Taming of the Shrew
December 8, 2004 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Extinct is forever. Or is it? Scientists are hard at work reconstructing entire genomes of our common ancestors. The present technology is a far cry from Jurassic Park, but we're getting there.
posted by mowglisambo (9 comments total)
Not necessarily.
posted by coelecanth at 1:09 PM on December 8, 2004

If they start making new Tyranosaurus Rex, I think they should make them like four inches tall. That would be totally cool.

This was only a matter of time but that doesn't lessen the outright coolness of it. So extinct is extinct only if there's no genetic material left behind at all? And I'm sure that'll change too.

Nicely constructed post, mowglisambo.
posted by fenriq at 1:10 PM on December 8, 2004

So my nightmare of being chased by a woolly mammoth could in fact come true?
posted by stinkycheese at 1:18 PM on December 8, 2004

I think the hard part is that we are not just talking about extinct species, but extinct ecosystems with a bunch of possibly unidentified dependencies. For example, the Ivory Billed Woodpecker requires dead standing old-growth that no longer exists except in isolated patches in the Eastern United States. (The unfortunate fact is, there are only a handful of acres of the former Eastern Woodlands that have not been logged or farmed at some point in time.) Even if we revived the Dodo there is no habitat in which we can put it. New Zealand is only managing to save one of its parrots by quarantining an island and systematically killing every non-human European mammal found on the island.

Then there is the problem that a vertebrate is an ecosystem its self. We don't know what symbiotic flora and fauna died with many of these species.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:24 PM on December 8, 2004

interesting stuff - we just covered the cftr locus in my genetics course. thanks for the link!
posted by blendor at 2:56 PM on December 8, 2004

When are they gonna get around to cloning us some new dodos? If we ate them all, they musta been good. I bet they tasted like really greasy turkey.

I can't wait.
posted by interrobang at 4:33 PM on December 8, 2004

Someone should inform the Creationists. Or better yet, leave them out of the fun.
posted by AlexReynolds at 5:02 PM on December 8, 2004

Maybe they could work on unfrozen caveman lawyers.
posted by ilsa at 6:29 PM on December 8, 2004

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