17 animals scientists want to bring back from extinction
It's called "de-extinction," the act of bringing an extinct animal back to life by reassembling its genome and injecting it into embryonic cells. After that, it's the simple matter of finding a surrogate. In early 2013, scientists met to discuss which animals should be up for consideration. We've highlighted 17 of their 24 final choices.
The sabre-toothed cat, or smilodon, died out after the last ice age.
(Charles R. Knight)
The woolly mammoth was one of the last in a line of mammoth species. Genetic studies have shown that its closest extant relative is the Asian elephant.
(Charles R. Knight)
Mastodons, related to elephants, inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene or late Pliocene up to their extinction at the end of the Pleistocene 12,000 years ago.
A female quagga in the London Zoo (1870). A subspecies of the plains zebra that resided in South Africa, the last wild quagga was shot in 1870.
A rare photo of a live Carolina Parakeet, the only parrot species native to the eastern United States. Numerous reasons contributed to its demise, but a contributing factor was the demand for its colorful feathers to decorate ladies' hats.
The Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times and the only marsupial on the list.
(Baker; E.J. Keller)
One of the most famous and often copied paintings of a Dodo specimen, as painted by Roelant Savery in 1626. Dodos are known for being dumb but they evolved this way because they had no natural predators. Until humans arrived.
(Roelant Savery (15761639))
The Kaua'i 'O'o Moho (pictured) was the last of the Mohos to become extinct in 1987, dying out from habitat destruction and hunting.
The Cuban Macaw lived in Cuba and was the last species of Caribbean macaw to go extinct, due to deforestation.
(Watercolour by Jacques Barraband (circa 1800))
The Pyrenean ibex became extinct in January 2000 as scientists attempted to clone DNA from one of the last females.
The Huia, the largest species of New Zealand wattlebird, went extinct in the early 20th century from overhunting and deforestation.
(J. G. Keulemans)
The Passenger Pigeon or Wild Pigeon once flew the North American skies in huge flocks until habitat destruction and hunting led to its extinction in the early 20th century.
(J. G. Hubbard)
The heaviest of known birds, we still aren't sure why the elephant bird went extinct. The last written accounts of sightings occured in the 17th century.
The last recorded auroch, a type of large wild cattle, died in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland in 1627.
(Heinrich Harder (1858-1935))
The Caribbean monk seal, or sea wolf, as early explorers referred to it, was a species of seal native to the Caribbean and now believed to be extinct due to overhunting and overfishing of their food sources.
(New York Zoological Society)
The moa were nine species of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand that eventually died out due to over-hunting by the Maori by 1400AD.
(George Edward Lodge)
The Labrador Duck migrated annually, wintering off the coasts of New Jersey and New England. It's extinction was unexplained, but it is thought to have always been a rare bird.
(University of Pittsburgh)