The Chickenosaurus

Dinosaur Pets Are Coming

This article is inspired and dedicated to everyone on Twitter who’s ever tweeted about wanting a pet #dinosaur. I wrote this so I can send future dreamers a link to make that dream come true!

Merely the sight of a mosquito, or more recently tick, in amber drives us dinosaur fans nuts thanks to Jurassic Park. The bad news is, according to current science, DNA completely degrades after 6.8 million years. Given dinosaurs have been gone 66 million years now, we’re out of luck nearly 10 times over. Not to worry though, because dinosaurs are more than a bunch of letters scrambled together. There’s more than one way to get what we want.

Scientists are making dinosaurs, just not like in the movies.

Think of Dinosaurs, the original non-avian dinosaurs, as the Ford Model T. The very first of their kind. Now think of the birds of today as one of the many Ford cars and trucks of today. Mustangs, Explorers, F150s, Taurus’, and more. Today’s cars have better gas mileage, reach faster speeds, and have better technology overall. But today’s cars still have that core of what makes a car. An engine, four wheels, a steering column, and so on. Birds still have what makes a dinosaur buried in their DNA. Scientists just have to find it. Enter the Chickenosaurus.

Just like it sounds, the Chickenosaurus is a dinosaur that hatches from a chicken egg. Thanks to an ultra cheap, but super powerful, piece of technology called CRISPR, scientists are reverse engineering chicken embryos, expressing hidden traits of the chicken’s dinosaur ancestors. What traits are those might you ask? To get the more traditional, non-avian dinosaur dinosaur look, chickens need 3 things:

  • Snouts instead of beaks.
  • Hands instead of wings.
  • Tails instead feathers.

This is where you get on the edge of your seat. You’ve just found out that only three discoveries are needed before dinosaurs walk the earth again for the first time in 66 million years. Now I’m going to tell you that 2 of those 3 discoveries have already been made! All that stands between extinction and existence for dinosaurs is a tail. Go ahead and replay that Jurassic Park scene where dinosaurs are seen for the first time. The rest of this can wait, enjoy your moment.

How Soon?

That’s the 5 million dollar question. Funding for this project started in 2011, and has actually been made directly possible thanks to Star Wars. Jack Horner, the head of the project, said in a 2017 interview that he expects a Chickenosaurus within the next 10 years. The reality is, it could literally be tomorrow, or even today. It’s a new area of science that doesn’t come with a roadmap. It’s a bit of a guessing game right now, so the progress is slow. It only takes one correct guess to bring back life that hasn’t been seen for tens of millions of years. The dawn of a whole new generation of dinosaurs.

Who is Jack Horner?

Jack Horner has been a paleontologist his entire adult life. Not only has he finished a career as the Curator for Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, but at 71 years old he’s started a second career at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. He’s made several incredible dinosaur discoveries, and has even been a film consultant throughout the Jurassic Park franchise. There’s more, but you get the idea. This is the right man for the job. He has specifically mentioned people keeping them as pets as one of the motivations behind the project. He’s in our corner.

What Comes Next?

It will be a new age for dinosaurs. Once scientists lock down the recipe for creating a Chickenosaurus, the sky’s the limit. Literally. Pick any bird and imagine it dino-fied. Cardinals and finches to ostriches and emus. Mr. Horner says that the Chickenosaurus will eat the same things regular chicken do. We’ll just have to come up with something creative to work with teeth instead of beaks. Maybe bird seed tofu? Some birds like eagles and bearded vultures aren’t going to be eating bird seed. This leads us down the Jurassic Park path of doing something just because we could, instead of asking if we should. Regardless, the future is bright for dinosaur pet owners. Now you can replay the Jurassic Park scene where the little Raptor hatches from the egg. That’s going to be you any day now.

38 Responses

  1. Suede

    Here’s my issue with the chickenosaurs. Its still going to be chicken. Just because it has teeth, a tail and theropod arms, doesn’t make it an Mesozoic dinosaur. Its still going to act and behave like a chicken and thus require chicken care. Its body is going to still require the regular diet of a chicken(grains mostly) that teeth will probably interfere with. If some one gave a human a monkey’s tail, hands and feet, that would suddenly make them arboeal(think that’s how you spell it). They would have to completely modify the chicken from the ground up. Otherwise their going to have a very confused and miserable modified chicken.

    • Adminosaurus Rex

      You are right, but I see it from another perspective. The Mesozoic package you mentioned (hands, snout, tail) coming in a household-ready form is what makes it (doubly) exciting. Nothing like it has existed since the Cretaceous, and it is easily cared for. Win-win!

    • Douglas Bellah

      You do realize you chickens came primarily from jungle fowl and there aren’t exactly a lot of grains in the jungle.
      Also chickens can would survive off primarily insects in the wild. They are only fed grain in feedlots because it is cheap, not because it is the healthy option for chickens. I mean they also cut their beaks out so they don’t peck themselves to death….high nutrition and quality of life just can’t compete against profits. And have you ever been around chickens very much? They kind of are like miniature T-Rexs to smaller animals. I means chickens will attack, kill, and eat rodents. Do you realize how brutal that is with those sharps ass claws and nasty beak? I mean people used to fight roosters because they are brutal enough to be entertaining. (Do not condone this, but they don’t fight animals that don’t viciously attack each other)

      You obviously have little to no knowledge or experience with chickens.

      Also humans really aren’t all that different from other great apes. I mean seriously, the ONLY real difference is that we are slightly smarter. And when you are feeling all superior just remember that smart apes have scored higher on IQ tests than dumb humans…and I am not talking about mentally handicapped humans, just standard slightly below average. Also in in some tests done by researchers using various aspects of Game theory chimpanzees were shown to be more capable and beat there human counter parts in several different games.

      Humans are necessarily smarter in every way, sure we have are areas, but honestly we are a shit evolutionary branch of primates just do to our irresponsibility and the imminent reality of causing our own extinction. That considered the other great apes are just superior evolutionary branches. Don’t be so superior while you participate in killing off your genetic line. 🙂

    • Jordan Thomas

      Animals when they are born see what they are in the food change if they are in nature and in a large environment with other living organisms which ‘MAY’ change it to a mesozoic dinosaur but will still move like a chicken.

  2. Jplant

    It will be interesting to see the extent, however, the brain developed will no longer be a chicken brain. The embryological development of peripheral anatomical structures will automatically be matched by the development of central projections. Those pathfinding projections will transform the central motor and sensory representations away from “chicken like” patterns. What will be interesting is if the structural/functional interplay will result in the reemergence of behavioral patterns that (in chickens) are the vestigial behavioral repertoires of dinosaurs

    • Adminosaurus Rex

      Wow. To make sure I understand, you’re saying changing physical features could change its behavior? That’s fascinating to think about.

      • Jplant

        When you travel the old road, you can’t but arrive in the old neighborhood

    • Tommy

      I’m glad someone else gave thought to the fact that nature has “auto correct” for lack of a better term. Chickenosaur family (provided it comes into existence) wont behave like a chicken or a dinosaur but somewhere in between. Unless of course the play with protein blocking in the embryonic stage and manage, probably more accidental then on purpose to give us a chicken brained dino bodied creature that has no clue how to life. That said, if normal growth is allowed in a devolved bird it’s behavior pattern is anybody’s guess and I hope like hell it’s able to be domesticated effectively cause this would be a really awesome pet lol. Someone make me a dragon!

  3. T cake

    Y’all must have never raised chickens, I had 30+ and if they saw blood it was game over. With teeth and retractable claws it would be horrendous what they can accomplish. I can’t wait for this creation.

    • Jplant

      The real answer to “why did the chicken cross the road?” was ” it sure as hell wasn’t going to let the farmer’s kid get away!”. I’ve seen those videos online of kids being chased by chickens. Fortunately I predated the internet. Unfortunately, I didn’t predated chickens.

      • N. Kincaid

        Be careful what you wish for. Roosters can be very dangerous to humans, especially children. They are bred to protect the hens by attacking any wild animals that come around. I grew up on a five acre homestead and was a very quiet child. One of my jobs as a child was to feed our chickens and gather their eggs. My father brought home a rooster one day to protect our hens, because possums had been attacking them. The rooster’s feet were tied together as he held it in his lap and he told me I could pet it. I found out later that my father had said he wanted the meanest rooster they had when he bought it. This rooster cornered me in the henhouse while I was collecting eggs one day and viciously attacked me. I remember hearing a hard “thump, thump, thump” on the floor of our wood henhouse. By the time I turned to see what was making the sound, the rooster was already attacking me. I remember being very frightened and physically shaking as the rooster backed me into a corner. Due to the rooster flapping it’s wings, it was at about the height of my waist and chest as it attempted to strike me with its claws. I was screaming and kicking my legs as high and as hard as I could to try to keep the rooster’s claws from making contact with my face and body. I remember seeing my blue tennis shoes on my feet as I kicked them as fast as I could. I was so very frightened, I couldn’t move from my spot. I was too young to be able to fight off the rooster and to try to escape the henhouse at the same time. My screams were loud enough for my mother and older sister to hear and they ran to help me. I don’t remember how they got me out of the henhouse, across our back and side yards and into the safety of our house. I only remember sitting on the kitchen table where they had put me and severely shaking from my fear. I couldn’t talk. I was later told I must have been in shock.

  4. Beau

    I’ve been reading posts about this since 2015. My only thing is they say they’ve successfully engineered certain aspects of these chickens, so where’s the pictures? Why can’t they show us what they’ve created thus far? I’m just curious.

    • Adminosaurus Rex

      None of the fetuses have been allowed to grow. It’s all done in the early stages before the various elements can form (tail, beak, etc).

  5. Clyde Bixby

    Will the chickenosaurs be social like the Velociraptors from Jurassic Park/World or can they be alone as a pet like a cat or dog?

  6. Clyde Bixby

    Once they bring back the dinosaurs can they apply that to bring back the pterosaurs(I know they technically aren’t dinosaurs but it would still be cool)?

    • Adminosaurus Rex

      They are currently in the process of bringing back a mammoth ala Jurassic Park style. The Chickenosaurus is a whole different thing though. Completely different process.

      Bringing back pterosaurs would be completely reliant, by today’s scientific understanding, on finding pterosaur DNA.

  7. Clyde Bixby

    Will Chickenosaurus still be able to chirp like a regular chicken(I’ve asked different people and they’ve told me different things)?

    • Jplant

      I think that they would be able to chirp, but in their own unique way. The transformation of the beak to a snout shouldn’t interfere that much with those sorts of vocalizations, and I imagine that the interactive role of such sounds in the adult’s caring for the young is a well conserved evolutionary strategy. Nesting doesn’t stop at the physical structure of the nest, it’s a complex and dynamic web of interacting behaviours of individuals and social groups that is likely to re-emerge.

  8. John Sampson

    Will the chickenosaurus be able to use their arms and claws(formerly wings) to defend themselves?

    Also are they actually going to be called chickenosaurus or is that the nickname they’ve been given until an official one is assigned(Not hating the name, just asking)?

  9. AceDracule

    Okay so if we where to go off the basis of what you have stated about altering and manipulating the basis of a birds genetic foundation, would taking an austrich or an emu (if I’m spelling right at midnight…) And altering the base genetics to take on the tail, beak and such then would taking the DNA of say a hawk (I don’t know a Bald Eagle) and intertwining it with the ostrich DNA during the fetal duration or even before that in am embriotic state not become our first “Veloca Raptor” I’m sure ethically this would be breaching and going against “mother nature/god” (but that’s not really something I believe in). And if we where to then find the specific traits within dogs currently for the “pack mentality” would that not essentially be creating Blue? Yes I know huge what its GINORMOUS possibilitys but my brain is spinning as it always does and after doing some really easy to find genetics and biomechanics studies I believe that this is possible allot sooner then the “scientists/government” is letting on. I’d truly believe that there is already a chicken dino alive and well that they are poking and prodding learning more and more that we just don’t even know about. Its no 10 years down the road and scientists have rather lied to everyone yes birds and chickens are the “closest” relatives of dinosaurs but we still have some that have been around hundreds if not thousands of years already!! Look at the crocodile and alligators what ate they direct decendents of who is to say that if we where to look deeper into the DNA strands of them and learn even more we won’t find that last if not more hidden Genetic traits that can just be plucked from on DNA tree and added onto another during the embriotic state of life

    • Holden Frost

      AceDracule if I’m understanding you correctly the reason we don’t take DNA from other animals(gators, hawks, etc.) and insert them into the chicken genome is because in a 2011 TED Talk Jack Horner stated that he believed activating the dormant dinosaur-like genes would be a great way to teach kids about evolutionary biology(it could also be the final key to disproving creationism). While it would be ASTRINOMICALLY cool to create Jurassic Park/World dinosaurs like Blue and Rexy it wouldn’t have the same effect on educating children.

    • Adminosaurus Rex

      Just to add to what Holden said, alligators/crocodiles are not dinosaurs. Crocodilians and dinosaurs both evolved from Archosaurs, but are two totally different lines. Adding dog or gator DNA would, I think, make it a different animal.

      • AceDracule

        yes I would believe that you are both correct in that as i have not gotten the chance to watch that ted talk as of yet but a link or set of links as a thread (if there isn’t one already) to further educate and help educate others further to understand the explanation that Jack Horner explained would be amazing, i am probably wrong in some aspects of what I previously mentioned but even if it where a into the feature project it would still be a rather cool start into the deeper genetics that would be required into creating Blue or Rexy

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