Bringing the Prehistoric Back

Mattie Baker, Journalist

If Jurassic Park was a reality would you go? Of course you would. How could anyone miss out on such a magnificent opportunity? It would be a chance of a lifetime to go and be among the beastly presence of such wondrous creatures of the Jurassic Era. But this is not the real question. The real question is whether or not Jurassic Park could become a reality. 

Many skeptics doubt the ability of scientists in bringing back prehistoric species. When asked about their reason in doubting such ideas, one skeptic, Derrick Peck, claimed, “If people could bring back prehistoric creatures, such as dinosaurs, they would have already done so by now.” However, as both genetics and technology advances, the question of whether resurrecting extinct animals is a possibility comes to mind. Could it be possible to actually bring back extinct animals, such as dinosaurs or the wooly mammoth?

According to CNN, “Scientists have already cloned endangered animals and can sequence DNA extracted from the bones and carcasses of long-dead animals.” So, if scientists can already clone still existing animals using DNA from the dead, it seems like only a matter of time before they are able to extract enough DNA to clone prehistoric species. However, the only problem is that the DNA the scientists have been able to collect is thousands of years old, and therefore the DNA is fragmented and degrading unlike that of the DNA from still existing endangered species.

 To fill in these DNA gaps, scientists are trying to use DNA from existing animals that have a similar DNA strand in order to create a hybrid. For example, the closest relative of the woolly mammoth is the elephant. Therefore, scientists plan on filling the gaps of the mammoth’s DNA with that of the elephant in order to create a hybrid.

But, making hybrids is not the same as the real deal, so what’s the point in trying to resurrect prehistoric species if they are not actually prehistoric, but more of a new species that has been genetically modified from a current one? Well, scientists have found that prehistoric species, such as the woolly mammoth might actually be able to help with global warming. As the permafrost thaws, microbes break down the soil releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, therefore contributing to global warming. However, woolly mammoths and other large herbivores destroyed trees and other vegetation causing the ground to absorb less sunlight, therefore, significantly reducing the rate at which the permafrost melted. So, if scientists could make a modified version of the woolly mammoth or another large herbivore that could survive the arctic tundra, then perhaps the permafrost could be preserved in order to reduce global warming. Yet, scientists are still a long way from making this a reality.

So, being able to see the beastly prehistoric creature of the past, even if it was a hybrid, would be a splendid opportunity. Plus, if some of these creatures that would be resurrected could help with some of the world’s problems then all the more power to resurrecting those who have been extinct for a long time. However, depending on whether or not prehistoric species could be resurrected is up to the scientist as they work tirelessly to make it a possibility. Until then, one can only dream of a world shared with those of the past.