Went Extinct:1906 (in Australia) the 1930s (in The World)
Closest Related Species:Tasmanian Devil
It would be wrong to say that the Tazmanian Tiger was an actual tiger. It actually does not have any relationship to tigers and is actually a marsupial. The species was one of the few carnivorous marsupials and the largest known of the species type on the planet before it went extinct. They were even once called the Tazmanian Wolf due to their several canine features. However, the real name for the species is the Thylacine. How did they come to be known as tigers? This is mostly due to the stripes they had on their body, which resemble what one might see on a tiger.
They were formidable predators that were considered incredibly dangerous for humans. This led to mass hunting that forced their extinction in Australia in 1906. They lived in Australia and across Tasmania before this but were strictly confined to the island of Tasmania after the Australian extinction. They’d live into the 1930s before going extinct. It was assumed that some were living there until the 1980s, which is why they were thought to be “critically endangered.” They were upgraded to officially extinct by the 1990s. The overall conclusion for many is that this would be a great creature to bring back using gene editing. It is one of the most unique known to mankind. Why not, right?
Haast’s Eagle was officially the largest eagle to ever exist. In fact, one of their most common prey was the Moa we referenced earlier. To be capable of taking down and/or carrying off a large species like this, the eagle would need to be big and strong. It is widely accepted among the Māori people that this was the “Pouakai species.” The Pouakai is a mythological species of monster birds that would kill and eat humans. Of course, the Haast’s Eagle species went extinct after their main food source, the Moa, was hunted to extinction by the Māori people.
The eagle species did not last long beyond 1400. Haast’s Eagle is also thought to be one of the few true raptors as well. They were deadly creatures that had talons of pretty good length, which they knew how to use well. Yet they also had a smaller set of wings that allowed them to hunt in crowded forests. Their native land of New Zealand was filled with dense forests until humans arrived. That said, many feel that we could bring the species back using gene editing. Then put them right back into the wild in a land with fewer humans. They might do quite well and eventually get to the size they once were.
Closest Related Species:Taipir, Zebra, & Other Black/White Rhino
One of the saddest extinctions in modern times has to be both the Western Black Rhino & Northern White Rhino. While the latter is not completely extinct, the last male died in 2018 and thus effectively extinct the species. There have already been animal advocates that have called for gene editing to bring these two back for years now. The interesting situation here is that, if science did decide to bring back specific animals in gene editing, they’d likely start here. That is mostly because we have a lot of genetic content to use for the two, seeing as there are female Northern White Rhino still living.
Plus, there’s plenty of genetic material for the Western Black too. We could more than likely develop these rhinos without as much gene editing as others. Thus, they’re an easier starting point for most. At the same time, we know they were taken to extinction due to poachers. Therefore, they’d more than likely be kept out of places where poaching was at its highest. That is only if they were re-introduced into the wild.
The Woolly Mammoth is an interesting species. It was thought to have gone extinct dating back 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, yet this was proven false. A small amount of the species landed on St. Paul Island and others ended up on Wrangel Island. They lived on St. Paul until around 5,600 years ago and on Wrangel until around 4,000 years ago. This was shocking to find out, as many assumed they died off much earlier. Meaning they lived thousands of years longer than anyone thought. Of course, everyone knows that bringing back the Wooly Mammoth would be tremendous.
They look a lot like modern elephants but, of course, had hair all over. Mammoths lived alongside humans for years, just like Elephants do today. Pretty much everything about the species is similar but they differ slightly. For example, their tusks and molars would be replaced six times during a normal lifespan. Ultimately, gene editing could bring them back and bring the world something truly special.
Saber Tooth Tigers are often confused for being tigers or possibly an ancestor to modern tigers. They’re actually not related to them at all. Although they do have some relation to clouded leopards, this is only partially. It was easy for early anthropologists and scientists to assume the Saber Tooth Tiger had a connection to modern big cats. Looking at them, they had the size of a modern lion, perfectly sharp and long retractable claws, and impressive teeth. The latter of which included two longer versions that went further down and were perfect for kill shots on any prey they’d hunt down.
They lived for millions of years and were a top apex predator during their time. They went extinct during the infamous Quaternary Extinction event. This was a period in which several large animals began to die off. It is widely assumed that this was due to environmental changes. Faunal density and diversity collapsed, causing the extinction of key ecological material. Thus causing many animals to die off. Gene editing could likely bring back the Saber Tooth Tiger, but it might not be as large as it once was in its comeback.
We know what you’re going to say: unicorns are only fantasy. They were never real, right? Well, technically speaking they have been mentioned in several different historical documents. Many believe, at least at one point in the past, unicorns in some form likely existed. However, most of those same people believe that they did not exist exactly as we think of them. They were rarely described as magical as some assume, and they didn’t have glitter or anything of the sort. They simply looked a lot like modern horses, just with a single bone coming out of their forehead.
Of course, most would say that it is hard to buy into them even still. Where were they? Why can we not find them in fossil form? Both tough to answer, but if unicorns did exist then gene editing could help. However, you may not have to do much to get the look of what most assume unicorns look like. You could merely edit the genes of a modern horse, which could allow them to develop a horn. That can happen right now, but there is no telling if it would be something they’d pass along to their offspring.
While most of us know our history, it seems that some do not learn from it. We’ve all seen how bringing dinosaurs back could be problematic from movies like Jurassic Park. Yet bringing some back would likely be okay to do. You do not want to bring the T-Rex back due to the obviously problematic nature it could cause. However, could you bring back specific herbivore dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Brontosaurus? It’s likely that you could without having to worry as much about the outcome. They’d likely avoid attacking humans unless otherwise threatened.
Yet people will likely have to understand that they will not be able to get as large as we know them to be. Oxygen levels were high during their time period, allowing most animals to grow incredibly large. Today, the oxygen level is far less. Therefore, they won’t get to nearly the same size. Gene editing could potentially allow them to get there one day, however. The real issue is how to bring them back. Dinosaurs were not reptiles like many think but rather, they were closely related to modern-day birds. Therefore, it might take a long time to get to the dinosaurs we know and love – but it could happen!