Elon Musk is already a pretty weird dude who lives his life like he’s starring in a 1990s big-budget sci-fi blockbuster and because Elon is that special combination of weird and insanely rich, he doesn’t have normal hobbies like the rest of us. Instead of learning how to knit or messing around with banana bread, Elon is putting microchips in pig brains and watching what happens. Elon’s got a startup side-project called Neuralink, and they’re really shoving microchips in animal brains to track information. It’s a real tech-and-animals kind of thing, and apparently Elon’s partner in microchipping, Neuralink co-founder Max Hodak, believes that maybe in the next couple of years, the technology that is tracking pig brains could turn into the technology needed to create a dinosaur-filled theme park. Well, there’s one giant buzzkill who thinks Elon and Max can’t make dinosaurs, and it’s a little thing called science.
CNET writes that this whole conversation started after the New York Post reported that Neuralink has the power to create a real-life Jurassic Park. That’s the kind of bold statement that would have even the most gullible, optimistic person asking, “Uh…you know those were pretend dinosaurs, right?” Last Saturday, Max claimed in a tweet that Neuralink could build Jurassic Park, and the only thing stopping them from doing so is motivation. Not limits in science or gene-splicing technology or the general ethics of whether you should be fucking around with dino DNA – just the sheer will to get it done:
we could probably build jurassic park if we wanted to. wouldn’t be genetically authentic dinosaurs but . maybe 15 years of breeding + engineering to get super exotic novel species
— Max Hodak (@max_hodak) April 4, 2021
As Max points out, any Neuralink dinos that were created wouldn’t be exact matches to the real dinosaurs that roamed the earth 65 million years ago. These would just be DNA relatives, or an “artist’s conceptual sketch” version of dinosaurs. The reason B.D. Wong was able to make so many lab-made dinosaur babies in 1993’s Jurassic Park was because they were extracting dino DNA from the blood inside a mosquito’s body, and that mosquito had been frozen in amber for millions of years. But remember, Jurassic Park is a made-up movie, not real life. And CNET says that in real life, any dino DNA leftover from the past has dried up or disintegrated millions of years ago. Basically, it’s not happening.
It’s pretty much impossible to resurrect a dinosaur. The science of bringing dinosaurs back from the dead isn’t really as sound as Hodak makes it seem though. Even humanity would have a tough time building a Jurassic Park in the next 15 years. First, we’d need some DNA from the prehistoric tyrants. Unlike in the film Jurassic Park, where the DNA is retrieved from mosquitoes in amber and fused with frog DNA, that information has completely degraded over the millions of years it has spent in the ground.
That’s a pretty big feat, considering they’re currently only at the stage of teaching monkeys to play Pong:
Monkey plays Pong with his mind https://t.co/35NIFm4C7T
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021
While the outlook is grim, is there a small but realistic possibility that Elon and Max could channel their inner John Hammond and “probably” build Jurassic Park if they wanted to? No. No amount of wanting, wishing, hoping, praying, or throwing Elon’s billions at it, will bring dinosaurs back to life. Or even dinosaur-looking cousins. The most realistic Jurassic Park-adjacent thing they could accomplish is some kind of a microchip that would give people the raw sexual energy of Dr. Ian Malcolm. Come on, get on that – make something useful for a change!