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Jurassic World

Found in: science, preK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Despite discoveries of dinosaur soft tissue, (see: Dinosaur Shocker) the likelihood of cloning or hybridizing one as in Jurassic World is slim. However, paleontologist Jack Horner who was an advisor for the four Jurassic Park movies, was the model for Dr. Alan Grant, and would love to see a living dinosaur has suggested another approach to creating one, reverse engineering. Birds are living, avian dinosaurs and their dinosaur DNA could be reactivated to create a dinosaur or something that resembles one.

Recent experiments with chicken embryos have taken the first step by creating embryos with dinosaur-like snouts. (See: Dino-Chickens' Reveal How The Beak Was Born) Horner and his team wants to create the whole beast. (See: Paleontologist Jack Horner Is Hard At Work Trying To Turn A Chicken Into A Dinosaur ) Of course, the developing the technical expertise to create such a creature, even a chickenosaurus, should remind us of Dr. Ian Malcolm’s objection to doing so: “…your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.” The following lessons, activities, and resources examine aspects of dino-science:


  • Dinosaurs - Lesson 7: Nature and Change is a cross-curricular lesson (math, science, language) for K-3 students in which they observe change in nature, including extinction, by making comparisons and by using mathematics. And here is a link to the complete set of seven Dinosaur lessons.
  • In Dinosaur Breath, students in grades 6-8 investigate the role of dinosaurs in the carbon cycle and the storage of carbon in chalk. Standards are listed.
  • Click and Clone is an interactive animation of cloning for students in grades 9-12 to reinforce their understanding of how somatic cell nuclear transfer works in cloning.
  • Should Dinosaurs Be "Cloned" From Ancient DNA? ( PDF, 1.3 MB, 24 pgs.) is a case study for small groups of grade 9-12 students to explore the scientific, technical, environmental, and ethical issues raised by the creation of dinosaurs.
  • The lesson plans for The 2018 Inventure Prize guide grade 9-12 students through the design and creation of a product. This framework could be adapted to simulate a team creating a dinosaur or a dino-amusement park.
  • Make a Chickensaurus Skeleton provides guidance in assembling a chicken skeleton. Some of the steps require cooking and the use of harsh chemicals so the skeleton would be best prepared by a teacher and assembled as a class project.


Christopher McGowan has written two books describing how to create “dinosaur” skeletons from chicken bones:

  • T-Rex To Go: Build Your Own From Chicken Bones; Foolproof Instructions For Budding Paleontologists
  • Make Your Own Dinosaur Out Of Chicken Bones: Foolproof Instructions For Budding Paleontologists


Though many dinosaur discoveries have been made since 2001, this Complete Dinosaur Cladogram (JPG 831k) is an impressive and useful graphic. It can be downloaded and printed. The webpage includes other useful activities and resources.


  • In Jack Horner: Building A Dinosaur From A Chicken (16:29) Horner describes the science behind his project to create a dinosaur. An interactive transcript is included. (In his introduction, Horner talks about his dyslexia.)
  • The Real Jurassic Park (1993) (54:42) looks at how a dinosaur might be cloned. The video includes interviews with Michael Crichton, Steven Spielberg, Jack Horner, and Robert T. Bakker.


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