Jurassica Institute of Paleoregeneration
Jurassica Institute
Image from Steve Bowers
Although the Jurassica Institute was formerly established during the early Empires period, its roots go back to First Federation attempts by groups like The Darwin League, Paleobios! and (a little later) Earth History Cooperation, to establish a living museum/zoo of every reconstructible species of organism that inhabited Old Earth, up until the Great Expulsion.

None of these attempts were successful. Certainly bioengineering had advanced to the stage that it was certainly possible, given time and processing power, to simulate every possible actual and hypothetical genotype, and then create a splice from that (either growing it from scratch or modifying or retroclocking an existing organism accordingly - e.g. retroclocking any modern neornithine bird back to a then geneered quasi-Archaeopteryx, as was done by Interplanetary Age Corporations like Jurassic Enterprises). The problem lay more in economics and in access to the fossil record. To revive even an organism with modern descendents requires a great amount of processing power and heavy-duty multiple germline engineering of every possible branch and sub-branch, if one is to avoid the quasi-Archaeopteryx and quasi-mammoths of Jurassic Enterprises and Disneyorbital, and get an actual resurrection. Then there is the matter of the ecosystem the organism inhabited. It is not enough to resurrect an Archaeopteryx or a Dimetrodon. One also requires the associated animals and plants as food, and enough numbers and space for a viable breeding colony (this was discovered by deep simulation to be only 125 square kilometers in the case of the solitary but aggressively territorial Cynognathus, but more than 2 million square kilometers for the migratory Rhamphorhynchus!). Finally, one needs access to the fossil record of Earth; not just the few fossils and the holographic specimens taken into space, but the actual fossiliferous rock strata (in order to study the taphonomy and estimate from the sedimentary and isotopic configuration the actual paleoclimate) as well as access to all the old museum collections that survived the nanoswarms (approximately one half). But with access to Earth blocked or at most greatly restricted by the mainbrain Gaia, this prospect seemed poor indeed.

With the end of the old Federation of Worlds and the rise of its replacement, the Solar Organisation, there was a change in Gaia's attitude as well. She sent her emissaries to the S.O. Administration, offering to allow a quota of visitors for justifiable purposes (religious pilgrimage, scientific research, or PR tourism) in exchange for secure patrolling of surrounding space.

With this, the Jurassica Institute was born. Even so, the Jurassica institute would have gone nowhere at all, were it not for the help of a biocorporation governing AI, a hyperturing nicknamed Pliny with a passionate interest in biont phylogeny and natural history of all sort. Through Pliny and eir corporation Biotopics Excellence, a number of promising worlds on the then then periphery (now the Middle Regions) were purchased, and the Jurassica Institute was established in Darwin Orbital, 40 Eridani system. (During the CoEmp period the headquarters was moved to Haeckel IV Orbitals, Rho Ophiuchi Sector, FAS)

Even more surprising and fortunate was the fact that Gaia gave the Jurassica Instute a Special Dispensation to prospect for fossils and access the old museum collections so that, in the words of Her rianth emissary Crow "Her beautiful and wondrous evolutionary pageant may once again live and breathe and swim and fly and crawl." (unfortunately a lot of the subtle nuances and the poetic rhythm of Crow's original utterance was lost in translation).

By the Second Federation period the Jurassica Institute was an important scientific and ideological center, dedicated to the resurrecting of the history of Phanerozoic life on Earth. The Institute remained strictly neutral and non-affiliated during the Version War, but with the decline of the ComEmp, and after heated debate by the Council Board (who were always given a free hand by the hyperturing Pliny), it was decided to join the The Formalhaut Aquisition Society. A breakaway section of the Board opted instead for the Negentropy Alliance, these became a separate Institute; Jurassica Institute of Paleo Restoration (Negentropist).

To this stardate the Jurassica Institute retains a privileged place among the great Institutes. So far they have established some twelve thousand planetary and orbital Parks and Habitats (including the famous and popular "Triassic Park" for resurrected terran lifeforms and ecosystems. As with all the Institutes, their ideology and activities has had an important effect not only on their patron Empire, but on Galactic Society as a whole.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 25 November 2001.