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British scientists clone dinosaur?


An extraordinary story of the world’s first cloned dinosaur has got a lot of traction on Twitter and inspired alarmist comparisons to Jurassic Park. It is also, not unexpectedly, a complete fake.

The article claims that scientists at Liverpool’s John Moores University are currently incubating a baby Apotosaurus nicknamed "Spot" after retrieving the creature’s DNA from a fossil and injecting it into the womb of an ostrich.

"Those in the scientific community say the dinosaur cloning – the first ever of its kind – is a milestone for genetic engineering," reads the article from news-hound.org, a site that has previously fooled the internet with its story about a "Shipwrecked British woman saved by Google Earth".

The hoax even includes a picture of the supposed baby dinosaur (it’s actually a very young baby kangaroo) as well as fabricated quotations from scientists at the university, one of which just happens to share the same name as the survivor in the fake shipwreck story. From the article:

"I used to think this kind of thing could only happen in the movies," said Dr. Gemma Sheridan, a LJMU chemistry professor. "But we’re making it happen right here in our lab. It’s astounding."

Interestingly, there is actually a real Gemma Sheridan, but she is neither a shipwreck survivor nor a chemistry professor. Instead, she happens to just be a friend of the owners of the site, who apparently keep on using her name as a joke (for which she attracts a fair bit of attention on Twitter).

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