Jack Horner’s Science: The future being born from Jurassic World

The best things that come out of the Jurassic Park movies are the lasting impact their theoretical sciences impart into the future. When the first one came out in 1993 it changed the way zoos and theme parks operated. There is a little bit of Jurassic Park in just about every amusement park to this day. A quick trip to the Cincinnati Zoo will show even more evidence. The films and science that come from them are a nearly perfect marriage of imagination and reality. So it is quite exciting to see another film emerging called Jurassic World. Each time there is a new Jurassic Park film, of which Jurassic World will be the fourth, the outside world suddenly becomes interested in the very important work that the paleontologist Jack Horner is conducting that will change the future of the sciences in unimaginable ways very soon.

Not being able to complete the foreign language courses and therefore not obtaining his bachelor’s degree the budding scientist fought through great opposition to discover incredible dinosaur fossils and flesh out new theories as to their origins. It was Jack Horner who pushed the science community out of the box from thinking that dinosaurs spawned reptiles. The emerging answers was that dinosaurs are the parent DNA of birds which attracted Michael Crichton to write his novel, Jurassic Park by incorporating the new theory into a compelling story which brought to life dinosaurs through DNA resurrection into a modern theme park for children to enjoy. Steven Spielberg then made a film from Crichton’s book and history was made. The world learned about DNA and how it could be used to bring back creatures from the past—but ultimately cure humans in the present. Jurassic Park had a positive effect on the emerging science in a very positive fashion. Because of his voluminous work within paleontology Horner was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science in 1986 by the University of Montana where he works to this day in Bozeman.

In his 2009 book How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever Horner unveiled his latest theory about genetically nudging the DNA of a chicken through reverse engineering into a dinosaur. It was a concept that he came up with during the filming of the first Jurassic Park movie over two decades ago—and now science has caught up to his vision. It won’t be but a few short years before Horner finds a way to pull off the attempt. He is now funded by people like George Lucas, so he doesn’t have to dig for dinosaurs and money at the same time—which is the largest impediment to science. Because of that Horner’s operation in Bozeman is one of the hottest spots in science and is revolutionizing the world with ambition and options.

Once mankind can build a dinosaur obviously there will be implications to the human race. Everything that we are, and our fates are locked in our DNA sequencing. Once we learn to work with that DNA like we would put a car in the shop for a proper diagnosis of something amiss, humans could be fixed at the genetic level to cure whatever issue we wish. Once Jack Horner builds his dinosaur and future entrepreneurs build actual Jurassic Parks the impact on humans will be much more significant. A new era will give us many options that we hadn’t considered and a whole host of new philosophies and intellectual options will be presented to us. That is the impact of a new Jurassic Park film. Without one, Jack Horner would be just another obscure eccentric digging in the badlands of the northern United States scorned by the scientific community and their accolades.

Even though it is old and dated now, one of the best parts of any amusement park I have been to is the Jurassic Park portion of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It is there that reality meets fiction and I was able to actually walk through the closest replication of the fictional Jurassic Park on earth. For me personally, who has loved dinosaurs since I was a very little kid the discovery center at the real Jurassic Park was like entering the gates of heaven. I raised my children on the Jurassic Park movies, and on the music of John Williams, so there was something very special about the place to me. The movies and subsequent theme park attractions have all the optimism of early adventure films like the Jules Verne inspired Journey to the Top of the World, and Around the World in 80 Days—but then has the action and horror of something like Jaws. Then mixed in with all of that is quite large does of Indiana Jones—the nothing is impossible human spirit that Dr. Grant came to symbolize in two of the three Jurassic Park movies. These elements have been combined no place else and are central to the optimistic essence of the upcoming Jurassic World.

Once Jurassic World hits theater screens, museums all across the country will open up exhibits trying to recapture the movie experience and millions upon millions of children will learn something important as a result. Book sales of Jack Horner’s material will skyrocket and adults will learn much about what’s coming in science. These are things that are available every day, but are typically ignored until something like Jurassic World puts the focus on those options.   I’m looking forward to seeing the new movie just because of the conceptual design of actually implementing the original thoughts of the John Hammond character who was an unabashed capitalist that made everything possible. The Jurassic Park movies are extremely interesting in how they rock back and forth between capitalism and conservationism. Without the money and financing nobody would have anything—but left unchecked and disrespected, things spiral out of control quickly. So there is a core to the films that philosophically is at the heart of just about everything facing our world today economically and politically.

The premise of Jurassic World is fantastic and is what is facing real amusement parks like Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Sea World—how do you balance out a nice respect for science while still driving up park numbers to the levels it takes to make them financially profitable?   It costs a lot of money to care for large animals and once people get used to seeing them, interest curves off—even when it comes to genetically recreated dinosaurs. So because they can, scientists play a bit of Frankenstein with the DNA of dinosaurs to make a new creature—which is something that we are all facing in the very near future. If we can remake a dinosaur like Jack Horner plans to, why can’t we then make what we want in any form that we want it? Then, why can’t we apply the same to our own bodies as well. If we want to be 6’ 6” basketball players we could make ourselves into one. We could also build the perfect Victoria Secret models. Or we could turn off old age in our own bodies and live for several thousand years instead of just a measly 100. But to do that what happens to our religions and philosophy of sacrifice when so much is being built that is not dependent on invisible gods from realms unseen? Those are the themes that Jurassic World explores but against a canvas of optimism and wonder. It is an extremely unusual enterprise for a film that is about more than just thrills.

At the heart of Jurassic World is Jack Horner. Without him, there wouldn’t be a movie or the books that were the source material. The science of Jack Horner is changing the world from Bozeman, Montana and shaking the foundations of the establishment. The profits from Jurassic World will directly help Jack Horner build his real life dinosaur and that is the best aspect of the new movie. The hard questions about the morality of such a task are dealt with in the films, and then in reality they will be formed into new options that just weren’t there before. Or maybe they were. Perhaps this is how Noah lived so long and in the times before the Deluge giants ruled the world and genetics were manipulated in such a way to give people extremely long lives. Perhaps we are truly resurrecting a past that was imposed on us long ago that we are just now rediscovering? We will find out and leading the way is Jack Horner.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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