Ten extinct beasts that could walk the Earth again

January 8th, 2009 - 1:23 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 8 (ANI): A report in New Scientist has predicted ten extinct creatures that might be brought back to life.

On the assumption that necessary technology to re-create extinct life would soon be available, the selected ten animals are:

Sabre-toothed tiger: There are some spectacularly preserved sabre-toothed specimens from the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles. There are also some permafrost-preserved specimens that might be a better source of DNA.

Neanderthal: A draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome should be published sometime this year. There is speculation that it could be used to resurrect the Neanderthal. Because of our very close-shared ancestry, humans would make ideal egg donors and surrogate mothers.

Short-faced bear: Recovering the DNA of the short-faced bear should be possible as there are specimens encased in permafrost.

Tasmanian tiger: The existence of various preserved tissues less than a century old means geneticists should be able to get good-quality DNA and produce a complete sequence of the Tasmanian tiger genome before too long.

Glyptodon: The Volkswagen Beetle-sized colossal armadillo, with its spiky, club-like tail, once rumbled across the South American countryside. Because there are no frozen glyptodons, obtaining usable DNA will depend on finding well-preserved remains in a cool, dry cave.

Woolly rhinoceros: Resurrecting the woolly rhino has lots going for it. As with the mammoth, there are plenty of specimens preserved in permafrost, and the availability of hair, horns and hooves is a big plus.

Dodo: In 2002, geneticists at the University of Oxford got permission to cut into the worlds best-preserved dodo specimen, a foot bone, complete with skin and feathers. This yielded minute fragments of dodo mitochondrial DNA but nothing more. Since then, no other specimen has yielded even a whiff of dodo DNA, but there is still hope that some will one day be found.

Giant ground sloth: The sloths relatively recent extinction means that several specimens have been found with hair, an excellent source of DNA.

Moa: There is plenty of moa DNA to be found in well-preserved bones and even eggs in caves across New Zealand, so obtaining a moa genome should be doable.

Irish elk: This Pleistocene giant was once found across Europe. A typical male of the species stood more than 2 metres tall at the shoulder and sported antlers 4 metres wide. It is actually a deer rather than an elk, and its closest living relative is the much smaller fallow deer.

Gorilla: Conservationists are freezing tissue samples from some threatened species of Gorilla, so clones could be created with the help of a closely related surrogate species if a suitable habitat becomes available. (ANI)

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