MAR 20, 2017 12:04 PM PDT

The Pros and Cons of Reviving Extinct Animal Species

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Many animal species involuntarily went extinct over the years, and a handful of others remaining on Earth today are facing the very real threat of extinction because of how the world is changing at the hands of mankind.

Scientists are now considering what it might take to resurrect extinct species by splicing together genes from samples of the now extinct creatures and samples from living animals that walk the Earth today.

Could creatures like the wooly mammoth one day walk the Earth again?

Image Credit: northshore421c/Pixabay

On the other hand, there’s a fine line between resurrecting a species for the sake of scientific study and doing it with the intention of imposing conservation efforts for resurrected animal species. Careful consideration has been published this month in the journal Ecology & Evolution.

"De-extinction could be useful for inspiring new science and could be beneficial for conservation if we ensure it doesn't reduce existing conservation resources," said professor Hugh Possingham from the University of Queensland. "However, in general it is best if we focus on the many species that need our help now."

Ethics are involved in going about this science. By resurrecting an animal species, we become responsible for taking care of it. If we don’t, history would just repeat itself and the animal would die off again, resulting in wasted time and resources. We would have to allocate some of our current conservation resources for the cause to prevent it from happening again.

This is where a big part of the problem lies. We have resources already dedicated to protecting extant species from extinction, and resurrecting more animals to protect puts even more work on conservationists’ plates. This means sacrifices will have to be made on the watch of extant animals to care for resurrected ones, which could lead to a loss in net biodiversity.

With all of the cons that seem to stem from this idea, does this mean de-extinction is off the table completely? Scientists say not necessarily.

If the practice can be conducted with private funding in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with current efforts for protecting modern animals in need of help, then it could be a fascinating science that could actually help our net biodiversity instead of hurt it.

For that to happen, we have to maintain protecting the animals that need our help today while simultaneously babying along any species that we resurrect. This means carefully choosing the animals we want to resurrect and where such that they don’t disturb efforts for other creatures.

The technology to resurrect extinct species isn’t quite in mankind’s grasp yet, but it’s just around the corner. When it arrives, the science will come with a responsibility to tackle these very real concerns before we ever kick it into full-swing.

It should be interesting to see whether or not science can work to resurrect lost creatures without impacting those that are already facing trouble amid a changing planet.

Source: New York Times, Science Daily

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 12, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Humans, not climate, contributed to mammal community similarities 10,000+ years ago
AUG 12, 2022
Humans, not climate, contributed to mammal community similarities 10,000+ years ago
In a recent study published in Nature Communications, an international team of researchers discuss how the increasing ho ...
AUG 06, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Today in Science History: Most Complete Skeletal Remains of Neanderthal Still Tell a Story Today
AUG 06, 2022
Today in Science History: Most Complete Skeletal Remains of Neanderthal Still Tell a Story Today
114 years ago, the first and only nearly complete Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) skeleton was found in a cave in Fr ...
AUG 10, 2022
Plants & Animals
Locusts Can "Detect" Cancer Cells
AUG 10, 2022
Locusts Can "Detect" Cancer Cells
New research published by a team at Michigan State University shows that locusts can both detect cancer cells and tell t ...
AUG 26, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Billions Would Die from Starvation After a Nuclear War
AUG 26, 2022
Billions Would Die from Starvation After a Nuclear War
In a recent study published in the journal Nature Food, an international team of researchers discuss how a nuclear war b ...
SEP 01, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Simulations Utilized to Study Earth-Cooling Strategies
SEP 01, 2022
Simulations Utilized to Study Earth-Cooling Strategies
In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers ...
SEP 15, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
What are cannabis topicals and how do they work?
SEP 15, 2022
What are cannabis topicals and how do they work?
THC and CBD infused lotions, cream, salves and oils are becoming more popular. How do they work and how effective are th ...
Loading Comments...