Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show China Has Cloned Dinosaurs -- These Are Animatronic Theme-Park Attractions

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show China Has Cloned Dinosaurs -- These Are Animatronic Theme-Park Attractions Theme Park

Does a video on social media show that China has successfully cloned several species of dinosaurs? No, that's not true: The video's clips, shot at different locations, show Jurassic-Park-themed animatronics and puppetry. The dinosaurs are not alive. And, cloning of the species shown would be impossible as they predate the oldest known DNA fragments, which were found in Greenland's permafrost and are only about 2 million years old. Dinosaurs like the triceratops and parasaurolophus featured in this video lived in the late Cretaceous period, more than 65 million years ago.

The video was posted on TikTok on January 14, 2023 by @nerdishpunk. A copy of that video was posted as a reel on Facebook. Captioning in the video read:

China 1st it was coronavirus now they're cloning dinosaurs.

This is how the post appeared at the time of the writing of this fact check:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Mar 03 22:56:10 2023 UTC)

The video's narration said:

For instance, this video was leaked a year ago by an anonymous source in China showing a baby triceratops dinosaur that was placed on a stretcher to monitor its vitals. The source reported that scientists were using DNA and tissue remains of an actual dinosaur, and making its clone copies. Once the leak got mainstream, Chinese authorities refused to comment on the leak. Considering the fact that dinosaurs went extinct millions of years ago, this footage has grabbed a lot of attention and received a lot of attention from most who are seeking answers.

This footage has been online since at least March 30, 2018, and it does not show living dinosaur clones from ancient DNA or tissue. The baby triceratops appearing at the start of the video is wearing around its leg a JPL band, like a hospital identification bracelet. JPL stands for Jurassic Park Laboratory.

A July 8, 2020, post on Facebook from SkywalkingAdventure has clear photos of the Universal Studios Japan attraction:

Here's an adorable baby Triceratops, codename "JPL-122" for a mobile Jurassic Laboratory meet and greet at ユニバーサル・スタジオ・ジャパン / Universal Studios Japan (USJ) that guests can meet currently at the theme park from the Jurassic World franchise 🌎 🇯🇵
Full Photo Credit: 📸 @chizuoo


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Mar 03 23:17:49 2023 UTC)

Another video posted on YouTube on June 17, 2019, shows a theme-park employee in a Jurassic Park safari uniform and pushing the mobile JPL-122 unit. She pauses to introduce the animatronic baby dinosaur to park visitors.


(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Fri Mar 03 23:35:30 2023 UTC)

The second video shows a man carrying what appears to be a young parasaurolophus. In 2020, Lead Stories debunked a video with this same high-tech dinosaur puppet that was captioned with a claim that it was a real dinosaur cloned by the Chinese. That video was filmed during the 2020 "Jurassic World: The Movie Exhibition" exhibition in Chengdu, China.

The real triceratops and parasaurolophus dinosaurs lived in the late Cretaceous period, more than 65 million years ago. The oldest genetic material currently documented are fragments of 2-million-year-old DNA, which was recently sampled from permafrost in Greenland, 600 miles from the North Pole.

In a December 7, 2022, article, The New York Times reported that a Swedish researcher involved in the discovery, Love Dalén, believes that damage in the oldest DNA means that no "genetic material" older than 5 million years can be found. "This in no way suggests that there will be any DNA coming out of dinosaur-aged fossils," Dalén said.

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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