Animals are going extinct at an alarming rate. But what if there was something we could do to prevent it or even bring some of those extinct species back? Scientists are pretty close to being able to do just that. If it sounds a little like Jurassic Park you’re not too far off, as many of the techniques would involve DNA work. Here are some extinct species that science may just be able to bring back.
The Tasmanian Tiger went extinct in the 1930s, mainly due to poaching and the fact that there weren’t enough living members to allow for genetic diversity. However, because they were around so recently (in science terms, anyway) there are still a lot of specimens available. The Tigers can be found in museums and specimen jars. That means that scientists are able to retrieve some of the animal’s DNA. Cloning projects are already underway and experiments on mice have already shown that some of the genetic makeup can effectively be passed to a mouse fetus.
Next to dinosaurs, woolly mammoths are probably the second animal thought of when asked to name an extinct species. Gone for almost 12,000 years, the woolly mammoth might actually be close to resurrection thanks to Harvard researchers. The researchers have actually managed to extract some mammoth genes and used them to experiment in creating a hybrid embryo with an Asian elephant. Producing a living animal is still years away, according to the researchers, but the potential is no less fascinating.
This one is a unique species on this list because, technically, scientists have already managed to clone it. DNA was successfully extracted from an extinct member and implanted in the fetus of a goat. The animal was born but died seven minutes later after lung complications. However, it proves that the technology works and that more experiments with other species are inevitable.
Saber-toothed cats have been gone for about as long as the woolly mammoth, but several intact specimens have been found in the colder regions of the world where the animals once roamed, as well as ancient tar deposits. That means that DNA recovery is possible, and cloning would likely follow soon after.
The Dodo bird is another pretty famous extinct species. But like many of the other animals on this list, it could be reborn if scientists were able to get their hands on enough DNA to implant into the eggs of modern pigeons, a closely related species.