Stunning report: Dinosaur-chicken hybrid created in Chile

Stunning report: Dinosaur-chicken hybrid created in Chile

An astonishing discovery could pave the way for "Chickenosaurus."

An amazing new study published in the journal Evolution has detailed a project that has gotten scientists closer to creating the “Dino-Chicken.”

No, that’s not a joke: scientists are actually trying to create a chicken that fully reverted to its dinosaur ancestors, although researchers were focused in this case on a different goal, according to a University of Chile statement.

Essentially, scientists have been trying to figure out how the lower leg bone of modern birds evolved, as dinosaurs lost the lower end of the fibula and stopped having it connect to the ankle as they evolved into birds.

Years ago, scientists determined that bird embryos appear to develop a tubular fibula similar to dinosaurs, but as it grows the leg bone gets shorter than the tibia and takes on the drumstick shape. So scientists decided to try to inhibit the gene that caused the bone to do that, creating birds with dinosaur-like legs. In an experiment with chickens, they were able to indeed create birds with the leg bones of a dinosaur.

It’s a fascinating discovery that takes scientists one step closer to creating an actual dino-chicken, and it sheds light on an important change in the history of evolution.

“The experiments are focused on single traits, to test specific hypotheses” Alexander Vargas of the University of Chile said in the statement. “Not only do we know a great deal about bird development, but also about the dinosaur-bird transition, which is well-documented by the fossil record. This leads naturally to hypotheses on the evolution of development, that can be explored in the lab.”

Don’t be surprised if scientists soon unveil a “Chickenosaurus.”

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