Humans will soon be able to resurrect the dead. Soon, we will be able to share the Earth with some of the animals we only saw in our history and science books. This is an incredible scientific breakthrough, and for now, the debate on the morality of cloning is off the table. That is for another time. Today, we discuss the dreams some of us had as children and possibly still do as adults.
Imagine a world where safaris could feature the massive toothed cats of the African jungles. Birds may return to the habitats they once learned to fly from. Frogs that the world otherwise has never heard of could come back to their old habitats. In fact, humans may one day become the surrogate to their own species, as Neanderthals are a possibility return to the Earth.
For now, we focus on the animals we have dreamed and studied about. Some of these animals may be the first to come back once we harness the technology. Some are just dreams until the right equipment becomes available. Regardless of where you stand, these animals may soon be back on our planet once again.
The Woolly Mammoth
The move to bring back this behemoth started in 2011 after Japanese scientists discovered a thigh bone in good condition. Since the finding, the team has claimed that the Woolly Mammoth could be back on Earth within five years. This becomes more possible due to the Mammoth’s close resemblance to its surrogate, the elephant.
The Mammoth is a great place to start bringing animals back from extinction. Not only have they died recently, making it easier to get their DNA, but we have full specimens already. This could make the process much easier. This could also create for a scenario where the Woolly Rhino can return to the world as well.
Australia’s not quite a dog, not quite a cat creature needs to make a return. The Tasmanian Tiger was a victim of man, like many other species that have died in recent decades. Some have claimed to have seen the Tiger still running about. However, the last recorded one was in the 1930s.
Bounty hunting is what did the creature in. Recently, advancements in technology have kindled hope that science might resurrect the species. By splicing Tasmanian tiger DNA in with mouse DNA we may be making progress already. Maybe one day the modern world’s largest carnivorous marsupial could return to the Earth.
If you want to get technical, the Pyrenean ibex is already the first extinct animal to return from the extinction list. For a few minutes, that is. After its last living relative died in 2000, its DNA was preserved for later use. In 2009, a clone was born after a successful implanting of the stored DNA into a goat’s womb. Unfortunately, it did not last long, killed by a growth on the animal’s lung.
While it lasted only seven minutes, the birth of the Pyrenean ibex proves how close scientists are to bringing the extinct back to Earth.
Gastric Brooding Frog
A rarity to the world, Australia’s Gastric Brooding Frog was special in many ways. This genus of frog had the only two known species that incubated the pre-juvenile stages of their children in the mother’s stomach. In short, they gave birth out of their mouths!
Both species of the frog lived in limited areas of land, which probably makes a large part of its extinction. However, scientists recently performed tests to see if the species would be a candidate for cloning. As of the last reports, embryos have been successfully cloned.
A victim of 1600s civilian sprawl, the equivalent to the modern day cow faded from the globe. However, the bonds to the modern day cow could bring the Aurochs back to life. By having such a close DNA structure, the Aurochs could get a second life from the cow.
A team in the Netherlands is already hot on the case. The group has been IDing cows with similar bone structures to the Aurochs. This time, let’s hope it works. The last time this was attempted, the Nazis created something dubbed the “Heck cattle.” No thank you.
Is it a good idea to re-introduce a predator with teeth like that back into the world? It’s debatable. However, freezing temperatures where these cats call home have left the animals’ DNA in fine condition. This allows the 11,000+ year old extinct cats the chance to be re-born into the world.
Many are giddy over the possibility of these cats roaming the Earth again. However, this one is a long shot. The fact that the cats have no near relatives living is one huge hurdle. Another would be that the African deserts are already stiff with competition for food. If these cats were re-introduced into the wild, they could wipe out other struggling cats in the region.
Think an ostrich without wings. That is a good place to start with the Moa. Just like this picture, Moas fell victim to over hunting. However, this only happened within the last 500-700 years.
Because of this, finding Moa’s DNA through shells and feathers is still possible. In 2009, scientists in New Zealand concluded the first successful DNA reconstruction of the Moa using feathers found in caves and rock shelters.
Dusky Seaside Sparrow
If there’s been one animal in recent history man owes a second chance to, it’s the Dusky Seaside Sparrow. These poor birds died as a result of an annoyance one of its food sources caused our space program.
In 1965, the Kennedy Space Center set to break gound on Merritt Island. However, high levels of mosquitos made the island almost too much to deal with. When decision came to flood the habitat, the mosquito larvae problem subsided soon after. However, the Dusky Sparrow lost its home as well.
The birds would last another two decades or so before they would be no more. It is far from the first animal to be considered, but scientists have been mapping its DNA. This could be a sign for fans of the species.
When it comes to finding a surrogate, no animal may face a tougher challenge than that of the Irish Elk. The massive elk has a hard time trying to find a surrogate from today’s modern deer. Some may say that there are better chances finding a surrogate from an elk. However, the name doesn’t fit the bill, as this animal is a closer relative to deer.
The size issue must be frustrating. Otherwise, the massive antlered (Average 12′ in length) animal could be one of the first to come back. Even though it died out after the Ice Age, those frigid conditions have made the Irish Elk a viable candidate for cloning.
This sure isn’t the modern world’s sloth. While they are closest related to the modern day tree dwellers, this species was more like a bear during its time. The Giant Sloth ceased existing right around the time human civilication started to take control of the Earth, 8,000 or so years ago.
This creates a perfect chance for the animal to return. With a short window gone from the Earth, the sloth could return from the DNA samples already recovered. Yet, like the Irish Elk, the Giant Sloth faces the tasks of finding a surrogate. Unless an artificial womb can be created, these massive animals may have to wait until technology advances some more.