August 12, 2005

Scientific Illiteracy

More naïve, boyhood-era delusions lanced by scientific reality. Hopefully this doesn't become a recurring feature around these parts! From Dawkins' Ancestor's Tale: "It bears repeating that the DNA molecules of long dead animal are not themselves preserved... The plot of Jurassic Park, though not silly, falls foul of practical facts. Conceivably, for a short while after becoming embalmed in amber, a bloodsucking insect could have contained the instructions needed to reconstruct a dinosaur. But unfortunately, after an organism is dead, the DNA in its body, and in the blood it has sucked, doesn't survive longer than a few years." Well, no sense prentending otherwise: I, sadly enough, had genuinely believed we'd see the revival of dinosaurs someday... But oy, what's with this 'though not silly, falls foul of practical facts' bit? Are we now raising the threshold for 'silly'?
-- Brad Plumer 11:00 PM || ||