The prospect of resurrecting species through cloning or genetic reconstruction - with tools such as CRISPR gene-editing - has caught the imagination of scientists and the public alike.
With the new advances in genetic engineering, many researchers believe it’s time to start thinking seriously about which animals we might be able to bring back, and which ones could do the most good for ecosystems. Supporters have also suggested that species revivalism could help to develop ways of saving currently endangered species.
While species that have gone extinct within the last few thousand years may be candidates for de-extinction (also known as resurrection biology), some people argue that it may not be such a good idea to have moa, sabretooth cats, and woolly mammoths roaming the Earth again.
People against de-extinction have argued that this research may take resources away from conservation efforts – which would actually put even more species at risk of extinction. They also note that reintroduced species may not be able to survive in the wild, since their old habitats are gone, they wouldn’t be prepared for unfamiliar predators, and their immune systems may not be able to deal with new pathogens.
On the other hand, some say there’s a moral obligation to bring back some extinct animals, especially ones that vanished from human causes such as hunting and habitat destruction. Other scientists believe that resurrecting vanished species should only focus on conservation benefits by bringing back recently extinct species rather than ancient ones.
What are your thoughts on bringing extinct species back from the dead?