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Scientists Discover 75 Million Year Old Dinosaur DNA

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posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 11:18 AM

originally posted by: Alien Abduct

Let's say we could bring back a dinosaur. The question is, what about the supporting bacteria for its gut and even mites and such for the dinosaur? Could it survive without them or would suitable replacements take their place? Do suitable bacteria exist? Would the modern plants be poisonous to it?

Exactly, apart from the moral issues of whether or not we should do it (someone will, if technologically possible) there is the question of the contemporary environment of dinosaurs to keep everything in balance and shield them from what could harm them today.

Maybe they would need to be kept in a completely isolated environment (something like project Eden comes to mind), together with lots of other resurrected species. But in the end, who wouldn't want to see a real, life-size dinosaur?

posted on Mar, 6 2020 @ 11:24 AM
a reply to: jeep3r

It generally stands that if humanity can do a thing, we will do that thing.

The fact of the matter is that humanity does not invent tools it does not use.

But short of them coming across 100% intact DNA Scientists are never going to be able to clone a dinosaur as an organism's DNA starts decaying the moment after that organism dies.

That's because enzymes from soil microbes, body cells and gut cells degrade DNA and so does UV radiation.

What's more, oxygen and water can chemically alter DNA, causing the strands to break down.

If we ever wish to clone a dinosaur we are going to need a perfectly preserved one for the purpose, and 65 million years later kind of says no on that score.
edit on 6-3-2020 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 11 2020 @ 10:57 PM

originally posted by: jeep3r
The authors are aware that other scientists claimed to have found ancient dinosaur DNA before, and they know that such finds frequently turned out to be modern microbes that contaminated the fossils. In their paper, however, they argue that such contamination can be excluded and that the discovered DNA is therefore truly ancient, thus belonging to the dinosaur fossil they investigated (Hypacrosaurus stebingeri).

It has been my experience that these "other scientists" mentioned above also usually have some line of argumentation to rule out contamination (which then in time is proven to be incorrect when it turns out to be contamination by modern microbes after all). So I wonder, do you understand something about why their line of argumentation or methods to rule out contamination would be superior or more reliable than the arguments and methods of these "other scientists" that turned out to be wrong about this?

Since you didn't really mention any further details regarding this subject of ruling out contamination (addressing the 'how?'-question in a bit more detail), and thus also not in comparison with the earlier claims made by other scientists concerning dinosaur DNA.

The way it's phrased now, one could even get the wrong impression that these "other scientists" didn't even address the issue of contamination at all in contrast to these authors.

Mind you, there are other forms of contamination of the samples than just microbial contamination as well. It's a rather frequent problem in the field of DNA research and sequencing, even with much younger samples that are very carefully handled to avoid contamination. So what does that tell us about fossils and samples that have been affected by their natural and biological environment for millions of years without any scientists around to follow all the preservation, storage and handling protocols for avoiding contamination (or at least keep that contamination to a minimum)?

Besides, when you've got a fossil lying around in nature for a while rather than a sterile laboratory environment, it's pretty much a given that microbes are going to crawl through it. If crawl is the right word. So one should probably avoid giving people the impression that microbial contamination has been ruled out conclusively. And if it's not ruled out conclusively (which is likely the way it is presented by these authors if one looks at the details and given the general popularity of the Agnostic Code amongst scientists), then it's not a fact/certainty that this is dinosaur DNA, or as you(?*) put it "that the discovered DNA is therefore truly ancient, thus belonging to the dinosaur fossil they investigated (Hypacrosaurus stebingeri)." (*: it looks like you're quoting from a news article, so I will use You/They from here on) You/They state that as if the authors argue that this is a fact/certainty/truth/reality (all synonyms). For it to be established as a fact/certainty requires one to be able to conclusively rule out any form of contamination, including microbial. It also requires one to be able to rule out any other possible reason other than contamination that there might be for this not to be "truly ancient" dinosaur DNA (see quotation further below about Schweitzer for another reason other than contamination to conclude or think that this is not "truly"/factually ancient dinosaur DNA). If one doesn't want to go there (make any conclusive statements about it like the one you/they described), then no factual discovery was claimed akin to the facts discovered and described in Newton's Law of Gravity, or Einstein's discovery of the fact/certainty/truth/reality that E=MC^2 (energy = mass times the speed of light squared).

I did notice this statement possibly motivated by some form of agnostic code in one of the articles linked in the OP:

A molecular biologist by the name Mary Schweitzer, who helped with testing and the study's co-author, said that she was very hesitant to actually declare that what the found on the fossil was even DNA. She told National Geographic that she was not even willing to call it DNA because she was too cautious and did not want to overstate and misrepresent the results that they had with the testing.

That sounds quite a bit different from the argument described in the following statement (the argument as if it's a fact/certainty, by means of the word "is", as if it really is the truth of the matter; comparable with the = symbol):

In their paper, however, they argue that such contamination can be excluded and that the discovered DNA is therefore truly ancient, thus belonging to the dinosaur fossil they investigated (Hypacrosaurus stebingeri).

Synonyms for "truly" in that context are: "factually/conclusively/certainly". So that is phrased as if "they [the authors of this study] argue" that this is a fact/certainty/reality/truth. Yet the other article seems to suggest that's not what the co-author is doing. Not even close. She won't even argue (or claim) that it's a fact/certainty that this is even DNA at all.

The agnostic code is a tricky animal and comes in many forms, often used in combination with double standards and a contradictory confusing way of phrasing things. What are the authors really saying anyway in the end?

I quoted from the paragraph in the news article you linked in the OP that is headed by the phrase: "Though some scientists have a contradictory opinion". Funny how the only "contradictory opinion" discussed in that paragraph is from the study's co-author. The news article was the one from the Tech Times.

Mind you, the Agnostic Code I linked from the South Park video, is only talking about 1 subject, but you can see that the notion that 'we can't be certain about anything' (variations: 'we can't know anything with certainty', 'we can't know anything for sure') is applied to a multitude of other subjects in that episode (such as what the flavor of Dr. Pepper is, or what's going on in the basement). It is this general notion/philosophy/idea that I'm referring to when I'm talking about "some form of agnostic code" or earlier when I said "given the general popularity of the Agnostic Code amongst scientists" (and there's the South Park link again). I also sometimes refer to it as general agnosticism. There is also selective agnosticism (only regarding specific subjects, usually inconvenient facts/certainties/realities that one doesn't want to acknowledge as being well-established and proven because of what they would mean for one's preferred unproven beliefs/opinions/ideas; so you just argue that we can't be sure about it opening the door for promoting and holding on to unsupported or highly dubious speculation that makes good use of this selective agnostic code).
edit on 12-3-2020 by whereislogic because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 12 2020 @ 01:31 AM

originally posted by: whereislogic
(such as what the flavor of Dr. Pepper is, or what's going on in the basement). ...

In case you're unfamiliar with the episode:

It's a form of general agnosticism depicted in that episode, applied to a multitude of subjects we supposedly can't be certain about. There seems to be no limit implied to the things we can't be sure about or exceptions suggested of things we can be certain about. When that's the case, I call it general agnosticism. Maybe the selective agnosticism I sometimes talk about would be better described as selectively biased agnosticism; as to not get confused with the reality that there are indeed some things we cannot be sure about, or are not yet sure about, as well as quite a few other things we are sure about or can be sure about, such as that 1+1=2. Or E=MC^2 for a more complicated example that is still a well-established fact/certainty in the sciences. Some people can be quite biased in their selection of those well-established facts/certainties/realities/truths that they want to deny by arguing we can't be 100% certain about them. Even though they have stood the test of time and repeated observation and experimentation. That bias comes from a certain inconvenience with having to deal with these facts in relation to what they want to promote or speculate about.

edit for the last paragraph of my previous comment: "anything" should be "this" (cause the word "anything" in those phrases already describes the notion of general agnosticism, and I actually wanted to describe the base philosophy there as it is expanded when applied to an increasing number of subjects, "this" ultimately becomes "anything" when one is moving over from selectively biased agnosticism to general agnosticism, when you apply this notion that we can't be sure about some specific inconvenient thing, to just about any thing, or in the end, anything*)

*: There are even those here on ATS and articles in so-perceived scientific magazines who argue that we can't be sure that 1+1=2. These various forms of agnostic thinking and reasoning are quite pervasive. They are often promoted as the more openminded way of thinking, but in practice, they are often used by those who are quite closed minded and reluctant in acknowledging well-established truths/facts/certainties/realities. Given the meaning for the word "acknowledge" as the antonym for the word "deny", being "accept or admit the existence or truth/factuality/certainty/conclusiveness of", those who enter the realm of general agnosticism often basically end up denying everything, Baldrick-style (although usually not as obvious as Baldrick does it below):

Another edit for my previous comment where I said:

originally posted by: whereislogic
... She won't even argue (or claim) that it's a fact/certainty that this is even DNA at all.

Seems like that would be something that would be useful to make sure of first before discussing how to rule out microbial contamination (or how one has done so). That it's even DNA in the first place. Cause if it's not DNA, it's such a waste of time and research funding. And what if you can't make sure of that? Continue the speculation and publications about it in spite of that little nagging issue that identifies the type of claims in the news headlines as rather dubious speculation presented as "possible ... evidence" (to take the headline of Tech Times as an example)?
edit on 12-3-2020 by whereislogic because: (no reason given)

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