This article is one of many articles talking about re-enabling some dinosaur features in chicken.

I don't know a lot about genetics or paleontology. Most articles I've found about the subject use some form of argument from authority:

People have told Jack Horner he’s crazy before, but he has always turned out to be right.

Is this something that's actually possible (not only theoretically possible)? Is the reporting accurate?

Edit: thanks to commenters making my question more specific.

Is it realistic to expect chickens with some useful dinosaur features (e.g. if they have dinosaur tail they can use it to balance - it's not just meat) in the next 20 years? Are there any premises suggesting that those chickens will be able to breed and pass on the dinosaur characteristics?

  • 3
    The only way to determine if something is actually possible (not only theoretically possible) is to do it. This has never been done. Hence at best it is only theoretically possible. – DJClayworth Feb 27 '12 at 15:41
  • 2
    It probably depends very much of your definition of "dinosaurs". Can you make chicken's more like dinosaurs by manipulating the DNA a bit? Sure you can. Will the resulting creatures be 100% like the dinosaurs that existed before the comet hit? Probably not. – Christian Feb 27 '12 at 16:45
  • 2
    Just to make this clear, taxonomically, chickens are dinosaurs, unless we consider dinosaurs to be a paraphyletic clade. Not sure how this should be reflected in the question or the answers, though. – Konrad Rudolph Feb 28 '12 at 17:21
  • 2
    @KonradRudolph I get that birds descended from dinosaurs and are part of the same clade. I don't see how, taxonomically, that would make chickens dinosaurs. It would seem there are more differences than similarities in a modern bird and any dinosaur. – Sonny Ordell Feb 28 '12 at 21:07
  • 1
    @Sonny Because they share a common ancestor that’s a dinosaur, and thus form a monophyletic clade. That’s their taxonomy. This by the way is of course true for all modern birds. The term “dinosaur” is used in two different meanings: in common speech it usually denotes species belonging the superorder dinosauria, but excluding aves. But more correct (and also used this way) would be the usage of dinosaur = species of the superorder dinosauria because the exclusion of aves has no biological motivation. – Konrad Rudolph Feb 28 '12 at 22:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .