Dead as a dodo? Think again. One company has plans to bring the dodo bird back from extinction. Sort of.
The last dodo died in 1681 on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Since then, the dodo has become the unofficial mascot of extinct species. That’s partly what makes bringing it back such a tantalizing prospect.
“The dodo is a symbol of man-made extinction,” says Ben Lamm.
Lamm is the co-founder and CEO of Colossal Biosciences. This flashy company has a unique take on conservation. Instead of preventing extinction, Colossal plans to undo it through genetics.
Genes are made of DNA. They determine a creature’s features. How tall? Tail or no tail? Recent technologies allow scientists to “edit” these genes.
Two years ago, Colossal announced plans to use this science to bring back the woolly mammoth. Now the brains in the genetics game want to do the same with the bygone bird.
But how can gene editing restore a lost species?
To revive the dodo, scientists will study Nicobar pigeons. These colorful crow-sized birds might not look much like the flightless, turkey-sized dodo. But DNA testing reveals they’re truly birds of a feather. Genetically speaking, the Nicobar pigeon is the dodo’s closest living cousin.
The scientists at Colossal will study the differences between the birds. According to Dr. Beth Shapiro, one of Colossal’s lead scientists, they can learn what genes “really make a dodo a dodo.” Then they can edit pigeon cells to look like dodo cells. These cells would be inserted into the eggs of other birds.
But what exactly will hatch?
“It’s not possible to recreate a 100% identical copy of something that’s gone,” says Dr. Shapiro. Animals are shaped by their environment, not just their genes. Colossal’s dodo would never exactly match the original. The dodo’s habitat has long since changed.
So what would happen to these brand-new dodos? Without other dodos to learn from, could they ever survive in the wild?
Some scientists see “de-extinction” as a distraction from the real work: preventing extinction before it happens.
“There’s a real hazard in saying that if we destroy nature, we can just put it back together again,” says Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University. “Because we can’t.”
Humans have a responsibility to take care of God’s world. But what happens when science offers a big “undo” button for our mistakes? Can science truly offer a path to the past—or will the future depend on people living responsibly here and now?
Why? Even when science provides easy answers, we still have a responsibility to treat the world with wisdom.
View a bubble map that shows how one event (such as efforts to bring back the dodo) can lead to another.
the fact that they don't even have taxidermy to look at for dodos. Thanks, oxford, for burning it for looking weird!
Huh. I don’t know what I think about this. I mean, it seems cool, but should we be doing this?
like in Jurassic park!
im interested in how this
im interested in how this will turn out
This is such a strange
This is such a strange concept. Not sure what I think about it.
This is really cool! I know it also seems weird, and I think it would be wrong to "edit" the genes on humans, but since dodos are animals it seems like it would be fine to experiment wisely in hopes of bringing back a species.
Next thing you know some
Next thing you know some lawyer will be eaten from a restroom
Imagine new newspaper headline. DINOS attack DC enter the USDTF? united states dino taskforce?
two words jurassic world
does anyone else realize this is the exact plot of jurassic world and park? i mean their litterly planning to do it the way they do it in the movie! this is a bad idea
So... it's wrong to recreate extinct animals because it didn't work out in a movie? A fictitious movie from 1993? That doesn't make much sense. I think it's really cool that they are trying to fix the mistakes we made that caused the dodos' extinction. We shouldn't let fear keep us from trying to be better. I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen? It doesn't work out, and the new dodos don't survive? Well, we tried, and we learned.
after this we need a T rex, what could go wrong?
that way they really could make Jurassic Park, that is if they found DNA for the creatures, it is possible, they found a frozen woolly mammoth and it was so well preserved that they were able to have woolly mammoth meet for diner. the only problem is that it is almost impossible to find a dinosaur because they were reptiles, so they would not be found anywhere near a climate cold enough to freeze, and preserve them, they would have to find some other way
Dodo were killed by pigs. not humans
Actually, in 1505 a bunch of humans set foot on Mauritus for the first time. There were a lot of dodo birds there that were hunted down because they were big and provided lots of food. That overhunting was one of the key reasons they aren't here anymore.
okay ealier i wrote that i didn't agree with this because it was in the movie. anyways i don't think it's wrong because the Tecnology. i just think it's wrong because like in the movies people believe that they can do it better than everyone else. except since we're humans and a lot of us our dumb we take short cuts we do things we shouldn't. we asume that we can do it better just because we have seen exactly how they did it before and we do it differently. anyways for the dodo i don't really think there is much harm in this it's just i don't think we should dive into this quickly.