Friday, September 12, 2014

The Plan to Bring Back Extinct Animals, Without Cloning


Think de-extinction, and after the inevitable flash of Jurassic Park, your mind probably then settles on woolly mammoths. After the discovery of a well-preserved wild mammal carcass in 2013, the potential to use DNA to clone the extinct species, though still distant, seemed rooted in more than just sci-fi.

But mammoths aren’t the only option when it comes to re-introducing long-dead animals. Modern Farmer has a great story on the attempt to bring back the ancient species of aurochs, a type of cattle that exists not only in Game of Thrones, but also in Europe, Asia, and North Africa—or which did, at least, before it went extinct in 1627.

In her feature, Kristan Lawson explains that several groups are attempting to bring back the ancient bovine in “rewilding” efforts. The point is not to revive an awesome huge species just because it’d be cool to have them around (though there’s that too), but to promote a biodiversity that was lost as certain animals, particularly large predators, died out. 

One group looking to bring back the aurochs, the Taurus Foundation, told Modern Farmer that, “We started this initiative because large herds of natural grazers are necessary to preserve European open landscapes and biodiversity.”

Cave painting of an aurochs-type creature.
For the rest of the story:

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