De-extinction: Should we or shouldn’t we?


An article posted on USA Today poses as very interesting question: Should we bring back the passenger pigeon and the woolly mammoth?

I recently posted a video about the most well preserved mammoth specimen found which could be an amazing opportunity for scientists hoping to clone the extinct species. This mammoth had liquid blood remaining intact in the frozen carcass. The USA Today article discusses how efforts are being made by “de-extinction” scientists to bring back animals that were driven to extinction by human causes within the past several years.

Two Passenger Pigeons Source Link (Library of Congress)
Two Passenger Pigeons
Source Link
(Original: Library of Congress)

While it is highly controversial, I personally feel that in almost all instances, these species should not be revived. Mammoths, for instance, went extinct in a time where the climate was very different and the human population wasn’t nearly as large an dense. My thought is that while humans shouldn’t have driven them to extinction to begin with, it is now to late for most, especially those who went out thousands of years ago. The passenger pigeon may be a different story as they only went extinct within the last 100 years.

Additionally, there would need to be a large number of genetically unrelated clones produced to start up a viable, non-inbreeding population, and since that isn’t necessarily possible right now, especially with mammoths, it doesn’t seem like we should even bother cloning one. The point of it’s life would just be to get poked and prodded and studied until it eventually dies.

I find this topic really interesting and I would love to hear other opinions on this so please comment with your thoughts!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wildlife TV says:

    Although I see the how scientists would love to learn a bit more about extinct animals I think there are more cons than pros in projects like these.
    Their natural behaviours would be impossible to observe since these animals would be in a completely different environment from their original and wouldn’t grow up with other members of the species therefore unable to learn from social interaction (like other gregarious species).
    These projects involve money, lots of money, money that could (and should) be used to preserve the close to extinction species we have in our planet at the time.
    Finally, last thing we need to deal with is a new dormant virus from thousands or years ago (hypothetical situation).



    1. Hillary says:

      I completely agree. Rather than spending time and money trying and often failing to clone extinct species, that energy should definitely be focused on preserving those currently on the brink.

      In regards to dormant viruses, you are right and we have no idea the consequences of cloning these species.


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