10 Extinct Animals Scientists Are Trying to Bring Back
6 Floreana Giant Tortoise
The Floreana giant tortoise is an extinct subspecies of the Galápagos tortoise. They were seen mostly on the island of Floreana in the Galapagos. Female tortoises grew to about 88 cm and males to 138 cm in length, with strongly saddle-backed carapaces.
This tortoise became extinct during the 1840s or 1850s. Overexploitation for food by settlers and sailors and habitat degradation from introduced species, including dogs, cats, donkeys, goats, pigs, and rodents, were the reason behind the extinction.
As per wired.com, the first experiment was started by 50 researchers in the year 2008. Later on, in 2015, it was found that some conservationists are making efforts to bring this tortoise back by studying the long-lost population left by pirates on an extinct volcano.
According to some scientists, a breeding technique is necessary to resurrect this tortoise. You simply breed the tortoises with the highest levels of Floreana genes together until you get a very high percentage of those genes.
The quagga was a subspecies of the zebra. It lived in South Africa and went extinct in the late 19th century. The quagga was distinguishable from other zebras by its stripes, which were only present on the front half of its body.
Today, people remember quagga as one of the many victims of the 19th century’s ruthless quest for animal trophies. But there have been recent efforts by scientists to bring the cousins of zebra back through breeding programs.
A group named Quagga Project, which started in 1987, has been working to resurrect the little-known species. Eric Harley, the project’s leader, stated that we could restore quagga through selective breeding techniques. The project did receive some negative critics stating it could just be a stunt. Contrary to the critics, Harley is trying to retrieve these extinct animals by creating a species that is closest to the appearance of the quagga.
8 Heath Hen
The heath hen (Tympanuchus cupido cupido) was a subspecies of the greater prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido). It was native to the eastern coast of North America. The heath hen was distinguishable from the greater prairie chicken by its smaller size, more mottled plumage, and slightly different habitat preferences.
The bird was once widespread across its range, but it suffered a dramatic decline in the 19th and early 20th centuries due to habitat loss and overhunting. The last heath hen was visible in 1932, and the subspecies became extinct in 1933.
Since 2013, to bring back this hen a group of expert researchers along with Revive and Restore group has been working tirelessly on this ambitious de-extinction project. After some halts and extensive research, the project is now in the second phase, where successful fertilization of greater prairie chicken eggs is being done and attempting to grow late-stage primordial germ cells for the first time. The research could help conserve other species as well.
9 Cave Lion
Panthera spelaea, also known as cave lion, is an extinct Panthera species that mostly evolved in Europe. This species genetically diverged from today’s lions about 1.9 million years ago.
This lion became extinct about 13,000 years ago. In Eurasia, the extinction is thought to be between 14,900 and 14,100 years ago. According to The Guardian, these lions were mostly hunted by Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.
Since 2017, Russian and Korean scientists have been trying to resurrect these extinct animals. They are trying to clone the species by using the remains of two Ice Age cubs named Uyan and Dina that were found in Siberia. There was mother’s milk in the remains of one of the two cubs, which shed light on this research. By analyzing this milk in the remains, there is hope to even identify the diet of this animal. Due to the better preservation of these remains, there are hopes to re-create this species again, as stated by Dr. Protopopov.
10 Little Bush Moa
The little bush moa is the extinct, smallest species of the moa family. The bird inhabited territories mostly in New Zealand. The flightless bird became extinct in the late 13th century.
But scientists at Harvard University are trying to resurrect this bird by inserting the genomes into the eggs of live species. The experiment started in the year 2018. Moa’s DNA was reconstructed from the toe bone of a specimen preserved in the museum. Researchers are making efforts to publish their work results in their university’s journal.
As of now, only non-peer-reviewed papers are available on the website. More work and research are still going on. The extinct animals that scientists are trying to bring back, hopefully one day they will become de-extinct.
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