can we bring back the dodo bird

AUSTIN (KXAN) – You have never seen the dodo bird in your lifetime. Driven to extinction by humans on the island of Mauritius in 1692, the species has become a thing of legend. But it could soon be brought back to life.

“What’s so great about the dodo is it has become an iconic flag or face of extinction really,” said Forrest Galante, a scientist who serves as a conservation advisor to Colossal Biosciences.

The company, which has offices in Austin, plans to “de-extinct” the species alongside some other well-known extinct species, the woolly mammoth and Tasmanian tiger.

“Those are all incredibly important species for the ecosystem. But they’re also splashy, big topical ones,” Galante said about the choice to bring these species back.

Why did the dodo go extinct?

Is it possible to bring the dodo back to life and what specifically caused it to go extinct?

The dodo’s demise was sealed when European settlers arrived on Mauritius in the sixteenth century, bringing with them invasive species and sailors. The dodo had a wonderful life on an island with plenty of food and no predators before they arrived. However, the animals and sailors hunted it for sustenance, raided its nests for eggs, and ruined its habitat.

Due to its violent extermination from its sole habitat, the dodo has practically come to represent extinction. With the development of genetic engineering technologies, is it really possible to save the dodo from extinction in the future?

can we bring back the dodo bird

How do you bring back an extinct species?

A drawing depicting a pair of dodo birds in a forest In the Indian Ocean, to the east of Madagascar, on the island of Mauritius, lived the extinct flightless dodo (Raphus cucullatus). (Credit: Adobe Stock).

Similar to the movie Jurassic Park, DNA is needed to revive an extinct animal. While DNA from dinosaurs and other extinct species is too deteriorated to be restored, DNA from species like the woolly mammoth and dodo bird can be recovered.

Galante claims that a related species that exists today was created through incubation of this DNA. When it comes to the dodo bird, pigeons are utilized.

Dodo birds will hatch from the eggs laid by pigeons. Though not precisely the same species, the new dodos will be similar enough to fill the voids left by their extinction.

Colossal plans to establish wildlife refuges for the de-extinct species. The mammoth will be housed in an arctic refuge, while the dodo will be raised on Mauritius. Humans will not be allowed to visit.

“We’re not creating a de-extinction petting zoo,” Galante said. The refuges will be carefully managed.

Can the dodo really be brought back from extinction?

In 2022, Beth Shapiro from the Genomics Institute at the University of California, Santa Cruz, announced the sequencing of the dodo’s genome. It was sequenced from a DNA sample taken from a specimen held at Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum. So is this icon of extinction poised to return from the dead?

In 2022, she stated to BBC Wildlife that “a ton of current technical challenges would need to be solved in order to bring a dodo back to life.”

“First, it must be possible to identify the genetic variations in the dodo genome that give the dodo its characteristic appearance and behavior. Additionally, it would be necessary to determine how to introduce those genetic modifications—of which there are undoubtedly many—into the kinds of cells that will eventually give rise to live animals. In birds, this would entail modifying the genes of “primordial germ cells,” or the cells that eventually develop into sperm or eggs, using gene-editing techniques. After that, all of the typical issues pertaining to raising a extinct species in captivity and providing for its needs would need to be resolved. ”.


Are they trying to bring back the dodo?

Colossal first announced its intention to resurrect the dodo in January 2023. Exactly when it will be able to do so remains unclear, but fresh details regarding how it plans to recreate the species have been revealed. The full genome of the dodo has been sequenced by Beth Shapiro, lead paleogeneticist at Colossal.

Could dodo birds still exist?

Would the dodo survive today? Even if it were possible to recreate the dodo, that wouldn’t solve the problems that caused the bird to go extinct in the first place, as Beth explained: “We believe that dodos became extinct because introduced species including rats, cats and pigs consumed their eggs.

Can we bring extinct animals back?

There is no precedent for bringing an extinct animal back to life for long enough to witness the effect it has on the ecosystem it is re-introduced into, so it’s difficult to say yet whether de-extinction will have an overall positive or negative impact.

Are scientists bringing back the Megalodon?

Bringing back the extinct Megalodon may be impossible. But scientists have managed to create a “Chickenosaurus” by manipulating the genetics of chickens.