Will it ever be possible to bring back the dinosaurs? Probably not, it’s not a great idea anyway – remember? But with the art of cloning on the rise, scientists believe many other extinct species may soon roam the Earth again.
To bring them back, we’d need untouched animal DNA to make clones with. But to do this, the DNA can’t be too old, so sorry, dinosaurs are out of the question. More recently extinct animals that have been preserved in museums, or ancient animals preserved by the ice age, would be the most likely candidates for resurrection. Today we’ll be looking at 10 of the animals we could bring back from extinction, and how we lost them in the first place.
10. Wooly Mammoth
These shaggy beasts disappeared about 4500 years ago, most likely as a result of climate change and hunting by humans.
But they might be ready for a comeback. Geneticists are currently working to create a mammoth-elephant hybrid, a “Mammophant,” if you will.
It would be based off its closest living relative, the Asian elephant, but would have the shaggy coat, big ears, and antifreeze blood of a mammoth.
9.The Tasmanian Tiger
This shy, nocturnal hunter looked kind of like a medium to large sized dog, except it had an abdominal pouch like a kangaroo.
Tasmanian Tigers were declared extinct as recently as the 1930s as a result of extensive hunting. Farmers were so scared of the tigers eating their sheep, that they started to place bounties on them. Because their extinction was so recent, scientists believe that they may be able to create clones using DNA from museum preservations.
8. Baiji River Dolphins
These Chinese residents only became extinct around 2006, as a result of dam-building, over-fishing, and pollution.
Extracting DNA from their remains would be easy, but they probably wouldn’t even have a home to come back to, as the Yangtze River system they lived in is still heavily polluted.
7. The Ground Sloth
Yes, they are closely related to the loveably lazy sloths we all know, but they look a little more like giant bears.
DNA samples have already been retrieved from their hairs, but any potential clone would have to be grown in an artificial womb, as their surviving relatives would be a little too small.
Although these guys couldn’t fly, they once held the title of world’s largest bird. About 600 years ago they were driven to extinction by hunting and by the destruction of their habitat. But the first steps have already been taken towards bringing them back when Harvard researchers slipped Moa DNA into the egg of an Emu.
5. Pyrenean Ibex
These wild mountain goats have already been cloned! Was it a complete success? Not really, but it’s still a major step in the right direction.
Unfortunately, the newborn ibex clone only lasted 7 minutes, due to physical defects in the lungs. But the breakthrough shows that this technology is viable and could one day be used to save recently extinct species.
4. The Wooly Rhino
The lesser known of the wooly ancient animals, this rhinoceros charged through the snowy tundra up until about 10,000 years ago.
For the longest time, our only concept of what it looked like came from cave paintings, until preserved specimens were found in tar-pits and permafrost.
It’s believed that DNA from these remains could be used to bring them back in a similar fashion as the wooly mammoth. Scientists just have to find the right modern relative to make it work.
A pair of destructive canine teeth characterized this group of animals. They were fierce hunters that were known to overpower large prey, and there’s even been evidence of them eating our ancestors.
Several intact DNA samples have been recovered for cloning, but the real question is: do we really want these things running around again?
A tragic example of humanity’s destructive nature, the Dodo went extinct only 80 years after its initial discovery. Because they had no natural predators, they had no reason to be fearful of the newly arrived humans, until the massacre began.
In an attempt to undo our mistakes, scientists are using DNA from museum specimens to implant a clone in the eggs of the closely related modern pigeon.
1. The Neanderthal
In case the idea of bringing species back wasn’t weird enough, let’s look at bringing back another version of ourselves, surely nothing can go wrong there! It is technically possible, as a Neanderthal genome has been pieced together, and could be crossed with modern human cells.
But just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should. Even if the Neanderthals survived the cloning process, they’d be introduced into a world their bodies were not built for.
Their stomachs wouldn’t be able to handle our diets, and they’d have no evolved immunity to modern diseases and pathogens. Not to mention that one day their advanced minds will start asking, “what am I?”
Do you think we should bring any of these species back? If nothing else, these animals are great examples of how we can learn from the past.
- Should humanity resurrect dinosaurs and bring the Neanderthals back to life? Meet the scientists working to revive extinct species
- 25 Animals That Scientists Want to Bring Back From Extinction
- Are Tasmanian Tigers Making a Comeback? Science Could Bring Extinct Animal Back Through Cloning
- Woolly mammoth will be back from extinction within two years, say Harvard scientists
- Extinct ibex is resurrected by cloning
- 10 Fun Facts About Saber-Toothed Cats
- 10,000-Year-Old Remains of Extinct Woolly Rhino Baby Discovered
- Return of the Neanderthals
- What Happened To The Last Dodo Bird?