A scientific gauntlet is hurled:
It started like any other morning, and then we all learned that we would soon be riding cloned dinosaurs to work. All it took was a single benevolent billionaire to pay for the science stuff to get done, and boom — dinosaurs are no longer extinct. Of course, it was a pipe dream from the beginning, but these stories of cloning prehistoric creatures come up from time to time, and most people (reporters especially) don’t want to tell you how impossible it is.
It’s been years since cloned animals first appeared, so why aren’t we able to reach back to the Cretaceous yet? Well, this isn’t just a question of improving our current cloning methods. We lack the fundamental materials to clone anything from 65 million years ago. Taking into account the influence of Hollywood, you could be forgiven for thinking that dinosaur blood is flowing like rivers in labs all over the world. The fact is, we don’t have dino DNA.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s there were a wave of scientists claiming small samples of ancient DNA could be extracted from fossilized bones, eggs, and insects in amber. You probably remember that from a certain dinosaur movie of the era. In the end, all these claims were debunked. It turns out that DNA does not survive that long. The estimated life of a strand of DNA is no more than 1 million years, and even then only if it is in very cold conditions.
If I ever become the insanely wealthy supervillian nature clearly intended me to be, you can be certain that cloning a dinosaur is going to be on my shortlist of things to do. If nothing else, only to hear the frantic revisionism and witness the attempts to somehow uphold the status quo scientific consensus. The question is: would the estimated life of a strand of DNA be revised or would the dating methods themselves be called into doubt?