Jurassic World is currently out in the cinemas, and we’re all watching the consequences of bringing dinosaurs back from extinction and then messing things up. Science fiction, right?
Let’s look at whether we might see dinosaurs brought back to life in the future a little later on. First, let’s take some time to consider what sort of employment a dinosaur keeper might have.
Our world and society are changing rapidly. The rise of the gig economy is just one example. In the gig economy people aren’t employed by companies they pitch for jobs provided by a logistics system and split the fees. Uber and Deliveroo are both examples of this. Even your favourite RPGs delivered by companies like DPD arrive at your door thanks to the gig economy.
We don’t yet know what the future of the gig economy will be. It looks like legal pressure is forcing these “don’t call them employers” logistic platforms to pony up with some forms of sick pay, holidays and insurance but it feels as if the model is here to stay. It also seems likely that future jobs like dinosaur keeper might well be part of them. After all, if you had a dinosaur park would you rather a system with safety pay, insurance, sick or injury leave and supply and demand all factored individually by an algorithm or a one-size fits contract for most keepers?
This is just a game, but Scottish Friendly are letting people try their hand at being a dinosaur keeper in this point and click game.
Taking a break from encouraging parents to take out junior ISAs for their kids so that there’s a fund available for university or the first flat the game page instead looks at pretending MScs in Practical Paleontology at Bronto Biological Studies might be education goals. While this is a fun bit of marketing I can see the underlying point – shortly we might need to start investing, so our children have the funds to establish their careers; either to pay University or their status as a freelancer on the gig economy.
Scientists are making efforts to revive extinct species. As Rhian Morgan writes in the Metro, we are already growing Neanderthal/human hybrid brains and real life evolutionary geneticists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology are leading the project.
But, we’re still a long way off.
We don’t have the required technology. While we do have dinosaur DNA, we can’t do anything with it. In particular, we destroy each rare sample whenever we tinker with it. This is explained in detail by the Smithsonian Magazine.
Crucially, DNA has a half-life of 521 years so that means the longest any trace of the genetic map for any creature could last is 6.8 million years.