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Vsauce

WATCH: Jurassic World Science Feat. Chris Pratt And Palaeontologist Jack Horner

BEC CREW
18 JUN 2015

Trust Chris Pratt to make the mental journey from dinosaurs to fossils to fossil fuel to our cars running on the ghosts of dinosaurs. But as Michael explains in the latest episode of Vsauce above, it's not such a silly idea that so much of our modern world is being fueled by the preserved remains of giant, long-dead organisms. But it's not entirely accurate either. Speaking with American palaeontologist Jack Horner, Michael finds out that it all comes down to poop - dinosaur poop.

 

Known as coppolite, this fossilised dung began as plant matter, and was then eaten, digested, and pooped out by dinosaurs millions of years ago, before being preserved into a hard, coal-like material. But this isn't actually the stuff our cars and planes are running on. "Oil does not come from dinosaur poop," says Horner. "It comes from microorganisms in oceans. If you took all of the dinosaurs that ever lived, and squished them up in order to get the oil out of them, we'd probably go through that oil in a couple of days."

So okay, there wasn't that much oil in dinosaurs after all, and we're not pouring their remains in our cars. But don't be sad, because they might not be in our gas tanks, but dinosaurs are still all around us. As Michael explains in the video above, birds aren't just descended from the dinosaurs, they literally are dinosaurs. All the characteristics we associate with birds - feathers, wishbone, hollow bones - they were characteristics of some forms of dinosaur too, and they had them first, so the hypothesis is that avian dinosaurs actually survived the mass extinction that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs.

Now, I know what you're thinking. With Michael and Jack Horner there, why aren't they talking about the possibility of a real-life Jurassic Park? Lucky for you, they do. But you.. might not want to know what they have to say. I'll leave it to the video above to destroy all your hopes and dreams, but at least Chris Pratt is there to make you lol about it afterwards.