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Science of Jurassic Park

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Jurassic Park is a 1993 film directed by Steven Spielberg. The first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise, it is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton.

Next Generation Science Standards: Science & Engineering Practices
● Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
● Ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.
● Evaluate a question to determine if it is testable and relevant.
● Ask and/or evaluate questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set, or the suitability of the design

Science and engineering practices: NSTA National Science Teacher Association

Next Gen Science Standards Appendix F: Science and engineering practices

1. When did dinosaurs live? Investigate the geological eras.

Another view of the relationship between geological eras and the Earth’s strata.

2. What are chromosomes/genes/DNA nucleotides?

DNA is like an alphabet: Analogies to explain nucleotides, genes and chromosomes

3. How might DNA possibly be preserved for long periods of time?

4. What is the scientific premise of the film: How did they recreate ancient dinosaurs? Did they (according to the film) create dinosaurs at all?

Science Jurassic Park Tree Sap

5. According to the book  & film, not enough intact DNA was recovered to create a true dinosaur. How then were the theme park dinosaurs created?


6. Have scientists ever actually discovered preserved soft tissue, and/or protein, in dinosaur fossils?





7. Have scientists ever actually discovered preserved DNA in dinosaur fossils?







8. Some scientists have proposed that we can realistically reverse engineer dinosaurs from living birds. What is their biological, and evolutionary reasoning for why this could make sense?





Can Scientists Turn Birds Back Into Dinosaur Ancestors? National Geographic

TED Talks: Jack Horner on building a dinosaur from a chicken

A molecular mechanism for the origin of a key evolutionary innovation, the bird beak and palate, revealed by an integrative approach to major transitions in vertebrate history

9. How would these scientists actually go about doing this? (Summarize in a clearly written paragraph, describing several steps.)


Additional resources

Are Movies Science? DINOSAURS, MOVIES, AND REALITY Univ. of California Museum of Paleontology

Real-Life ‘Jurassic World’ Dinos May Be Possible, Scientist Says: LiveScience

Can scientists clone dinosaurs? How Stuff Works

Scrappy Fossils Yield Possible Dinosaur Blood Cells: National Geographic

DNA has a 521-year half-life, Nature (scientific journal)

The final nail in the Jurassic Park coffin. Research just published in the journal The Public Library of Science ONE (PLOS ONE)

Absence of Ancient DNA in Sub-Fossil Insect Inclusions Preserved in ‘Anthropocene’ Colombian Copal. (scientific journal)

Science of Jurassic Park: JurassicWikia

Book: The Science of Jurassic Park: And the Lost World Or, How to Build a Dinosaur



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