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Cloning Extinct Animals?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I recently read an article on the increasing likelihood of being able to re-create long extinct animals via cloning.

I have mixed feelings about this. Yeah, it would be nice to know that thylacines are again roaming the wilder parts of Tasmania, Carolina parakeets flying about the swamps of the American South, passenger pigeons flocking in the Eastern USA, etc.

However, with some of the others, what do you do with them? For instance, the saber-tooth cat (smilodon fatalis) is sometimes mentioned as a candidate. While it would be interesting to see how it's coat is marked, what do you do with it afterward besides sticking it in a zoo as a curiosity?

Moreover, when it comes to re-introducing recently extinct species in the wild, could the cloned animals cope? For example, it has sometimes been suggested that captive-bred tigers could be re-introduced into wild areas that could support them, yet experiments have shown that captive-bred tigers are very inefficient killers. They just don't have the killing skills that wild tigers learn as cubs from their mothers. (This is probably what saved Roy Horn when the tiger Montecore jumped him. When Horn stumbled, it triggered the cat's prey instinct, but when it grabbed him, it just didn't know how to finish the job.)

If re-creating a sabretooth could be done for not too much money, then I'd probably be for it, just to see a real, live one. Otherwise, I would rather see the resources but into preserving the dwindling populations of our existing big cats, just to cite one example,

Anyway, does anybody else have any thoughts about this business?
post #2 of 17
I'm for it. I would like to see a Wooly Mammoth cloned. I am not sure if it is true, but I recently read they found one in the perma frost in Siberia that still had blood. Heck, I'm for cloning a Neanderthal even though the morality of that is pretty dicey. You can put a Saber Tooth in a zoo but what do you do with Oog the caveman? I suppose he could make millions as an MMA fighter if he could be taught that biting was against the rules. Might even be a chick magnet.
post #3 of 17

Ignoring the ethical repercussions, I would love to see what a child of a Neanderthal and a human would look like, assuming that were even possible. I feel like it would be one of two possible extremes.

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redcaimen View Post

I'm for it. I would like to see a Wooly Mammoth cloned. I am not sure if it is true, but I recently read they found one in the perma frost in Siberia that still had blood. Heck, I'm for cloning a Neanderthal even though the morality of that is pretty dicey. You can put a Saber Tooth in a zoo but what do you do with Oog the caveman? I suppose he could make millions as an MMA fighter if he could be taught that biting was against the rules. Might even be a chick magnet.

Given how "humanized" contemporary reconstructions of Neanderthals seem to be, there's a good chance Oog the Caveman could probably pass himself off as just another white guy...at least if such reconstructions are accurate.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valjester View Post

Ignoring the ethical repercussions, I would love to see what a child of a Neanderthal and a human would look like, assuming that were even possible. I feel like it would be one of two possible extremes.

Neanderthals were human. I assume you mean "Modern" human. I very much doubt that such a crossbreed would be at all remarkable looking.
post #6 of 17
"Regenesis" by George Church is a great book about this topic.

Dolly the sheep was cloned from a dead sheep.. They have impregnated a modern goat with an (extinct) Pyrenean Ibex DNA and it actually birthed a live offspring (which shortly died after birth). Talks of impregnating an Elephant with Wooly Mammoth DNA to see the result.

Pretty interesting stuff.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/4409958/Extinct-ibex-is-resurrected-by-cloning.html
post #7 of 17
Rich Chinese people will pay top dollar to eat them.
post #8 of 17
There's a good, entertaining BBC science show called Dara O'Briain's Science Club which had a segment on this. According to the scientists on it, DNA degrades rather quickly and to successfully clone an animal the DNA needs to be intact, so very few extinct prehistoric animals are candidates (the Woolly Mammoth was mentioned as one of the few possible candidates due to the possibility of finding intact DNA in a frozen carcass). Jurassic Park scenarios are highly unlikely.

On the show, the Pyrenean ibex was jokingly referred to as the only animal to go extinct twice. laugh.gif
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post


Neanderthals were human. I assume you mean "Modern" human. I very much doubt that such a crossbreed would be at all remarkable looking.

Same genus, different species. Much like how tigers and lions belong to the same genus, and ligers are pretty bad-ass looking. Maybe Neanderthal-human hybrids would stand 8 feet tall or something! That would be fun.

post #10 of 17
As Homer Simpson said of Prohibition, "They tried that in the movies and it didn't work!"
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valjester View Post

Same genus, different species. Much like how tigers and lions belong to the same genus, and ligers are pretty bad-ass looking. Maybe Neanderthal-human hybrids would stand 8 feet tall or something! That would be fun.

Some scientists believe Neanderthals should be subspecific to Homo sapiens. If there weren't strong ideological feelings against it, if we applied the same taxonomic criteria to humans that we do to other animals, the major "racial" groups of humanity would probably be at least subspecific to one another, and the Khoisan peoples of southern African, who differ from the rest of humanity in several physical particulars would be conspecific. As an aside, I am not trying to imply that one human group is "inferior" or "superior" to another--just a little bit different physically.

In any event, Moderns and Neanderthals are much closer in evolutionary terms than lions and tigers, which seem to have split about two million years ago.
post #12 of 17
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post #13 of 17

^ sry, wrong account. Plz ignore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post


Some scientists believe Neanderthals should be subspecific to Homo sapiens. If there weren't strong ideological feelings against it, if we applied the same taxonomic criteria to humans that we do to other animals, the major "racial" groups of humanity would probably be at least subspecific to one another, and the Khoisan peoples of southern African, who differ from the rest of humanity in several physical particulars would be conspecific. As an aside, I am not trying to imply that one human group is "inferior" or "superior" to another--just a little bit different physically.

In any event, Moderns and Neanderthals are much closer in evolutionary terms than lions and tigers, which seem to have split about two million years ago.

Ah, that's a good point. I guess there are societies on earth who are as culturally, maybe genetically, separated from me as I am from Neanderthals. Does this mean that if a modern human and a Neanderthal were to attempt to procreate there would be absolutely no issues with viability?

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by valjester View Post

^ sry, wrong account. Plz ignore.
Ah, that's a good point. I guess there are societies on earth who are as culturally, maybe genetically, separated from me as I am from Neanderthals. Does this mean that if a modern human and a Neanderthal were to attempt to procreate there would be absolutely no issues with viability?

Lots of evidence that humans and Neanderthals used to crossbreed, so it seems quite likely that it would work today as well.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Lots of evidence that humans and Neanderthals used to crossbreed, so it seems quite likely that it would work today as well.

That seems to be fraught with controversy. First the party line was,"No Neanderthal DNA in modern humans." Recently it was claimed that all human populations outside of Africa have a smidgen of Neanderthal DNA. Then other scientists have challenged this. A recent claim has been made that the datings of Neanderthal remains in Europe have been much too late; they died out in Europe about 45,000 years ago, thousands of years before the coming on the Moderns. Of course, that leaves the problem that Neanderthals and Moderns (or early Moderns) probably had contact in the area around Israel, where the two groups replaced each other on the same sites several times over during the course of a good many millennia.

As a general matter, as I have often said, I remain very distrustful of a lot of claims based on DNA analysis.

Maverick naturalist and anthropologist Ivan T. Sanderson was of the opinion the Neanderthals had never died out at all and that he could see plenty of good Neanderthal types on the streets of any major European or American city. He wasn't being facetious, and I have long been inclined to agree. I have known quite a few people--white people--with primitive characteristics, I thought.
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