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Parenting Dinosaurs

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"Now we can make a baby dinosaur!"
Mr. DNA(src)
Parenting Dinosaurs
Baby dino

Main article
Recreating dinosaurs

Related articles
Dinosaur DNA
Proteins in fossils
DNA in bones
Extracting the DNA and proteins
DNA sequencing
Filling the sequence gaps
Cloning and growing embryo's
Parenting dinosaurs
Creating a Lost World

On raising your newly-born cloned dinosaurs, one must look into how zoos around the world care for animals. The infants of each species of animal have different types of needs. There are general aspects on caring for infants. One of them is using an incubator at the right temperature to hatch the infant dinosaur.


Next comes to next important part of raising an animal: feeding it. It has been mentioned in the The The Lost World (novel) that InGen feed the dinosaurs goat's milk for the first six weeks. Sarah Harding says that it is a logical choice since zoos use goat's milk because its pretty hypoallergenic (less likely to give out an allergic reaction). But since dinosaurs don't have mammary glands, it is unlikely that the dinosaurs would get a good reaction to this. Then after they weaned the dinosaurs off of milk, InGen fed the dinosaurs on solids and fed them three times a day.

According to the records, the herbivores were fed on macerated plant matter and the carnivores were fed on a ground-up extract of animal protein from sheep. Sarah commented that the choice of using sheep extract is unusual since zoos never give their carnivores sheep meat because of danger of infection from prions. According to Sarah, the usual choice in feeding young carnivores is turkey or chicken, with some antibiotics added.

In the first novel, a baby Velociraptor is fed mice. Many reptile keepers feed mice and rats to large monitor lizards and snakes, but accidents have occurred where mice and rats have attacked and killed the reptiles (though the feeder mice and rats are usually dead and frozen before given to the animals).

When Jack Horner discovered the nest of Maiasaurus, he found remains of berries within the nest, indicating that in the case of Maiasaurs and possibly other hadrosaurs, the infants were fed on berries. Along with that, he has discovered that the infant dinosaurs were pretty helpless when they've hatched, indicating that these infants had to have been taken care of after hatching.

Though, if dinosaur offspring are like modern birds and reptiles, they would be born with egg yolk inside their stomach. Thanks to this, they probably won't need to eat for at least a few days.

Recent research has shown that offspring of several species of dinosaurs (especially the herbivores) are structurally different than that of the adults, indicating that the infants have feasted on a food sources that differs from that of the adults. For example, the Diplodocus adult has a blunt snout and peg-like teeth in the front part of the mouth that are only able to pluck soft leaves and other vegetative matter, whereas it's offspring doesn't have that blunt snout and their teeth are not just isolated in the front of the snout. This would also indicates that the adults and juveniles occupy different ecological niches.


2-day-old Baby Condor Fed by Puppet00:45

2-day-old Baby Condor Fed by Puppet

Baby Condor fed by puppet.

Feeding the dinosaur is just part of the process of taking care of it. Raising your dinosaur is another deal that you would need think about. Since your cloned dinosaurs don't have natural parents to raise them, they would have to be hand-raised by humans. And hand-rearing your dinosaurs could bring up problems, such as that the dinosaurs would imprint on the keepers and not only would they probably wouldn't breed with other members of their kind, but they would also display behaviors towards humans that would be problematic (like showing competitive aggression or sexual interest in humans).

Although, these problematic behaviors can be avoided without the need of natural parents and that is to use puppets to trick the dinosaur offspring into not imprinting on the human keepers. This sort of idea was done with the California Condor, by raising the condor chicks with puppets that resembles the head of adult condors.[1] While this is a grand idea, it does suffer some issues when it comes to raising your dinosaurs. The one big issue is that we have no idea what dinosaurs really look like; by color, by skin texture, whether they have feathers or not, what do their faces look like, etc. For example, Deinonychus' face might be featherless and wrinkly, like that of a turkey, but not lack of knowledge and whatnot, we've made the puppets look like those of the films. Though this would confuse the infants a bit, the puppet ideal would definitely result in safer behavioral results.

While puppets do solve the issue of imprinting, it doesn't solve another issue and this is an issue that Michael Crichton pointed out in his second Jurassic Park novel: what sort of behavior should dinosaurs be taught and should exhibit. Since there no other dinosaurs to raise or teach the offspring on how to behave, this could be an issue and can bring up some behavioral issues. Though animals can get some of their behavior from their genetic material, a load of their behavior is based on learning from their elders. Michael Crichton pointed this issue out on this novel The Lost World with the raptors. In the novel, since the raptors weren't taught by older raptors on how to behave and whatnot, their pack behavior was pretty dysfunctional compared to many common pack behavior and they also had developed very terrible mothering skills. And since we have a very minimal idea on how they should behave and be disciplined, this would bring on some trouble and possibly stress towards the animals. The best thing we could probably do for the infants is to use what we know about how modern animals raise their young, what the fossils tell us, and from what we've observed from the infants.

One way this can probably be solved, along with using puppets, is to use modern, living animals to assist in raising and being companion animals for the infant dinosaurs. This technique has been used with Whooping Crane, by using Sand Hill Crane to raise the chicks of Whooping Cranes. Though there are no dinosaurs to help with this, there are modern-day animals that can be used. For example, you could use rheas, emus, or ostriches to help raise the ornithomimids (such as Gallimimus or Struthiomimus), use cattle or elk for the hadrosaurs (such as Edmontosaurus and Parasaurolophus), and use bison or rhinos to help raise ceratopsians (like Styracosaurus and Triceratops). While this idea may seem childish, it is actually a common technique zoos and private owners use for wild animals when they are hand-raising them. For example, wild animals that are raised by domesticated animals are more likely to be tolerant of humans and manageable than if they weren't. Along with this, the animals can learn some behavioral aspects from their surrogates that would help them build up their own behavioral habits and not imprint on humans.

Diseases and ParasitesEdit

Another issue that the dinosaurs would face would be diseases and parasites.


  1. The Real Jurassic Park

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