Reawakening Extinct Species
"Ever since the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, the possibility of bringing extinct species back to life has been part of our collective imagination. The film, based on a Michael Crichton novel, was itself inspired by actual scientific breakthroughs in the early 1990s that allowed scientists to use DNA from museum specimens and fossils to recreate the genome — or genetic blueprint — of dead animals. When the film debuted the science wasn’t advanced enough to bring back extinct species. But today it might well be, and researchers’ growing efforts to recreate extinct species — in labs from California to Australia — have been making headlines.
It isn’t possible to bring dinosaurs back to life, scientists say, because DNA is too degraded after millions of years. But work is now underway to bring back more recently extinct species, including research at the University of California-Santa Cruz aimed at restoring passenger pigeons, and Harvard scientists’ attempts to bring back the woolly mammoth, which QUEST explores in this half-hour documentary, Reawakening Extinct Species."
Watch the special and learn more about the history and questions surrounding this complex research at +QUEST Science