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Author Topic: Bringing back extinct animals  (Read 128 times)

anubisa

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Bringing back extinct animals
« on: September 16, 2020, 02:18:45 am »
Hi everyone,

So I saw an interesting video on YouTube about scientists planning to bring back some extinct animals. Among them are the dodo and the mammoth. The dodo is one that would be nice to be brought back, but in my opinion you have to think of ethics and such. It would be nice to see the woolly mammoth, but it's been too long extinct and unfortunately, scientists should think about the environment that they would bring it back into. What do you think about it? Here's the link:

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Re: Bringing back extinct animals
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2020, 06:34:20 pm »
Hi everyone,

So I saw an interesting video on YouTube about scientists planning to bring back some extinct animals. Among them are the dodo and the mammoth. The dodo is one that would be nice to be brought back, but in my opinion you have to think of ethics and such. It would be nice to see the woolly mammoth, but it's been too long extinct and unfortunately, scientists should think about the environment that they would bring it back into. What do you think about it? Here's the link:

I vaguely recall a 60 Minutes piece from a while back about bringing back mammoths in order to *help* the environment (of the Siberian tundra specifically). I forget how it was supposed to work exactly.

It would also be interesting to see the Dodo brought back ... as a livestock species. I've always wondered how they would compare to turkey. This would also answer the question of 'who would fund all this?'

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Re: Bringing back extinct animals
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2020, 07:02:41 pm »
I vaguely recall a 60 Minutes piece from a while back about bringing back mammoths in order to *help* the environment (of the Siberian tundra specifically). I forget how it was supposed to work exactly.

I just finished reading The Missing Lynx: The Past and Future of Britain's Lost Mammals by Ross Barnett (published in 2019). He's a paleontologist who has been in the midst of a bunch of the DNA research on prehistoric cats, and of course knows bunches of people working with other prehistoric megafauna. It's a great book, with delightful footnotes.

One of the things he talks about is the reality of being able to get DNA to work with (any time someone says "Get DNA from a fossil" look at them really dubiously. By definition, a fossil has become mineral, and you can't get DNA from that.) That doesn't mean it doesn't ever exist. The mummified mammoths in the permafrost, various skin and hide remnants in other places, there's a possibility of DNA in the roots of teeth, etc. are options.)

The other issue, of course, is that you can, say, produce DNA of an auroch (they only went extinct in 1627, so much easier to find sources for fairly complete DNA than say, a wooly rhinoceros, and they're not super distant from various modern cows), but that doesn't mean the resulting bovid will know how to auroch usefully.

He did go into the ecological implications of what the mammoth did to produce, say, a functional very abundant tundra environment, and how that worked (it's a combination of what they ate, including clearing out things that would eventually become huge trees and shade the entire space, what comes out the other end, and how they play into various seed cycles, as well as the effects of things like compacting snow (which changes the insulation factors, which changes the growth cycles.) It's not just one piece, in other words, it's dozens of effects chained together over the lifespan of the animal.
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Re: Bringing back extinct animals
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2020, 07:23:16 pm »
What do you think about it?

I'm of two minds: One would love to undo the damage we've done by bringing back species like the Passenger Pigeon, the Great Auk, the Carolina Parakeet...

...but the other sees what you alluded to: The habitat/ecosystem to sustain them may be gone or altered too much, so without efforts to re-create the habitat, we would end up with zoo curiosities, nothing more. And it could lead to a dangerous, careless mentality about conservation going forward. ("Why protect species and preserve habitat? If we wipe 'em out, we can just bring 'em back later.")
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Re: Bringing back extinct animals
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2020, 07:33:45 am »
I'm of two minds: One would love to undo the damage we've done by bringing back species like the Passenger Pigeon, the Great Auk, the Carolina Parakeet...

...but the other sees what you alluded to: The habitat/ecosystem to sustain them may be gone or altered too much, so without efforts to re-create the habitat, we would end up with zoo curiosities, nothing more. And it could lead to a dangerous, careless mentality about conservation going forward. ("Why protect species and preserve habitat? If we wipe 'em out, we can just bring 'em back later.")


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