Weird History
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13 Extinct Animals Up For De-Extinction

March 4, 2021 9.0k votes 942 voters 15.3k views13 items

List RulesVote up the extinct animals that should be brought back.

As technology continues to develop, scientists are increasingly aware of the opportunities it presents when it comes to extinction - or, more accurately, de-extinction. The use of cloning, selective-breeding, and genome-editing have all been considered when determining how to bringing once-extinct animals back to life. While the de-extinction of dinosaurs remains, for most researchers, a non-starter, there's active interest in reintroducing animals like Woolly Mammoths and passenger pigeons into the world.

There are numerous candidates for de-extinction. However, ethical, political, legal, and environmental arguments have been lobbied for and against de-extinction - all valid and all worth thinking about. That said, seeing some animals that were thought to be gone forever might be pretty amazing.

Whether it's a frog that births its offspring from its mouth or a wild ox that could revitalize the ecosystem, the extinct animals up for de-extinction each offer some pros and cons. Vote up the ones you think should be brought back.

  • 1


    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The thylacine, a dog-like marsupial, is also called a Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf. Thylacines lived in captivity until 1936 when the last-known member of the species, Benjamin, perished at the Hobart Zoo in Australia.

    Their demise is largely associated with the presence of British colonists, who perceived it as a threat, placed bounties on them, and introduced species and diseases to destroy their habitat. 

    Bring it back to life?
  • 2

    Heath Hen

    Photo: Internet Archive Book Images / Wikimedia Commons / No known copyright restrictions

    In its final days, the heath hen strolled along Martha's Vineyard, the last bastion of this species of prairie chicken. The heath hen went extinct in 1932, but there have been efforts to revive the bird since 2014.

    De-extinction, according to conservationists, would promote public interest in grassland preservation as well as reintroduce one of New England's important "indicator species." 

    Bring it back to life?
  • 3

    Pyrenean Ibex

    Photo: Joseph Wolf / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    There was one successful de-extinction of a Pyrenean ibex in 2003, but the cloned animal lived for mere minutes after its birth. The Pyrenean ibex, one of several Spanish ibex subspecies, went extinct in 2000, but scientists used frozen cells from that animal, named Celia, in their work.

    As recently as 2013, efforts to clone the Pyrenean ibex continued. 

    Bring it back to life?
  • 4


    Photo: Heinrich Harder / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    As a species of wild cattle, aurochs were alive until 1627 - when the last recorded animal perished in what is now Poland. Aurochs were almost as big as elephants, had large horns, were herbivores, and are among the most frequent animals represented in prehistoric cave drawings.

    De-extincting the aurochs could provide a "gardening service" to landscapes, helping promote healthy biodiversity as a result. 

    Bring it back to life?