Bringing animals back from extinction

The Tasmanian Tiger that went extinct less than 100 years ago in 1936.

The Tasmanian Tiger that went extinct less than 100 years ago in 1936.

Animals go extinct. Animals have always gone extinct and will always go extinct. But now scientists think that in the near future some of these animals could be brought back. They are calling it De-Extinction.

On 14th March, scientists are heading to Washington to share ideas about whether extinct animals can be brought back to life or not. They will discuss how they can do it and why they should.

A prehistoric park could one day exist filled with animals that went extinct in the last few thousand years (that means dionsaurs are out). They could include animals like the passenger pigeon, dodo or Tasmanian tiger.

The secret is DNA, the body’s blueprint. It is like the instruction manual for a Lego toy. But instead of Lego bricks, our bodies are made up of millions of cells which receive orders from our DNA. If we have an animal’s DNA then we can build it again, bringing it back to life.

But scientists aren’t sure if they should bring extinct animals back. They don’t know what will happen if they did. There are a lot of questions it raises: where will they be kept? Should they be released into the wild? Could they risk other species through disease or hunting?

There are no answers to these questions, yet. But, as scientists discuss these questions on Friday, they hope to find them.