De Extinction Essay

1614 words - 7 pages

“The Mammoth Cometh” by Nathaniel Rich in the New York Times is an article that details the prospect of “de-extinction” and how scientists within the community have been forming arguments about how to best begin understanding what new technologies are capable of. “De-extinction” is the term given to the process by which scientists can bring back extinct animals, such as the wolly mammoth or the great auk, through genetic engineering. In order to ground the analysis of “de-extinction”, the author focuses particularly on the life of Ben Novak, a scientist, who from a young age, showed an incredible passion for bringing back the passenger pigeon.
The passenger pigeon, a once abundant species, ...view middle of the document...

The National Geographic Society held a larger conference several months later, but focused on the scientific and ethical questions raised by the prospect of “de-extinction” instead of the technologies being introduced. Ecological arguments were raised at the conference as well. Ecologists in support of furthering the research for “de-extinction” cited that reintroducing woolly mammoths could help protect the Arctic permafrost from melting due to their grazing habits. Brand claims that the idea of “de-extinction” was framed in “terms of conservations” and that one of its first goals is a hope to increase the richness of the ecosystem. A new project was born out of this symposium called “Revive & Restore”, which is now the key organization regarding the research and execution of “de-extinction.”
One particular argument made for those in favor of “de-extinction” that the author touches upon is one proposed by the ethicist Hank Greely and a law professor Jacob Sherkow. Together they argued in Science that “de-extinction” should be pursued because “it would be really cool.” Greely and Sherkow describe this as the “biggest attraction and possibility the biggest benefit of de-extinction”, going on to say that “it would surely be very cool to see a living woolly mammoth.” Even the author, Nathaniel Rich describes this as “a less scientific”, but “more persuasive” argument. This used simple language and is an appeal to the interest of the public on a most basic level – one does not need to understand how these animals are brought back, but needs to just consider the awe of seeing such a creature. The idea that scientists should bring back extinct animals “because it’s cool” draws an important question – should scientists bring back extinct animals just because we eventually might have the sufficient technologies to do so? Do scientists as well as the public feel a responsibility to resurrect so many animals for which humans perpetrated or, in some cases, caused the extinction? This issue was only briefly covered in the article and the author made no reference to this issue being discussed in one of the multiple symposiums or debates held about “de-extinction.” Do humans want to admit their role in extinction?
Throughout the article, Rich describes the work scientists are doing now in the research of “de-extinction” involving the genetic code as “fantastical” or magical. He details the process of “de-extinction”, which is as followed: a scientist must sequence the genome of the specific creature or of a closely related species, culture the germ cell, then in turn inscribe this into a living cell by “cutting and pasting” the genetic code, and then introduce these living cells into an embryo. After Rich describes these steps, he states that the process of introducing the cells into an embryo would involve no “hocus-pocus.” The use of these terms creates a mystical reverence for the technology and beings to foster a public appreciation for the work as...

Find Another Essay On De-Extinction

The Permian-Triassic Extinction Event and It's Effects on Life on Earth

1823 words - 7 pages ecosystem could have functioned as refuge for certain tetrapods during the extinction event. Since Antarctica had a warm enough climate for tetrapods, but a cooler one than areas in the north, the climate could have allowed antarctica to act as a refuge for lineages that were poorly adapted for hotter environments (Fröbisch, Angielczyk & Sidor 2009). Researchers P. D. Wardotha, R. Black, M. O. De Kock, D. E. Erwin, G. H. Garrison, J. L. Kirschvink, and

Juxtaposing Viewpoints on Genetic Species Revival

1655 words - 7 pages again cannot fall entirely onto the humans of modern times as species extinction from human influences dates back to before the time of Christ. Thus, the entire premiss of the argument must be reexamined from the appropriate historical perspective. Taking the step back to the time of the Roman Empire, as mentioned by Leaky and Lewin, brings a new perspective to the issue and the ethics of species de-extinction: First of all, Nature has

Title: "Should humans attempt to protect all species?"

5274 words - 21 pages "Should human attempt to protect all species?"IntroductionThe discussion of whether humanity should attempt to protect all species started upon the recognition of the increasing harm humanity have brought upon the environment and the fear of mass extinction. Scientists are engaged in several efforts around the world to identify and number undiscovered species, and many environment laws, such as the Endangered Species Act of 1973, focus on


590 words - 2 pages handicrafts, the marketing of eggs, meat, oil and habitat degradation have made this species is critically endangered with extinction (IUCN, 1994). This condition is very important to identify any level of this chain to the hawksbill turtle, and thus contribute to their conservation. In this study we used the COI gene as a molecular tag for identification using RFLP and sequencing. In the short term, this methodology will allow combat the illegal

The Role of Ethics in Bringing Extinct Species Back to Life

1434 words - 6 pages cloning and “de-extinction” of the Pyrenean Ibex (445-46), where factual data is used to indicate to the audience how the process of cloning has progressed. Also, the author’s rationalization as to why Wooly Mammoths should be revived, to restore Siberia to grassland, serves as a logical appeal in support of the author’s claim. Siberia, for example, was home 12,000 years ago to mammoths and other big grazing mammals. Back then, the

Evolution to Extinction of Non-Human Primates

2181 words - 9 pages Evolution to Extinction of Non-Human Primates During the Eocene epoch, 47,000,000 years ago, one of our ancestors lived in what is now Germany. She was still young, her baby teeth still intact and probably less than a year old. This little girl came to a lake’s edge for a drink of water; cupping the water with her hand she slowly drank the water while holding onto a branch with her other hand. Our ancestor died there when she was overcome by

What was going on in America between 1810-1830. What might America look like through the eyes of a foreinger like Alexis Tocqueville?

1153 words - 5 pages assumptions in his book.Alexis de Tocqueville had a very sad impression of the Indians. He was sad for what they had already become and what he was sure they would become. In de Tocqueville's book he writes this very powerful sentence about the Indians, "MAN preeminently so called."(de Tocqueville, 1) de Tocqueville thought that the American Indians were doomed to extinction whether they resisted civilization or participated in it. Extinction for

The Debate about Honoring Christopher Columbus

506 words - 2 pages shipped many out to be sold as slaves in Spain. The Arawak people tried to defend themselves only to endure greater torture at the hands of the Spaniards. The impact on the people in the region is great. In Howard Zinn excerpt he states “In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead “. The Spaniards pushed the Arawark and other tribes to near extinction driving down population to below two

The Blue Whales

778 words - 4 pages today, all of which are caused by humans. The population is so low that any further killing may lead to the extinction of this species in the future. The blue whale is the largest and loudest animal ever known to have existed on Earth. These magnificent creatures can grow up to 100 feet and can weigh more than 200 tones. Their heart is the size of a small car, and a child could crawl through their arteries. Recent studies by the National Geographic

Fish Research Project

820 words - 4 pages Fish Monger: FOOD LOVERS MARKET On 15 April 2014, I visited Food Lover’s Market in Gateway Centre, Centurion and was kindly assisted by on-floor fish seller Frans and by the ‘Head of Fish & Seafood’ division Mr Andre de Bruyn. By the fish counter, a large 5m x 3m SASSI poster is clear for all public view as well as SASSI cards available to the public and the company’s commitment certificate to Environmental Sustainability through SASSI and the

Golden Lion Tamarin

1352 words - 5 pages has been left homeless and even pushed to the brink of extinction. Cultivation, deforestation, and industrialization have hacked away at this natural beauty, leaving almost nothing to those who inhabited it before man kind entered this untouched domain, including the homes of the entire population of the Golden Lion Tamarins. These magnificent primates now reside in three major national or biological reserves: Poco das Antas Biological Reserve

Similar Essays

The Ethics Of De Extinction Essay

1435 words - 6 pages De-extinction is a process that has been experimented with for many years, but has never been completely successful. The ethics and consequences of this idea have been questioned but, de-extinction has the potential to be truly helpful to humans and the environment, and many of the scenarios that people think could happen, are actually impossible. To actually revive a species, there are certain conditions that must be met, and the terrible

Tinkering With Nature: The Process Of De Extinction

1756 words - 8 pages Imagine going to a local zoo and seeing fantastic extinct and endangered species previously showcased only in museums. As portrayed in the movie Jurassic Park, bringing back an extinct species is indeed possible. Every year, thousands of species go extinct that we have not even discovered yet. In order to combat the issue of endangered and extinct species, several groups are currently working on the process of de-extinction. However, the process

The Process Of De Extinction And Its Ecological And Moral Consequences

1783 words - 8 pages Imagine going to a local zoo and seeing fantastic extinct and endangered species previously showcased only in museums. Like the scientists in the movie Jurassic Park, the idea of bringing back an extinct species is indeed possible. Every year, thousands of species go extinct that we haven't even discovered yet. With this, several groups are currently working on the process of de-extinction. However, the process of bringing back an extinct

De Extinction Essay

609 words - 2 pages Abby SanabriaOctober 8thMr. DiChiaraHonors BiologyDe Extinction, Right or Wrong?Within the past few years, scientists have been considering bringing back extinct animals. Bringing back animals who have been extinct is actually really awesome, but it has it's downsides to it. De Extinction is the progress of bringing back an individual animal, and to bring back extinct animals scientists have used the method of cloning. For example, the Bucardo