The last male northern white rhinoceros died just last week, and a total of just 29,000 rhinoceroses now remain on earth. But National Geographic reports that “the genetic material of several northern white rhinos has been stored away,” and scientists hope to give birth to another using in vitro fertilization — or to breed a hybrid using a genetically similar southern white rhino.
Meanwhile, a postdoctoral fellow in ecology and evolutionary biology reports that scientists are seriously considering the possibility of “de-extincting” the Carolina parakeet, America’s only native parrot, which became extinct 100 years ago.
Thanks to the data I compiled as well as cutting-edge machine learning approaches to analyze those data, my colleagues and I were able to reconstruct the Carolina parakeets’ likely range and climate niche, [which] turned out to be much smaller than previously believed… While this may seem rather minor, some scientists consider the Carolina parakeet one of the top candidates for ‘de-extinction’, a process in which DNA is harvested from specimens and used to “resurrect” extinct species… If someone were to spend millions of dollars doing all of the genetic and breeding work to bring back this species, or any other, how will they figure out where to release these birds…? Whether or not de-extinction is a worthwhile use of conservation effort and money is another question, best answered by someone other than me. But this is just an example of one potential use of this type of research. ”
It seems like all kinds of havoc could ensue if we released a resurrected species back into the modern ecosystem. And yet Harvard researchers are already working to breed a new creature that’s half-elephant, half Wooly Mammoth. What do Slashdot’s readers think? Should we revive extinct species?
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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