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Scientists Are Working on Ways to Bring Species Back from Extinction. What's the Worst That Could Happen?

Becker. Getty Images.

As we all keep X-ing out boxes on our Human Race Suicide Bingo card over the last few decades, our species has added horrors like nuclear weapons, bioweapons, viral weapons, human-ape hybrids, and creating our own robot overlords of the near future:

… to name just a few. 

And just to prove that we've learned nothing from every, single science fiction story ever told since Mary Shelley got high on snuff and wrote Frankenstein, we're now messing with the laws of Nature in the most reckless and irresponsible way imaginable:

Source - The dodo is one of the most famous extinct creatures on the planet — but is there a chance it could be brought back to life?

Well, with advances in science and thanks to the first successful sequencing of the flightless bird's entire genome last year, experts think that's a possibility.

US startup Colossal Biosciences, based in Dallas, Texas, has just revealed plans to 'de-extinct' the dodo more than 350 years after it was wiped out from the island of Mauritius in the 17th century.

The company will inject $150 million (£121 million) into the new project, which will go hand-in-hand with previously announced ventures to bring back the extinct woolly mammoth and Tasmanian tiger.

To achieve the feat, scientists first had to sequence the dodo's entire genome from bone specimens and other fragments, which has now been done.

Next, they will have to gene-edit the skin cell of a close living relative, which in the dodo's case is the Nicobar pigeon, so that its genome matches that of the extinct bird.

Really, Science? This is what you're spending all that grant money on? Instead of curing diseases, creating a clean, renewable energy source that actually works, or inventing a pizza that will give the average man a body like Chris Hemsworth, we're going to bring back species that couldn't cut Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest" mustard. 

And for what, exactly? Who's calling for this? Are dodos coming back going to help alleviate America's chicken wing shortage? Are woolly mammoths going to make good winter coats? To the people of Tasmania have a big tiger-shaped hole in their hearts that can only be filled by adding some apex predator to their ecosystem so it can start feeding on their children on the way home from school? Seriously, what is the market for these things? 

More to the point, are we just going to pretend that SyFy Original Movies don't exist? How many times do we have to see the some unethical eggheads in a lab playing God before we understand the terrible, terrible consequences? From Sharktopus to Pteracuda to Whalewolf to Megapython vs. Gatoroid, the results are always the same. The scientists' hubris always gets the better of them. They ignore the pleas of the one expert who tried to warn them, but they just … wouldn't … listen!  Until … it's … too … late!

And even though it's not nearly as well known or successful as those beloved classics, you can make a case that the Jurassic Park franchise is even a better, more apples-to-apples comparison. In the words of Ian Malcolm:

The problem with the scientific power that you're using here, it didn't require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn't earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don't take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you're selling it. …

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should. …

This isn't some species that was obliterated by deforestation, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs [read: dodos] had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction.

And he could not have been more on the nose. I'm not saying that if we bring back extinct birds, mammoths and Tasmanian tigers that they're going to end up breaking out of their enclosures and eating all the tourists. But I'm not saying they won't, either. We don't know. These twats in the lab coats wasting their time on this nonsense don't know, either. Maybe these things will breed like locusts and devour everything and everyone we hold dear. Maybe they were wiped out by some unknown pathogen that will be re-released into our environment and wipe us all out that way. All I know is we're doing just fine without them. Leave them on the ashheap of history with the T-Rexes and velociraptors where they belong. Because to quote Dr. Malcolm on just his second movie, where he'd already figured out how this works, first comes the ooh, and ahh. Then comes the running and the screaming. Sorry you had to die, dodos. but hard pass on all of this.