive
gene and we should have said recessive allele. And that’s probably true. Alleles are the variation
of a gene that determines a specific trait like albinism. So a gene for pigment could
have multiple alleles that are dominant and recessive. But for simplicity’s
sake, we just called it a recessive gene. Paul St. Aldan was confused
how the population of albino squirrels became
so large if they came from such few squirrels
and the gene was recessive. Well, the answer is
we don’t really know. A law disallowing dogs
from running at large was first enacted in 1925 and
the albino squirrel population reached its peak in the 1940s. So maybe the law had
something to do with it? People were probably
always looking out for the albino
squirrels, feeding them, and things like that. So that probably helped. But I mean, over the years,
more laws were enacted and people have been caring
for those squirrels since then. And the population
is dwindling now. So who knows? We saw several
comments where people seemed to think
that the people that only were breeding the
albino squirrels– they weren’t breeding them. They just take care of the
squirrels when they got hurt. That’s what Belinda was doing. She was rehabilitating them. And they feed them
and things like that. So there’s no breeding going on. And when she takes
care of them, she takes care of both
the albino squirrels and the gray squirrels. So it’s all equal. There’s no discrimination
happening in Olney. Thanks for your comments. Next week, we’re going to
watch Craig try to start a fire the old-fashioned way. Can he do it? I don’t know. Probably not. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Randy Schultz

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100 thoughts on “Can We Make a Pet Dinosaur?

  1. Jason Taylor says:

    This would have been a way better sequel to Jurassic Park.. Alan Grant decides to make his own dinosaur…

  2. killerbekilled93 says:

    Big fan of Horner, not so much these guys, sorry

  3. Troy Jellyman says:

    42% of Americans don't believe in evolution, think about that.

  4. PlainsPup says:

    I'm really disappointed in Jack Horner for proposing this. Not only is the concept of a "dino-chicken" a bit nonsensical (birds are already theropod dinosaurs anyway), it's also unethical; you're not just making a primitive-looking dinosaur, you're making a pathologically deformed chicken. Chickens, like all animals alive today, have been evolving for millions of years, and are good at what they do now. To genetically engineer an avian dinosaur to look like a non-avian dinosaur, you have to screw up the body plan of what it has become. In short, you are intentionally engineering and breeding for birth defects. This is obviously cruelty toward animals. Extreme artificial selection has been tough enough on many breeds of domestic animal. Think of how much some breeds of chicken, pigeon, dog, cat, pig, goat, and other species that have been bred to unhealthy proportions suffer as it is. And now you want to reverse engineer non-avian dinosaurs from avian dinosaurs? No way. Would anyone propose breeding camels to look more like their ancient sheep-like relatives (oreodonts)? Or dogs to look more like their weasel-like ancestors (miacids)? Or humans to look more like our ancient primate ancestors (monkeys)? Of course not, you'd be ruining them. Stop playing Dr. Frankenstein with chickens and other species. I'm glad Horner and other researchers (including myself) have learned so much about animals, but that doesn't give us the right to tinker with them. Haven't we learned anything from Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park? As his character Ian Malcolm famously said, just because we can do a thing, doesn't mean we should do that thing. Leave the chickens as they are. Geez.

  5. blue gamer says:

    is it eaithly to modify a chiken
    is it wrong to control nature


    we litry have chikens living in chages for there inter life
    to give eggs
    and make chikets genetly so they can get us more eggs
    and we made nature so much difrent so
    to yust make a dino chiken
    id say it ok

  6. Austin Zhang says:

    creates dino chicken,
    eats them

  7. Dodge This says:


  8. Mr. Shellmen says:

    I want my dinosaur..

  9. Spartan 9013 says:

    Glasses dude is talking how unethical it is to mess with Gene's yet abortion is ethical?

  10. Nathan Whitaker says:

    Fuck yeah let’s play god bois

  11. Wils The Limit says:

    I trust this man

  12. Zom Bee Nature says:

    I'm still waiting for the dino-chicken

  13. Corsola Is The Best says:

    Ian Malcon: oh shit

  14. Penguin Fluffy says:

    Kk chickens are good enough as they are I don’t want them as dinosaurs.

  15. 53anHarri50n says:

    This has me thinking I should try my hand at gene modification. 🤔

    Stares lovingly at a poster of his idle, Henry Wu.*

  16. MothM4n_ 99 says:

    I see Dinosaur’s I sub

  17. Dash ToTheMax says:

    When can I start growing colorful horses and catgirls in Ziploc bags?

  18. Nathan Aguilar says:

    I'd love to see a Dino chicken

  19. LORDBADASS says:

    I love how even after five Jurassic Park movies where dinosaurs kill everyone, people still want to bring back fucking dinosaurs.

  20. chainsawelliott44 says:


  21. Furiousflames says:

    Hey dinosaur are just types of birds like how humans are types of prim apes that doesn't make us come from gorillas the reason babies are sometimes born with tales is because we share similar genetics but evolution is always minor not major like fish can't turn into gorillas no matter how many millions of years there given the fossils that are meant to prove Darwinism are just fossils of fish that have legs and can come on land for a short period of time. Boom knowledge bomb

  22. Furiousflames says:

    Guess what try to add gills to a human baby you know why that would make no sense? BECAUSE HUMANS DID NOT COME FROM FRICKEN FISH. This would work because dinosaurs are similar enough to chickens

  23. Archon of Games says:

    I really hope scientists pull this off before I die. I’m only 22, so hopefully that should be plenty of time, unless bad shit happens and I die earlier.

    Sex robots would be nice too! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  24. Archon of Games says:

    I feel bad for creationists. They don’t believe any of this stuff. XD

  25. BrockandRose Kling says:

    World champion Dino cock fighting coming to pay tv soon!

  26. George Blue says:

    He's my kind of mad scientist. Now I want a dinochicken too.

  27. Noam Bahar says:

    The Earth is a dinosaur

  28. jamie reid says:

    I spliced a turkey with the head of an iguana but I had to put it out of its pain after it bit me. I suppose it could work

  29. Danzaiver X says:

    have you guys seen an angry cock (Rooster for the perverts) ?
    imagine an angry cock with teeth charging at you

    angry cock with teeth sounds … strange

  30. Renee Gonzalez says:

    It would be Awesome to have a pet dinosaur!!

  31. Patrick Sanders says:

    Chihuahuas DID NOT start with wolves! Chihuahuas are an example of co- evolution. They are descendants of primeval carneforms, just as wolves but geographically separate and distinct from other dogs.

  32. Christian Anderson says:

    Let's make a chupacabra

  33. Patrick John Dela Cruz says:

    Make aostrich to raptor its now 3089 dec 23

  34. pitbull life says:

    I think it would be great and if we evolved it enuf they could mabey control are population

  35. Ankit Gomes says:

    Who sat on the egg if the egg came first 😚😚😚😚😚chicken came first

  36. attirpizza says:


  37. Lord Riggnarok says:

    The Chihuahua was bred as a ratter similar to terriets and their meat(why they get so fat so easily). We know exactly why We have them.

  38. Kristopher Brandt says:

    Can they please just make a unicorn already

  39. Dave Otuwa says:

    Households on THE FLINSTONES had a pet dinosaur.

  40. Dave Otuwa says:

    I think dino-chickens should exist after paleontologists discover fossils underneath the earth.

  41. Lucky Ito says:

    I want to barbque raptor thighs

  42. Discount Otherw0rldly says:

    They always compile "these people don't believe in evolution" with "these people don't believe in progression/microevolution". Believe it or not, most people who don't believe in evolution just don't believe it happened the way science wants you to believe it happened. I believe dinosaurs do have living ancestors, but I don't believe it took millions of billions of years for that to happen. I believe in microevolution, where an organism can adapt quickly to an environmental change to simply survive, or other things similar, but I really don't think a common chicken is a direct descendant of the T Rex. I think all the dinosaurs died out, but the smaller dinosaurs lived on for a couple thousand years to become some modern resemblance of what their parents were.
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and I'm not trying to prove anyone wrong. I'm simply putting my belief out there, just a nitpick at part of what he said.

  43. Wassson says:

    I want to se a dinosaur

  44. みかつき says:

    What about homunculuses

  45. liam brazy says:

    Just make these god damn dinosaurs already if i knew this was a possibility as a child it would be my lifes goal to make these fucken things.

  46. Ashton Cassibo says:

    Chickens are related to T-Rex's so I think you should go with a peacock

  47. Frank Sebastian Ornelas says:

    Dino nuggets

  48. Jaya Prime says:

    If it's not flying cars, time travel, or teleporters, then this has to be in the top ten for scientific funding. Bring it on!

  49. GOJI MLG says:

    Make a gaint trex sized crocodile!

  50. Puddle Zerg says:

    wait, 42% of the population don't believe in evolution?


  51. Alma Gordon says:

    I believe in evolution. Change within species and change overtime. Does that mean I believe that it all started on its own through chance and random mutations? No I do not.

  52. ZenakuShinobi says:

    Gallus Gallus Raptor please!

  53. Chay Sollitt says:

    I came for the thumbnail

  54. Bearidot In Disguise says:

    I'm gonna burn my phone after seeing that thumbnail

  55. Oly_ Smth says:

    Will the dinochicen eat seeds?

  56. Toastataurus 45 says:

    If I had a pet NON AVIAN dinosaur, I would most likely have a troodon but slightly more smart
    everyone: WhY n0T vEl0Ck I rEp t4R5
    Me: in reality, they were only the size and as dumb as a chicken and troodon is slightly bigger and is about as smart as most dogs. Dogs can be smart, but y'know how those try not to laugh videos of dogs happened

  57. Jake Odell says:

    That dinochicken is called a chickenosaurus.

  58. Dan Dan Lego says:

    I always pretend my chickens are dinosaurs

  59. Dinosaurus Rex says:


  60. Sully's Island says:

    Glow i the dark GOATS?! I want one!

  61. Robert Salgado says:

    Donate here to make Dino-Chickens real!

  62. Julian Caraballo says:

    not the mama…

  63. RAINBOW STORM says:

    I don’t think birds are “terrible lizards”

  64. Nicholas Mendoza says:

    Dino chicken will Win most in chicken fighting

  65. as k says:

    Chihuahuas come from foxe's descendents

  66. Gabriel Aviles says:


  67. Noel Normandin says:

    Bet they will be delicious….

  68. Trino Wolfskill says:

    Ok, proving evolution is real , turn that chicken into a fish , because that is what evolution theory states, that we came from fish

  69. Evolution Inc. says:

    Fuck dinosaurs I want dragons

  70. Paul Stovall says:

    The positive possibilities are enumerable. Just imagine flocks of velociraptors set loose in the middle east (if they could stomach the nasty ass rag heads), House of Representatives, San Francisco, Sacramento…..

  71. Lucaenar Dakon says:

    Give me my chickenosaurus NOW

  72. CallmeAustine says:

    Why not this instead..

    "Can we EAT Dinosaurs?"

  73. Alec Bishop says:

    What is the point of a dinochicken? Um because it would be bad ass

  74. Geologist100 says:

    What does this have to do with the Ohio State Buckeyes football

  75. Jake R says:

    Why aren't we funding this

  76. Ryan Downey says:

    Kids born with tails are left over genes. ok buddy. Those tails are extra skin not even connected to the tail bone at all. Stick to your sudo paleontology there guy.

  77. ILLUSION. TOWER says:

    Oh my god i am leaving with dinosaurs

  78. Robin L Wood says:

    I need a indoraptor male that's white and red

  79. Robin L Wood says:

    I need hybrids like megamore from dino simuator in roblox

  80. five nights at freddy's says:


  81. Tracy Hicks says:

    I breed chickens – I love dinosaurs- I'm all for this!

  82. dino sare 1234567890 says:

    Can you donate me to build a dinosaur reply me please please donate me😥😥😥😥🙁🙁😣😣😥😭😭😭😩😵

  83. David Still says:

    What if you give a parrot teeth? Would they stay herbivores?

  84. David Still says:

    I want a pet chicken with teeth, claws, and a long tail!

  85. Tom Tully says:

    There is a project called Genome, mapping human DNA . As a matter of fact they could literally replace the surface population of this planet with clones if they so wanted to. So, now lets think about this, 2020 they bring back the dinosaur, however they can't contain it! they not only bring it back but they bring back a male and a female….now you have a severe problem! Cloning has come a long way,much further than the average person realizes, so what if some sick scientist decides to clone a dinosaur, not one but two and they reproduce. What if the same scientist decides to put something extra into the DNA and creates something unstoppable and releases it into lets say the everglades or for that matter the Rain forest, where it could thrive!

  86. Lisa Black says:

    Imagine if we made a Dino chicken but modified it so it would act like a dog.

  87. Driekus wanrooy says:

    Its not a Dinosaur, it is a CHICKEN ! Do research on the extinct animals and try to cloon them.
    Where there is a will there is a way. NEVER GIVE UP !

  88. Hapa man says:

    Popeyes chicken lol 😂

  89. Micah Godfrey Music Official says:

    Boy where is my spinosaurs at

  90. Eric Crawford says:

    I have a question i really want answered. I found something that looks like a fosslilized egg and appears to have sand of something underneath. Eggshell is partiallly hatched up top. Is a little bit bigger than a quarter in length. Can i put it in vinegar to dissolve the shell? Is how long?

  91. Mallory Bergerhofer says:

    I love this guy. Lol exactly why would anyone want a Chihuahua big dogs way matter but at dyno chicken would be flipping awesome! Is a lot more educational than a rat dog lol

  92. Mateus Mota Sales says:

    Well this scientist is my personal hero

  93. Clifford Ishii says:

    So the kid said in Jurassic Park was right It is a 6 foot turkey err chicken.

  94. Mike Oxhard says:

    Some day I’m gonna buy one of these and make a awsome jungle cage with a waterfall for it in my house 😂

  95. alpha raptor jp3 says:


  96. Sampson CH YT says:

    Hecc let's make a glow in the dark raptor

  97. SHAUN CAMPBELL9 says:

    Damn! Jack Horner to have man being eaten by modern-day dinosaurs

  98. Small Fry says:

    These kind of stories you hear about online but nothing ever comes of it.

  99. Oh Ngonoo says:

    Okay, I've got my answer right here. Egg first.

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