Could a Dinosaur Be Cloned From DNA Preserved in Amber?

could-dinosaur-cloned-dna-preserved-amber Credit: Thomas Quine/CC-BY 2.0

It is theoretically possible, though highly unlikely, that a dinosaur clone could be created. The idea that it's possible to clone a dinosaur using DNA preserved in amber was popularized by the movie Jurassic Park. This fictionalized version of the process made it seem like a relatively easy process, but in truth it's rather complex and improbable.

Considering that as of 2013, scientists have had only very limited success in cloning livestock animals in spite of more than half a century of effort, it is difficult to predict when, or even if, humans will have the right technology to successfully revive even an endangered species through cloning. Bringing back a fully extinct animal such as a dinosaur may pose even more difficulty.

Even if a dinosaur was successfully cloned, there is no guarantee that that cloned animal will not quickly die just as most successfully cloned animal specimens do. But even getting that far will be extremely difficult. To begin with, viable dinosaur DNA isn't plentifully available, but even if it was, that alone is not enough to just create an animal out of nothing. The scientists completing this cloning project would then need to find a way to exactly replicate a dinosaur's gestation conditions because cloned animals are not created as fully formed adults.