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. We didn't hunt ice age mega fauna to extinction. Time to stop spreading that bull crap theory already. No hunter/gatherer would hunt their food to extinction, and they certainly wouldn't start with the biggest, most dangerous ones. Also, the human population was too low to do this. They were killed off by sudden climate change and super floods caused by meteor impacts at the end of the last ice age.

  2. Bring the mammoth back and don't allow ANYONE to hunt it.Not even indigenous people.They hunted it to extinction,so protect it.

  3. Hmmm… they kinda missed the point in their motivation aboat de-extinction. It not about do we bring it back or how it can change the ecosystem, but the ability of we can and what are the implications about it.

    For example, if this technology will be fully utilized, we can relieve the effort of life wildness preservation as we know that we can hust bring endangered animals and with that save a lot of money. With the current advancement of ai and dna mapping, it is possible that we can simulate data in the computer on what will happened in ecosystem if we introduce a certain animal.

  4. But then u realize:
    How the hell are they gonna revive a wooly mammoth thats extinct when we can't even revive our own species, humans? We have hella DNA or whatever the hell they're talking about in this video but we can't.

  5. if scientists are finally able to bring back animals from Extinction they should put as a illegal to kill the animals that went extinct in the past

  6. Bring back tazzie, we caused their extinction due to plain ignorance we owe it to them to dextinct them. Mammoths had their chance.

  7. doesnt mean we can doesnt mean we should……..i dont agree. animals will adapt. its in their nature. our ecosystems can sustain them. we are destroying the eco systems put in place. how bout we fix the damage weve already caused. who gives a shit what you think. you think your doing damage. when the damage has already been done.

  8. Also some of the More Recent Studies have Shown that reviving the Dinosaurs would be quite possible although it would take a lot of work we would pretty much have to create a whole new Species with Komodo Dragons as the Base for it we’d have to mix loads of DNA of different DNA together and find out what’s compatible and what isn’t in other words we’d be creating a whole new Species of Dinosaurs not bringing the old ones back

  9. Yes but even they could bring those extinct animals back to life i think they could have only a small chance to survive and it's because of climate change

  10. If one day scientists bring back dinosaurs just now they where so excited they thought they would but they didn’t think if they should

  11. They can only bring back recent animals we already know how they looked like. Not prehistoric animals. Booooooooooooooriiiiing!

    Unless we make the first zoo for extinct animals.

  12. I hope we can bring back Gigantopithecus, that giant ape from America just like the Mammoth didn't really go extinct long ago either.

  13. We already have resurrected at least one, a Bucardo, which is similar to a mountain goat. It didn’t live long at all, but it’s been done. We’ve also had the opportunity but haven’t gone through with it.

  14. So basically this cloning needs a host? We take a elephant and a mammoths DNA and stick that shit in a regular elephant? Do you hear this shit. Everything is wrong about this shit. They are extinct for a reason. The only reason why they do this is for their pleasure to see how and what they are it's not a game dummy. He even says cloning chicken and wonder why a lot people get cancer

  15. they have other in common, they are in this video, congratth extinct animal, you are on youtube now, these animal wouldve never know theyl on internet, and everyone talking about

  16. The large pleistocene animals were mostly wipes out by a global cataclysm like a meteor strike. Maybe humans finished them off but they were all but doomed. Oh and by the way wolves will destroy prey animal populations the dangerously low levels if they are not controlled. A process that is already under way.

  17. Please bring back Tasmanian Tiger that would be like so cool there one of my favorite animals if you can even count them as an animal

  18. Jurassic Park WILL happen! If you used crisper to activate the right combo of genes you could build a custom anything. Once ai is good enough to build a predictive model of what a certain sequence will produce, we will make dinosaurs. Then I will laugh at you.

  19. I remember hearing about bringing this woolly mammoth back to life back in 2001. 18 years still no mammoth but the same scientific glorifications!! Good luck though.

  20. In history, the atmosphere was not the same. The composition of oxygen was also not the same. I'm no scientist, but it would surprise me. You may be able to duplicate (not create) some species after the change in atmosphere , but not the ones who lived in a completely different atmosphere.

  21. Rather than bringing back extinct mammals, bring back Einstein and Nikola Tesla…They'll solve today's mysteries and will invent the Arc reactor …

  22. As much as this will be fascinating, the probability of a disease coming back as we resurrect extinct animals is not slim.

  23. You forgot one important thing to bring back a mammoth you need gods breath of life God made man from the dust of the ground and God blew into his nose and the man became a living soul we need gods breath

  24. They should make massive herds of mammoths and then sell hunting excursion where groups hunt said mammoths but they are only allowed to use primitive weaponry. Sighn a disclaimer beforehand sayng you wont hold the company accountable if you are injured or killed by one of the mammoths.. I'd love to try that

  25. I believe that there are still some “extinct” species roaming around in parts of the world that we haven’t explored yet

  26. My thought is that if there is a predator that is eligible to keep said animal in tact and not let it run rapid then release it

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