Letter: You can't get blood from a stone into a weevil

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The Independent Online
Sir: The gap between the two cultures, the humanities and science, is alive and doing badly. In your leading article ('Why Jurassic Park is a monster achievement', 15 July) on the success of Jurassic Park, you claim scientific support for the far-fetched idea that dinosaurs can be recreated from fragments of their DNA in fossil mosquitoes.

You say that 'the journal Nature published an account of the finding of Tyrannosaurus Rex blood cells in a mosquito fossil'. This is wrong and you have magically conflated two quite different reports. The paper in Nature (10 June) was about DNA from a fossil weevil.

A weevil is not a mosquito. The claim for finding red blood cells in T. Rex fossils was briefly reported in the journal Science (9 July). Even if you rub the two journals together, you could not get the T. Rex red blood cells into the weevil. Making dinosaurs from fossil DNA is science fiction, not science, and you should try to keep them distinct.

Yours sincerely


University College and Middlesex

School of Medicine

Department of Anatomy and

Developmental Biology

London, W1

15 July