Ever since I saw Jurassic Park the question of ethics regarding the bringing back of extinct species has cropped up periodically. Should we or shouldn’t we? That is the question. With dinosaurs the quick answer for me is no, for the main reason their eco system hasn’t survived. But the other reason is, they had their time and we, as a species, had nothing to do with their demise. Bringing back species of bird like the dodo and passenger pigeon, whose extinction we are responsible for, seems a noble task, but is it? Where will these birds go? Back into the wild or kept in captivity? And if they are returned to their original habitat what affect will they have on the current eco system? There is even talk of bring back the Smilodon (saber-toothed tiger), the Woolly Mammoth and the Thylacine (the Tasmanian Tiger). Where are we going to keep them? Will they kept in captivity or released into the wild? Imagine a saber-toothed tiger running around in the wilds somewhere. Scary thought.
Do you remember this conversation from Jurassic Park?
John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.
Recently I watched a video on TED Talks proposing the concept of bringing back extinct species back into our world. You will find it interesting, I’m sure. It’s also sure it will bring heated discussion.
“Throughout humankind’s history, we’ve driven species after species extinct: the passenger pigeon, the Eastern mountain lion, the dodo …. But now, says Stewart Brand, we have the technology (and the biology) to bring back species that humanity wiped out. So — should we? Which ones? He asks a big question whose answer is closer than you may think.”