2 Kinds of Hope For the Thylacine

9/26/06 10:45 AM 0 Comments

Found 2 articles in the last 24 hours that show there may be some hope left for recovering the thylacine. The first form of hope comes from the realm of genome science.

Popular Science published the article "Resurrecting Extinct Animals" by Sharon Guynup, February 2006 that centered on using genome mapping to reconstruct partially deteriorated DNA from a preserved specimen. By using this repaired DNA, cloning, and the womb of a Tasmanian Devil (closest living relative), the thylacine could have a shot at being resurrected. Unfortunately, current cloning research has shown that many cloned offspring exhibit genetic abnormalities or health problems more frequently than normal members of the population. This means that any cloned thylacines would not be the best, strongest thylacines ever and might pass these problems onto new offspring. This method also counts on instinct to train the new members of the population how to survive in the wild.

The next form of hope comes from the recent discoveries of animals believed to be extinct or missing. Toronto Star reporter, Rick Sznajder, compiled the following list of animals (9/26/06) that have been [fairly] recently re-discovered:
  • Northern bald ibis rediscovered in Syria in 2002.
  • Giant Palouse earthworm, last seen in 1987, rediscovered 2006. Found along the Washington-Idaho border.
  • Laotian rock rat, believed extinct for 11 million years, first seen by a western scientist in 2005:
  • Chinese crested tern, thought extinct from 1937 to 2000:
  • Slater's skink, a type of lizard, rediscovered in 2004 in Australia.
  • Coelacanth, thought extinct for 80 million years, first seen in 1938 off South Africa:
  • Black-footed ferret, believed extinct by 1978, rediscovered 1981 in Wyoming:
  • New Zealand storm petrel, last seen in 19th century, rediscovered in 2003.
  • Long-legged warbler, last seen in 1894, rediscovered in Fiji in 2003.
  • Rusty-throated wren-babbler, not seen for 60 years, rediscovered in the Himalayas in 2004.
  • Takahe, a bird believed extinct for 50 years, rediscovered in 1948 in New Zealand:
  • North Pacific right whale, thought extinct until the mid- '90s. Lives in the waters around Alaska:
  • High Range dwarf cattle, rediscovered in India in 2004.
  • Asian grey whale, believed extinct since the turn of the century, rediscovered in 1973 near Russia's far east coast.
  • White-winged guan, believed extinct for 100 years, rediscovered in 1977 in Peru:
  • Southern white rhino, thought extinct throughout 19th century, rediscovered in South Africa in 1895:


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