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In the 1980s, Horner began using CAT scans to look inside fossilized dinosaur eggs, and he and his colleagues have been delving deeper ever since. At North Carolina State University, Mary Schweitzer has extracted fossil molecules---proteins that survived 68 million years---from a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil excavated by Horner. These proteins show that T. rex and the modern chicken are kissing cousins. At McGill University, Hans Larsson is manipulating a chicken embryo to awaken the dinosaur within---starting by getting it to grow a tail and eventually prompting it to grow the forelimbs of a dinosaur.
All of this is happening without changing a single gene. This incredible research is leading to discoveries and applications so profound they're scary in the power they confer on humanity. How to Build a Dinosaur is a tour of the hot rocky deserts and air-conditioned laboratories at the forefront of this scientific revolution.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Robert on 06-19-15
Good book but misplaced title
I enjoyed the book a lot but found the title and the actual book mismatched. As somebody interested in both paleontology and biology I enjoyed the discussions of microbiology, genetics and paleontological findings. To be sure the emerging field of evolutionary developmental biology as described by Horner, is related to his idea of building a dinosaur from a chicken by turning on and off genes to create a non-avian dinosaur-like chicken. That being said the entirety of the book is not about how to build a dinosaur. Rather it is a mix of paleontological findings over the course of the past 50 years mixed with interesting narratives about Montana and the Badlands along with the identification debates surrounding the discovery of proteins and cells in the fossils of a T-Rex and other fossils. I enjoyed the book overall and like this narrator. If you are not familiar with biology at all the technical parts will be hard to follow, but that's in only about 15 percent of the book.
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