Can we bring animals back from extinction?

Recreating Jurassic Park

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De-extinction

The Jurassic Park films taught us that bringing back the dinosaurs might not be the best idea. But if we wanted to, could we? Could we take a nugget of dinosaur DNA, or the DNA from any extinct species, and use it to bring back long lost beasts?

The first barrier to overcome, as this video from The Verge’s ‘Big Future’ series explains, is that dinosaur DNA is incredibly old, so finding a good sample is almost impossible.

Perhaps it’s easier to start with the relatively recent mammoth. With somewhat more available DNA, which is conveniently similar to modern elephants, the task might be more manageable. But if you shoehorn some mammoth DNA into an elephant’s genetic scaffold, do you have a bona-fide mammoth, or just a genetically distorted elephant?

So creating a Mammoth safari might be tricky, and Jurassic Park is some way off yet, but starting at a slightly more manageable point, with much smaller and more recently extinct species like the passenger pigeon, de-extinction needn’t necessarily banished to the realms of science fiction. Perhaps Passenger Pigeon Park is still possible.

Themes

Natural World, Environment

Details

Type:
Animation
Published:
2014
Filmed:
2014
Credits:

The Verge

Licence: Standard YouTube License