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In theory organisms derived from birds through genetic engineering could resemble theropod dinosaurs. So my question is what animals would serve as the basis for the other two groups of dinosaurs (sauropodomorpha and ornithischia)?

(I'm not trying to re-create dinosaurs, merely create look-a-likes).

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Still birds. Therapoda, sauropodomorpha, and ornithischia all have a common ancestor (and, in fact, that common ancestor is the taxonomic definition of "dinosaur").

So, if you've got the genetic modification mojo sufficient to dial a bird back to something resembling therapoda, you can do the same for its sister classes. Probably using bird eggs, replacing the nuclear DNA, and fertilizing/hatching the result.

Ornithischia would be particularly easy, since the build/gait of that family is explicitly birdlike.

Now, as Shadowzee suggests, you could potentially cheat with sauropodomorpha with some modern animals and extensive modification, but a combination of genetic modification and breeding would probably more closely approximate "dinosaurs".

This all said, to quote Dr. Henry Wu:

Nothing ... is natural, we have always filled gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And if the genetic code was pure, many of them would look quite different. But you didn't ask for reality, you asked for more teeth.

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Crocodilians and birds, that gives you all the relevant genetic material you can possibly get. Then you just have a metric buttload of engineering and breeding to go through. you will have to go through several generations just to get something that can produce big enough eggs.

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I would imagine from just pure physical similarities, you could probably use elephants, rhinoceroses or giraffes to fit your purpose. They have the size and body shape already, but would require adjustments to how quickly they grow and the addition of bone growths on their body to better resemble the dinosaurs you seek.

While birds and reptiles might be more closely related on a genetic scale, there are far too many physical changes that would need to be applied to use them as the basis for your genetic modification. You also do not have the same environmental factors in play, so a more traditional dinosaur might not even survive in today's environment.

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  • $\begingroup$ Mammals would be a very bad choice, mammals are have lost many of the best features for large size. You would be better off starting over from diapsids and crocodilians. $\endgroup$ – John Oct 16 at 0:09
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    $\begingroup$ @John I mean if you had to re-create dinosaurs, I would agree. But this is only a look-a-like. Elephants and rhino's already have the leathery skin and are larger than any other land animal. They have proper legs that lift them off the ground and are herbivores. Their appearance and eating behavior would be much closer than an semi-aquatic ambush predator. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Oct 16 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ When it comes to sauropods there is not much difference, sauropods are highly specialized animals. and they don't have similar eating mechanisms, sauropods had small heads because they did not chew but used the crop for chewing instead. Solid mammalian bones are going to severely limit size because they add so much weight. $\endgroup$ – John Oct 16 at 11:23

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