Extinct animals in zoos: How real is Jurassic World today?

Chris Burns - Apr 3, 2018, 2:33pm CDT
Extinct animals in zoos: How real is Jurassic World today?

Today we’re exploring a bit of research on a future in which extinct animals could be cloned for scientific and entertainment purposes. Two researchers from the University of Central Lancashire explored three scenarios and/or purposes for which cloned rare or extinct animals might exist. The possibilities are endless, of course, but just beyond the plausibility of cloning rare animals – a real possibility – comes the planning stages for how they must be treated.

Could they?

It’s possible to clone an animal, now. Scientists cloned Dolly, they’ve cloned a bunch of monkeys, they’ve already done it. Now comes the next challenge: cloning that which is rare, then that which is entirely extinct. In the year 2009, the first extinct animal was cloned. It was a Pyrenean ibex, a Spanish mountain goat, one that’d gone extinct in the year 2000. One kid survived gestation, but had a lung defect serious enough that it quickly kicked the bucket.

So yes, it’s most certainly possible. The bit that makes cloning of extinct species impossible is a lack of a closely related animal from which surrogates and eggs can be harvested and modified.

It’s like Jurassic Park and the frog eggs into which Dino-DNA was implanted. Unfortunately, Jurassic Park isn’t part of the real world of cloning – not just yet, anyway. Dinosaurs’ 65-million-year-old DNA required for cloning doesn’t stay viable over such an extended period of time.

Should they?

An ethical dilemma – one that’s explored in Jurassic World’s second installment, too – includes the life and death of previously extinct species. If humans successfully bring extinct animals back to life, do those animals have the same rights as any other animal? Will humans feel the same way about protection and freedom of extinct animals as we do about animals that’ve otherwise survived?

In the paper Cloning animals for tourism in the year 2070, author Daniel William Mackenzie Wright explores three primary ways in which extinct animals will be exploited once cloning is in full effect.

• Scenario one: Food Tourism: Luxury species dining

• Scenario two: Cloning animals for sport hunting

• Scenario three: Cloning animals for education & conservation: Future safari zoo

Which do you think is most likely?
Which scenarios are likely to exist?
What else do you think humans would do with extinct animals if they were made available for raising, breeding, and purchase?

Learn more about this subject in the paper Cloning animals for tourism in the year 2070 as published by Science Direct. This paper was authored by Daniel William Mackenzie Wright and can be found with code doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2017.10.002 (URL).

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was announced to be headed to theaters June 22nd, 2018. The full trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom can be seen below.


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