Science writer Carl Zimmer names the Dodo and the Great Auk, the Thylacine and the Chinese River Dolphin, the Passenger Pigeon and the Imperial Woodpecker, the Bucardo and Stellar Sea Cow among the species that humankind has driven into extinction. What's notable about that list is that most of us would recognize maybe three or four of those names.
Think about that. We have obliterated entire species whose names we don't even know.
Now, there's a chance to bring some of them back. Even if the science is not quite there, it's very close.
Should we do it, and should we give special preference to creatures who are wiped out by us, as opposed to the birds and animals who existed before we had the ability to kill them all? While other species remain uncatalogued, and still others sit on the brink of modern extinction, is bringing back the old species the best use of our time and resources?
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- Carl Zimmer is a science writer and columnist for The New York Times. Carl wrote the cover story for the March/April issue on de-extinction for National Geographic Magazine
- Mike Archer is a professor of paleobiology, University of New South Wales. He is a paleontologist involved in two projects to revive extinct species including the Thylacine Project and the Lazarus Project.
- Wendell Wallach is chair of the Technology and Ethics Study Group at Yale’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics