It’s best to leave extinct species in the past
Published 7:00 am Friday, April 24, 2015
Genetically engineering embryos to bring back a long lost species of animal has was the plot of the Jurassic Park series of movies and until recently it was all science fiction.
But recently scientists have announced they have been able to sequence the genome of the long extinct wooly mammoth.
When the movies were released they were met with a large audience captivated by the possibility of bringing back animals extinct for millions of years.
The idea of being able to study a long lost species is thrilling. Most scientists would find the experience intellectually stimulating, but they also express concern as to not only the ethical nature but also the safety of species that currently inhabit the Earth.
In the movie reptile eggs were used as a method to bring dinosaurs back to life after their DNA was studied and replicated. Those who’ve seen the movies remember the negative side effects; pure carnage.
In the movie, dinosaur blood was recovered from a mosquito trapped in amber, but the study of mammoths has proven more fruitful. Since most lived in very cold places, mammoth carcasses have been discovered frozen in ice, leading to substantial samples of their DNA.
So, how would scientists bring back the longhaired elephants of the past? The story states that if they chose to do so, it would require a living elephant to play surrogate mother.
The question is, should modern science bring back a species that has had its time on the planet, but for whatever reason no longer exists?
As Love Dalen of the Swedish Museum of Natural History said in the news story, “Our genomes bring us once critical step closer to re-creating a mammoth… I think it would be cool if it could be done, but I’m not sure it should be done.”
As interesting as it would be to bring back an extinct species, it’s probably best to leave them in the past.