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  • March 2013
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…and the Dead Shall Rise to Walk the Earth

Herbert West, eat your heart out.

Recently, the chill folks at National Geographic hosted a TEDx conference on the topic of “de-extinction” – our ability to bring extinct species back to life through the magic of modern science – and, specifically, which animals we could bring back and why we should or shouldn’t do so.

Let me burst your bubble right here; no, Jurassic Park isn’t possible.  Dino DNA is long gone and, anyways, remember the guy who got eaten on the toilet by T-Rex?  Yeah, bad idea.



Scientists and genetic researchers at the conference put together a de-extinction list of potential species to bring back by discussing factors like ecological importance and whether or not the original habitats of each animal still exist today – and if they could be reintegrated into the wild at all.  Obviously, practical considerations like the availability of quality tissue and DNA samples were also key factors in the discussion too.  The following species were included on the list:


Woolly Mammoth

Australian scientists just recently resurrected the genome of this tropical Australian frog that gives birth through its mouth. © National Geographic


Moa © National Geographic

Smilodon (saber-toothed cat) © Indiana State Museum

Check out more of the list here.



The debate over de-extinction, and cloning in general, is as wide open as it’s ever been – with both sides of the coin posing compelling arguments.  Should we bring back extinct species as a way of evening out human actions that led to said extinctions, or would doing so just draw attention away from current endangered species who need protection now?  What do you think???



Jon : Carrick

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