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Should we try to 'ressurect' animals that have become extinct?

AGXStarseed

Well-Known Member
(Not written by me. This article is from November 2017 and I thought what it talked about was interesting, so I'm posting it here to see what your opinions are on this topic)


The Pros and Cons of Reintroducing Long-Extinct Mammals, Birds and Amphibians

There's a new buzzword that has been making the rounds of trendy tech conferences and environmental think tanks: de-extinction. Thanks to ongoing advances in DNA recovery, replication and manipulation technology, as well as the ability of scientists to recover soft tissue from fossilized animals, it may soon be possible to breed Tasmanian Tigers, Woolly Mammoths and Dodo Birds back into existence, presumably undoing the wrongs that mankind inflicted on these gentle beasts in the first place, hundreds or thousands of years ago.

ectopistesWC-56a253105f9b58b7d0c90f37.png

The Passenger Pigeon, a possible candidate for de-extinction (Wikimedia Commons).

The Technology of De-Extinction
Before we get into the arguments for and against de-extinction, it's helpful to look at the current state of this rapidly developing science. The crucial ingredient of de-extinction, of course, is DNA, the tightly wound molecule that provides the genetic "blueprint" of any given species. In order to de-extinct, say, a Dire Wolf, scientists would have to recover a sizable chunk of this animal's DNA, which is not so far-fetched considering that Canis dirus only went extinct about 10,000 years ago and various fossil specimens recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits have yielded soft tissue.

Wouldn't we need all of an animal's DNA in order to bring it back from extinction? No, and that's the beauty of the de-extinction concept: the Dire Wolf shared enough of its DNA with modern canines that only certain specific genes would be required, not the entire Canis dirus genome.

The next challenge, of course, would be to find a suitable host to incubate a genetically engineered Dire Wolf fetus; presumably, a carefully prepared Great Dane or Grey Wolf female would fit the bill. (This is the technique popularly referred to as "cloning," though it would involve the reconstruction, rather than the duplication, of a given genome.)

There is another, less messy way to "de-extinct" a species, and that's by reversing thousands of years of domestication. In other words, scientists can selectively breed herds of cattle to encourage, rather than suppress, "primitive" traits (such as an ornery rather than a peaceful disposition), the result being a close approximation of an Ice Age Auroch. This technique could conceivably even be used to "de-breed" canines into their feral, uncooperative Grey Wolf ancestors, which may not do much for science but would certainly make dog shows more interesting.

This, by the way, is the reason virtually no one seriously talks about de-extincting animals that have been extinct for millions of years, like dinosaurs or marine reptiles. It's difficult enough to recover viable fragments of DNA from animals that have been extinct for thousands of years; after millions of years, any genetic information will be rendered completely irrecoverable by the fossilization process. Jurassic Park aside, don't expect anyone to clone a Tyrannosaurus Rex in your or your children's lifetime!


Arguments in Favor of De-Extinction
Just because we may, in the near future, be able to de-extinct vanished species, does that mean we should?
Some scientists and philosophers are very bullish on the prospect, citing the following arguments in its favor:

We can undo humanity's past mistakes. In the 19th century, Americans who didn't know any better slaughtered Passenger Pigeons by the millions; generations before, the Tasmanian Tiger was driven to near-extinction by European immigrants to Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. Resurrecting these animals, this argument goes, would help reverse a huge historical injustice.

We can learn more about evolution and biology. Any program as ambitious as de-extinction is certain to produce important science, the same way the Apollo moon missions helped usher in the age of the personal computer. We may potentially learn enough about genome manipulation to cure cancer or extend the average human's life span into the triple digits.

We can counter the effects of environmental depredation. An animal species isn't important only for its own sake; it contributes to a vast web of ecological interrelationships, and makes the entire ecosystem more robust. Resurrecting extinct animals may be just the "therapy" our planet needs in this age of global warming and human overpopulation.


Arguments Against De-Extinction
Any new scientific initiative is bound to provoke a critical outcry, which is often a knee-jerk reaction against what critics consider "fantasy" or "bunk." In the case of de-extinction, though, the naysayers may have a point, as they maintain that:

De-extinction is a PR gimmick that detracts from real environmental issues. What is the point of resurrecting the Gastric-Brooding Frog (to take just one example) when hundreds of amphibian species are on the brink of succumbing to the chytrid fungus? A successful de-extinction may give people the false, and dangerous, impression that scientists have "solved" all of our environmental problems.

A de-extincted creature can only thrive in a suitable habitat. It's one thing to gestate a Saber-Toothed Tiger fetus in a Bengal tiger's womb; it's quite another to reproduce the ecological conditions that existed 100,000 years ago, when these predators ruled Pleistocene North America. What will these tigers eat, and what will be their impact on existing mammal populations?

There's usually a good reason why an animal went extinct in the first place. Evolution can be cruel, but it's never wrong.

Human beings hunted Woolly Mammoths to extinction over 10,000 years ago; what's to keep us from repeating history? (If you say "the rule of law," bear in mind that seriously endangered mammals are illegally hunted every day, especially in Africa.)


De-Extinction: Do We Have a Choice?
In the end, any genuine effort to de-extinct a vanished species will probably have to win the approval of various government and regulatory agencies, a process that might take years, especially in our current political climate. Once introduced into the wild, it can be difficult to keep an animal from spreading into unexpected niches and territories--and, as mentioned above, not even the most far-sighted scientist can gauge the environmental impact of a resurrected species. (What if that herd of Aurochs develops a taste for grain, rather than grass? What if a burgeoning population of Woolly Mammoths manages to drive the African elephant to extinction?) One can only hope that, if de-extinction goes forward, it will be with a maximal amount of care and planning--and a healthy regard for the law of unintended consequences.


Source: How Scientists Are Playing Frankenstein with Extinct Animals

Related: How to Resurrect an Extinct Animal in 10 (Not So Easy) Steps
Can We Bring the Dodo Bird Back to Life?
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
In this instance the first and foremost things that come to mind are two fictional literary works from two great authors: Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein).

Both having a theme clearly reflecting that man should refrain from attempting to alter nature given unforeseen consequences.



Some things just aren't intended to mess with. Nature being a big one, IMO. Though it's also no secret over how society argues over what is man-made and what is natural which really puts quite a spin on it all, whatever one believes. Arguments where the lines between politics and science are sometimes being blurred between what truly constitutes nature versus what constitutes man's own doing.
 
Last edited:

pax

Well-Known Member
A few important points.
1) The Tasmanian tiger is extinct. It became extinct due to being hunted to extinction. The last individual died because the zookeeper locked it out of its night den in a blizzard.
2) Tasmania is an Australian state, not a seperate country.
3) The gastric brooding frog became extinct relatively recently. Scientists managed to "resurrect " it to blastocyst stage. These same scientists are passionate about frog conservation and the environment- they didn't wake up one morning and think it would be a great idea to play god, or doctor Frankenstein , or whatever. They did it after hours and on weekends, in their own time, with no grant money.
4) I don't think much of this article.
 

Fridgemagnetman

I only have one
V.I.P Member
The gastric brooding frog became extinct relatively recently. Scientists managed to "resurrect " it to blastocyst stage. These same scientists are passionate about frog conservation and the environment- they didn't wake up one morning and think it would be a great idea to play god, or doctor Frankenstein , or whatever. They did it after hours and on weekends, in their own time, with no grant money

Some sort of irony as at the time of writing Frankenstein it was the experiments on frogs (twitching with electrical impulses) that I always thought was one of the inspirations to the book.
Looked it up as i always remember the name as Galtieri and not Galvani

Maybe time to read her other books.
How Twitching Frog Legs Helped Inspire 'Frankenstein' | Smart News | Smithsonian


(Yeh falklands frogs)
 

Fridgemagnetman

I only have one
V.I.P Member
They're also bringing back the sloth.

Partly because nobody could actually tell whether it was extinct or not.

Also add the Dodo to the list as the world needs a new level of stupid.
 

pax

Well-Known Member
@Fridgemagnetman Going along those lines we should not have defibrillators, or any sort of intervention, anywhere, anytime, and just let people die out with the frogs. The orange one is going the right way about it.;)
 

Fridgemagnetman

I only have one
V.I.P Member
@Fridgemagnetman Going along those lines we should not have defibrillators, or any sort of intervention, anywhere, anytime, and just let people die out with the frogs. The orange one is going the right way about it.;)

A single sentence in an alien version of a history book a million years hence...

'Humanity went the way of the frog'
 

kay

Well-Known Member
It would be great to bring back some of the more recently extinct species. Nothing though from too long ago because what are we going to do with a woolly mammoth? But a Carolina parakeet would be great to see alive and might do fine being returned to where they were. At least it would have a chance though since the last may have died from poultry disease and their is still habitat loss to contend with it might be difficult, but certainly worth the effort to try. I saw a stuffed one at a natural history museum and they were cute birds.
 

Fitzo

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
In a world where thousands of species are becoming extinct every year soley due to the unchecked spread of mankind and the problems we've created, I would much prefer to see changes made which will save the the ones we still have.
 

Streetwise

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
(Not written by me. This article is from November 2017 and I thought what it talked about was interesting, so I'm posting it here to see what your opinions are on this topic)


The Pros and Cons of Reintroducing Long-Extinct Mammals, Birds and Amphibians

There's a new buzzword that has been making the rounds of trendy tech conferences and environmental think tanks: de-extinction. Thanks to ongoing advances in DNA recovery, replication and manipulation technology, as well as the ability of scientists to recover soft tissue from fossilized animals, it may soon be possible to breed Tasmanian Tigers, Woolly Mammoths and Dodo Birds back into existence, presumably undoing the wrongs that mankind inflicted on these gentle beasts in the first place, hundreds or thousands of years ago.

ectopistesWC-56a253105f9b58b7d0c90f37.png

The Passenger Pigeon, a possible candidate for de-extinction (Wikimedia Commons).

The Technology of De-Extinction
Before we get into the arguments for and against de-extinction, it's helpful to look at the current state of this rapidly developing science. The crucial ingredient of de-extinction, of course, is DNA, the tightly wound molecule that provides the genetic "blueprint" of any given species. In order to de-extinct, say, a Dire Wolf, scientists would have to recover a sizable chunk of this animal's DNA, which is not so far-fetched considering that Canis dirus only went extinct about 10,000 years ago and various fossil specimens recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits have yielded soft tissue.

Wouldn't we need all of an animal's DNA in order to bring it back from extinction? No, and that's the beauty of the de-extinction concept: the Dire Wolf shared enough of its DNA with modern canines that only certain specific genes would be required, not the entire Canis dirus genome.

The next challenge, of course, would be to find a suitable host to incubate a genetically engineered Dire Wolf fetus; presumably, a carefully prepared Great Dane or Grey Wolf female would fit the bill. (This is the technique popularly referred to as "cloning," though it would involve the reconstruction, rather than the duplication, of a given genome.)

There is another, less messy way to "de-extinct" a species, and that's by reversing thousands of years of domestication. In other words, scientists can selectively breed herds of cattle to encourage, rather than suppress, "primitive" traits (such as an ornery rather than a peaceful disposition), the result being a close approximation of an Ice Age Auroch. This technique could conceivably even be used to "de-breed" canines into their feral, uncooperative Grey Wolf ancestors, which may not do much for science but would certainly make dog shows more interesting.

This, by the way, is the reason virtually no one seriously talks about de-extincting animals that have been extinct for millions of years, like dinosaurs or marine reptiles. It's difficult enough to recover viable fragments of DNA from animals that have been extinct for thousands of years; after millions of years, any genetic information will be rendered completely irrecoverable by the fossilization process. Jurassic Park aside, don't expect anyone to clone a Tyrannosaurus Rex in your or your children's lifetime!


Arguments in Favor of De-Extinction
Just because we may, in the near future, be able to de-extinct vanished species, does that mean we should?
Some scientists and philosophers are very bullish on the prospect, citing the following arguments in its favor:

We can undo humanity's past mistakes. In the 19th century, Americans who didn't know any better slaughtered Passenger Pigeons by the millions; generations before, the Tasmanian Tiger was driven to near-extinction by European immigrants to Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. Resurrecting these animals, this argument goes, would help reverse a huge historical injustice.

We can learn more about evolution and biology. Any program as ambitious as de-extinction is certain to produce important science, the same way the Apollo moon missions helped usher in the age of the personal computer. We may potentially learn enough about genome manipulation to cure cancer or extend the average human's life span into the triple digits.

We can counter the effects of environmental depredation. An animal species isn't important only for its own sake; it contributes to a vast web of ecological interrelationships, and makes the entire ecosystem more robust. Resurrecting extinct animals may be just the "therapy" our planet needs in this age of global warming and human overpopulation.


Arguments Against De-Extinction
Any new scientific initiative is bound to provoke a critical outcry, which is often a knee-jerk reaction against what critics consider "fantasy" or "bunk." In the case of de-extinction, though, the naysayers may have a point, as they maintain that:

De-extinction is a PR gimmick that detracts from real environmental issues. What is the point of resurrecting the Gastric-Brooding Frog (to take just one example) when hundreds of amphibian species are on the brink of succumbing to the chytrid fungus? A successful de-extinction may give people the false, and dangerous, impression that scientists have "solved" all of our environmental problems.

A de-extincted creature can only thrive in a suitable habitat. It's one thing to gestate a Saber-Toothed Tiger fetus in a Bengal tiger's womb; it's quite another to reproduce the ecological conditions that existed 100,000 years ago, when these predators ruled Pleistocene North America. What will these tigers eat, and what will be their impact on existing mammal populations?

There's usually a good reason why an animal went extinct in the first place. Evolution can be cruel, but it's never wrong.

Human beings hunted Woolly Mammoths to extinction over 10,000 years ago; what's to keep us from repeating history? (If you say "the rule of law," bear in mind that seriously endangered mammals are illegally hunted every day, especially in Africa.)


De-Extinction: Do We Have a Choice?
In the end, any genuine effort to de-extinct a vanished species will probably have to win the approval of various government and regulatory agencies, a process that might take years, especially in our current political climate. Once introduced into the wild, it can be difficult to keep an animal from spreading into unexpected niches and territories--and, as mentioned above, not even the most far-sighted scientist can gauge the environmental impact of a resurrected species. (What if that herd of Aurochs develops a taste for grain, rather than grass? What if a burgeoning population of Woolly Mammoths manages to drive the African elephant to extinction?) One can only hope that, if de-extinction goes forward, it will be with a maximal amount of care and planning--and a healthy regard for the law of unintended consequences.


Source: How Scientists Are Playing Frankenstein with Extinct Animals

Related: How to Resurrect an Extinct Animal in 10 (Not So Easy) Steps
Can We Bring the Dodo Bird Back to Life?
Earth hour 24th of March 2018 today turn your lights off at 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM you can do more if you want to.
 

Progster

Gone sideways to the sun
V.I.P Member
I think that if we, in our ignorance and/or arrogance, caused an extinction which played an important role in the ecosystem in which it existed, thus affecting the other wildlife in the habitat, even the whole environment, then we should try to get it back. The dodo, for example. Or Easter island, where a whole ecosystem was wiped out due to literally all the trees being cut down. Or the extinction of the passenger pigeon. But I really can't see this happening, at least not in the near future.
 

Captain Jigglypuff

Leader of the Jigglypuff Army
V.I.P Member
Do you have a good camera to try and photograph it?
(I'm not trying to be flippant or accusing you of lying - I'm just curious).
I did try to take some photos but I’m not sure how good they turned out as it was on my phone and I was capturing it from an angle at work and I wasn’t supposed to be using my phone. But I knew that I needed a few pics of the bird to be sure of what I saw.
 

AGXStarseed

Well-Known Member
I did try to take some photos but I’m not sure how good they turned out as it was on my phone and I was capturing it from an angle at work and I wasn’t supposed to be using my phone. But I knew that I needed a few pics of the bird to be sure of what I saw.

Fair enough - I wish you the best in photographing it.
If you do get a good photograph or two, would you share them here?
 

Luca

charm & chaos
V.I.P Member
Seems that the Thylacine just might still be around. Check out this footage from 2008:

That's fascinating and a little creepy.
Did anything ever come of this sighting? Like did they confirm that that's what the animal was, and is it considered not extinct anymore?
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I am thinking that IF such a de-extinction program were to be pursued, there would have to be enough genetic variation for a healthy reproducing population. Furthermore, we would have to designate significantly more land area as non-human territory. I question the reality of this.
 

maycontainthunder

May also contain missing cakes.
V.I.P Member
In some ways it would be nice to see some species brought back to life. Others, however, are a problem; should some be reintroduced would they A) not cope with the environment as it is now or B) the opposite; cause chaos with what is there now?

We always have to remember that when man messes with nature it causes problems. Just look at the clever idiot(s) who introduced grey squirrels did to Britain; our native red squirrels may well be headed for oblivion.
 

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