How Close Are We to Resurrecting Extinct Species?
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How Close Are We to Resurrecting Extinct Species?

[TRACE] The passenger pigeon, the gastric
brooding frog, the wooly mammoth, they all have one thing in common, they’re extinct….
dead as a dodo, if you will. In fact, scientists estimate that 5 billion
species have come and gone off this planet. But what if we could bring them back? What if extinction didn’t have to be a permanent
thing? Right now scientists are using revolutionary
new genetic techniques to try to bring back some of these species. For example the wooly mammoth could roam the
Northern Tundra. [TRACE] It sounds like a science fiction,
but it could happen. So how close are we to de-extinction? [TRACE] The woolly mammoth is an impressive
specimen. It was the king of the tundra for millions
of years. Then it rather suspiciously disappeared around
the same time that humans appeared. Most scientists think it’s likely that they
were hunted to extinction. [JACK DUMBACHER] Most of the species that
have gone extinct in recent years is because we destroyed the habitat, we’ve introduced
species, or we’ve killed them outright, like the passenger pigeons. It was hard to imagine, at the time, that
this bird species that’s so abundant could actually be hunted to extinction. But we managed to do that. [TRACE} While it’s normal for species to
die out over time because of evolution or a cataclysmic event some scientists think
the Earth is now entering a new age of mass extinction, called the Anthropocene or Holocene
extinction, caused by, you guessed it, us. Animals, plants and insects are dying out
at a rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than ever before, with dozens of species going
extinct every single day. Some scientists estimate that as many as 30
to 50 percent of all species could be headed towards extinction by end of the century! But again, what if extinction didn’t have
to be a thing? What if we could bring species back at will? To do that, we’d need DNA, an egg cell,
and a birthing Mom. Which is why Jurassic Park will never be a
thing. [JACK DUMBACHER] The dinosaurs are so old,
that all those chemicals, have been turned to rock. There’s no source of DNA that we have right
now for dinosaurs, There’s no way that we could create a dinosaur, because we don’t
know what it’s genome looked like. [BEN NOVAK] We can’t get dinosaur DNA so
no Jurassic Park on the bench, but we can get DNA dating from tissue and fossils from
organisms from 10,000 years ago to 100,000 years ago so the woolly mammoth is an active
project. [TRACE] That’s right. The wooly mammoth could be a thing again! [JACK DUMBACHER] Mammoths are very different
than dinosaurs because scientists are able to go up to the Arctic, and find thawing chunks
of earth that still have frozen mammoths in them and those have DNA. And that‘s where scientist are going to
get the DNA from the mammoth in order to reconstruct its genome. That’s why mammoths are different than dinosaurs,
because we have that DNA. [TRACE] And they’re closer than you think
to bringing them back.. [BEN NOVAK] So right now .. there are cells
dividing and living in a little Petri dish at Harvard that have mammoth mutations. We have a mammoth genome. We have mammoth habitat, we have a good motivation
for doing it. We just need the filler in between who’s
making the mammoth. [TRACE] Woah woah, Ben. We’re not quite there yet. We’ve got the DNA, but it’s not exactly
perfect. DNA degrades over time, it has a half-life
of about 521 years. Meaning we need to fix any mammoth DNA before
we can clone it. Cloning is the closest thing we have to reviving
extinct animals right now. And we’re not bad at it! Remember Dolly the sheep? Now we regularly clone cattle, pigs, camels,
frogs, lab rats, and even your pet dog! Now, even with perfect DNA cloning is really
hard, but they can make DNA even more perfect by editing it. [BEN NOVAK] The revolutionary technology that
made considering de-extinction possible which also opens up all those new genetic rescue
capabilities is what’s known as precise genome editing. It’s using things like CRISPR Cas9, or talens,
or megaTALs. [TRACE] In case you haven’t heard of it,
CRISPR Cas9 is an editing tool for DNA. It’s able to go through millions of strands
of DNA, locate a specific genome and remove or add to it. In de-extincting the Mammoth – scientists
are using the DNA of an Asian Elephant and replacing parts with a mammoth’s DNA. To make a ‘mammophant’. A name I hate. So, we have cloning technology, we’ve got
elephant and mammoth DNA that we can edit together, and the plan is to try to artificially
inseminate an Asian Elephant mom to carry the baby. But, just because you bring back one mammoth
that doesn’t mean de-extinction. De-extinction by definition, is bringing back
a whole species. And just because we can bring the wooly mammoth
back … should we? [JACK DUMBACHER] I think sometimes people
think about de-extinction like, oh you wouldn’t it be cool to have a passenger pigeon, or
a California grizzly, or some other species? But, it’s not just about that species and
it being cool. Sometimes it’s about, those species have a
role in the ecosystem, which is now empty.Jack: A great example, that a lot of people are
aware of, is wolves in Yellowstone…we’ve seen huge changes in the ecosystem in Yellowstone,
that people are attributing to the wolves, [TRACE] So if we do put a mammoth back into
the world, what would happen? Where would it go? What would it eat? If mammoths ate up all the grasses, what would
happen to other herbivores in the Tundra? If the wolves of Yellowstone can change the
course of a river, what would a herd of mammoths do? [JACK DUMBACHER] I’m not sure I’m comfortable
with releasing weird, hairy Asian elephants into the tundra. [BEN NOVAK] Once you have your animals, breed
them up in captivity, condition them for the wild, put them back into the wild and that’s
where you start getting into all of your ethical questions of whether or not we should or should
not be doing this. [JACK DUMBACHER] Wooly mammoths have been
extinct and one question is “has that ecosystem already become something different?” And when you put wooly mammoths back are you
gonna end up having detrimental impacts on things that are living there now. [TRACE] there are other animals that we might
bring back first. Like the humble passenger pigeon. We hunted it to extinction, and changed the
forests of North America. Oak trees need the pigeon for regeneration
as well as controlling the underbrush, which is a major fire hazard. If we de-extinct them we fill a hole in the
ecosystem — a hole that we put there. [JACK DUMBACHER] There’s a portfolio of extinct
animals that you could potentially bring back. The challenge is trying to figure out which
of those is going to have the biggest positive impacts, and then working on those first. [TRACE] So, in less than ten years we could
de-extinct the passenger pigeon, maybe someday we’ll have Wooly mammoths roaming the tundra
or even see dodo birds waddling around. How close are we to de-extinction? REALLY REALLY close. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we
should… You can Keep How Close Are We from going extinct
too, by subscribing! Just tap the Seeker symbol. Extinction doesn’t have to be forever, but
that doesn’t mean we should encourage it. Did you know the Border Wall between Mexico
and the U.S. is causing extinction too? Yeah. Find out more here. And thanks a lot for watching Seeker.

100 thoughts on “How Close Are We to Resurrecting Extinct Species?

  1. I always thought that we would resurrect them, get a few and keep them in a zoo, i actually i never wanted them in the wild

  2. We better keep specimens of the animals we are making extinct like the tiger, rhino etc why not try to keep the species we have alive instead of the ones that already gone

  3. Who are we kidding.
    Everybody loves Mammoths, but if they were alive today, they'd be being hunted to extinction for their ivory, if not already extinct again.
    Humans are idiots, who hardly ever have thought for the long term or even how it affects themselves. To put it short, "We can't have mammoths."

  4. ๐•จ๐•–๐•๐•…

    ๐•™๐•ฆ๐•๐•œ ๐••๐•š๐•• ๐•š๐•ฅ ๐•ค๐•  ๐•จ๐•– ๐•”๐•’๐•Ÿ

  5. ๐•จ๐•–๐•๐•…

    ๐•™๐•ฆ๐•๐•œ ๐••๐•š๐•• ๐•š๐•ฅ ๐•ค๐•  ๐•จ๐•– ๐•”๐•’๐•Ÿ

  6. โ€œWe killed them all in the past… now we bring them back for our apology.โ€

    Me: No Smilodons pls?

    โ€œWhy not?โ€

    Me: Cos theyโ€™ll kill us

  7. Most animals going extinct now are doing so because we are destroying the habitats in which they live. If a particular species could be brought back via cloning, probably best to determine if a suitable environment still exists for them. Cloning for zoos is an odd thought, particularly as we accelerate habitat destruction that forces more animals into extinction.

  8. We don't need to de extinct the animals we just need to prevent the extinction of the animals we have now example elephant's pandas or any other species that atleast gonna extinct

  9. They wouldn't be mammoths, it would be some weird mammoth like elephant. We can't "bring back" any animal, only modify existing ones to fill the niches that those extinct animals filled. We're already doing that with aurochs in Europe.

  10. What a dumb arse question. ASSumes we are capable of ressurecting an extinct species in the first place. Damn, you evotards are fooking nimrods.

  11. "Yeah, yeah but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

    Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park

    "Oh what's so great of discovery, it's a violent penetrative act that scars what it explores. What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world."

    Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park

  12. I would love to see a dodo bird in person; however, how would getting the closest relative to carry the baby with the proper DNA make the exacts species? Wouldn't it most likely be slightly different?

  13. Hopefully we can bring back every single last one of these species every last one, but before that we need to save the already endangered species and breed them back to at least 500,000 or more and release them back in the wild and before that we need to figure out the cause of all these deaths, Poaching, Litter, Pollution and put and end to every single last one of these things, once we get rid of those three things we can have a non polluted habitat to put the extinct animals back in, and if the snow and ice are melting then the mammoths gonna die even faster, but I honestly hope that every single one of these things get revived, Cali Grizzly, Mammoth, Giant Sloth, Atlas Bear, Tasmanian Tiger, Dodo, Passenger Pigeon etc, and even all the fruits and vegetables that these animals eat we should resurrect all the grass that these animals wouldโ€™ve eaten or theyโ€™ll all have nothing to eat and will die

  14. well, we could bring the dinosaurs back through emus,chickens,cassowary. Birds are very related to dinosaurs. Take a chicken, put on a tail,teeth, and two arms. Thats a dinosaur to me.

  15. Well is it possible to put a velociraptor egg in an emu? Theyโ€™re the same size so it would work size wise and birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs just a guess

  16. Really us humans should die and get offf this planet tahst why and I THINK CLIMATE CHNGE IS TRYING TO GET RID OF US HUMANS were like a sickness to earth

  17. Also but like u guys should really help wipe out the asians and Africans and those people who usually hung the animals not being mean but movies I watch I always see them people killing animals

  18. Some animals should be beought to life, some should stayvdead. If they bring back the Titanaboa I would shit my pants if I saw a snake the size of a truck outside.

  19. We actually killed another human species. (Cave men).

    One time, we had war with the cave men, but we had better Weapons. The last cave men ever was stabbed in the back with a spear.
    We are the reason why WE donโ€™t have our own Species…

  20. That means we have to bring back their environment and echo system back, that shows this echo system is not suitable for them and they will not survive here.

  21. Instead of trying to bring them back, why do we try to protect species that alive? Human so strange, they destroyed it, they hunted them to extincion, then they try to save them, I so sad when I think about it, it so disgusting, the disgust in my mind for human. I wish with a snap, I can make human disappear ( even me if I can ) – like Thanos.

  22. I can imaging the future being a highly urbanized earth. When people would not know what a peacock, turtle, deers, and many animals are. We would live in a world where the only animals are pests, domesticated animals, typical pets, farm animals. This is so fucked up.

  23. Imo the reason why the everything is going extinct faster then unusual cuz human is destroying the environment, even if we bring the animals back there isn't space for them to live I'm meaning if the current animals aren't able to live due to destruction of their habitat how they resurrected animals are gonna live

  24. Maybe before we bring back extinct animals
    We restore the planet as much as we can,
    Im sure if the cloning goes succesfull and they live long, they just die because of how bad we made the earth

  25. someone show me the science behind this supposed "dying off 1000-10,000x faster than usual". How do you even science this question xD

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