Scientists have started producing chicken embryos that can grow the snout of a Velociraptor. Yes, Dr. Grant, we're breeding raptors. 

The feat was revealed in a study published today in Evolutiona scientific journal devoted to the study of organic evolution. The point, researcher Bhart-Anjan Bhullar says, is to "understand the molecular underpinnings of an important evolutionary transition, not to create a ‘dino-chicken’ simply for the sake of it.” The study successfully helped researchers verify the existence of a particular gene expression exclusive to birds that controls the shape of the beak. When inhibiting the genetic signal that tells a chicken embryo to create a normal beak, the embyros grew raptor snouts instead. 

On the left, an artist's rendition of the dinosaur Anchiornis, on the right, an artist's rendition of a primitive modern bird. In both, you can see the structure of the snout. Image via PopSci.com
. Image 1.On the left, an artist's rendition of the dinosaur Anchiornis, on the right, an artist's rendition of a primitive modern bird. In both, you can see the structure of the snout. Image via PopSci.com

When we spoke to paleontologist and resident Jurassic Park advisor Jack Horner about the possibility of creating a chickenosaurus, he said "yes, it's possible... If you have the right genetic pathway, you could go in right now, flip the right switches and have a dino chicken." Seems like we're one genetic pathway closer to our very own pet dinosaurs.