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Jurassic Park

You surely saw the story about soft tissue recovered from a T.rex fossil. They found it through a fluke: The thigh bone was so big they had to crack it in two to fit it into the helicopter to lug it from the remote Hell Creek site in Montana. We should expect to hear a lot of power saws cranking up now in museum basements and attics. American museums are lousy with giant dinosaur bones. The big ones are the easiest to find, obviously, and many of these bones were collected back in the golden age of Cope and Marsh et al. They sit on the shelves, tagged, bagged, but otherwise inert, never displayed, never truly investigated. What can you do with all these giant femurs? Well, now we know: Cut 'em up.

There is great mystery over the possibility that the soft tissue includes cells with DNA -- which raises the whole "Jurassic Park" scenario. Until further notice we should presume that DNA of that era would be highly degraded. Obviously if through some miracle we could bring Mesozoic animals back to life, we should definitely grow some pterosaurs, the flying reptiles (technically not dinosaurs). Think of the military applications! You could ride them into battle, just like in Lord of the Rings! WAY cool.

What you bet Rummy's already got a task force going on this.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 31, 2005; 9:03 AM ET
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