FACT CHECK: Did North Carolina Scientists Create A T. Rex Embryo Using Chicken DNA?

Matt Noel | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 2,000 times claims scientists successfully created a Tyrannosaurus rex embryo from chicken DNA.

Verdict: False

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences debunked the article in 2016. It originated on a satire website.

Fact Check:

The screen grab of another Facebook post shows a link to an article from the website Underground Science. That article, posted Dec. 20, 2016, alleges that researchers at North Carolina State University produced the “first fully living dinosaur embryo in millions of years” using the DNA of chickens, which are modern relatives of the T. rex.

“The living embryo is not a 100 percent dinosaur, but instead a genetically modified hybrid between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a chicken,” it claims, citing a supposed molecular biologist employed at the university.

But the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences denied the article’s claim in an April 2016 press release. (RELATED: Did Egyptian Scientists Find That Vaccines Cause Autism?)

“A recent ‘news story’ falsely reports an account of the recreation of a Tyrannosaurus rex embryo in the Paleontology Research Lab of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences,” the statement says. “This story is a complete fabrication and the personnel cited in the report are, as far as we can tell, made up.”

Included in the museum’s statement is a NC State University News article discussing the limitations of recovering dinosaur DNA from fossils:

Scientists have proposed that DNA has a pretty short shelf-life, most saying that it is unlikely to persist as long as a million years, and surely not more than five or six million years at most. That sort of leaves out the possibility that we will ever obtain it from dinosaurs that last walked the earth over 65 million years ago!

The article appears to have originated on World News Daily Report, a parody news website that describes its content as “satirical” and “fictional.” While World News Daily Report clearly disclaims the satirical nature of its content, Underground Science and other websites have portrayed it as real news.

Matt Noel

Fact Check Reporter
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