Gina Vaynshteyn
June 11, 2015 4:27 pm

Jurassic World hits theaters tonight at midnight, and ’90s nostalgia (and our infinite love for Chris Pratt) is in full throttle — along with the idea of a theme-park based around resurrected dinosaurs, which seems as epic and magical as ever. But what if someone were to tell you the concept behind the Jurassic series isn’t SO far-fetched and magical after all? According to science, we’re getting a tiny bit closer to bringing the extinct creatures back from the dead (because we’re beginning to know more and more about their biological makeup, and it’s awesome).

The Guardian reports scientists found red blood cells and collagen fibers in a dinosaur claw fossil — a fossil that is 75 millions years old. According to The Guardian, “Traces of the soft tissues were found by accident when researchers at Imperial College in London analy[z]ed eight rather shabby fossils that had been dug up in Canada a century ago.” This discovery is HUGE.

To rule out the possibility of human contamination (for example, if someone with a cut touched the fossil), they checked to see whether the cell had a nucleus. According to The Guardian, if the red blood cells have them, they can’t be human. When they examined a cell, they did, in fact, find a nucleus — so the blood is definitely not human!

Not only did the researchers discover a nucleus, but they also found bands of fibers, which “further tests found to contain amino acids known that make up collagen, the protein-based material that forms the basis for skin and other soft tissues.” Knowing more and more about the biological makeup of dinosaurs will help us discover how they evolved.

But, most importantly — can all of this mean we’ll be able to genetically recreate a living, breathing dinosaur? Maybe. Vox skeptically states, “Compared with collagen fibers and red blood cells, DNA is much, much smaller and more fragile.” However, paleontologist Susannah Maidment is more hopeful. “We haven’t found any genetic material in our fossils, but generally in science, it is unwise to say never.” Sergio Bertazzo, a materials scientist, also isn’t so quick to shoot the possibility down. He states, “This opens up the possibility of loads of specimens that may have soft tissue preserved in them, but the problem with DNA is that even if you find it, it won’t be intact. It’s possible you could find fragments, but to find more than that? Who knows?”

See? Who knows. We might be in line to buy Jurassic World park tickets sooner than we think.

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