Photograph By Robb Kendrick, Nat Geo Image Collection
A taxidermic specimen of a thylacine imaged using tintype photography. The last known 'Tasmanian tiger' died in 1936, but a group of scientists want to bring the animal back.
Airdate: August 24, 2022
Until recently when talk of a new scientific experiment began to trend, most didn’t know that there was once an animal called the Thylacine, which is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger.
This animal is known for having dark stripes across its back, like the tiger we all know, but is quite different as it is described by National Geographic, to look like a slim dog with a stiff, thin tail and was a marsupial, the type of Australian mammal that raises its young in a pouch.
According to Australian Geographic, the last known Tasmanian Tiger died on September 7, 1936 in a Hobart Zoo in Tasmania.
According to a National Geographic Editor, the Tasmanian Tiger was most likely nocturnal and hunted at night; they would ambush smaller marsupials, as their prey, and had a jump that was similar to a kangaroo when launching onto their prey.
Researchers in Australia and the United States are embarking on a multi-million dollar project to bring the Tasmanian Tiger back from extinction.
Jay Bennett, was the editor for the Efforts to resurrect the extinct Tasmanian tiger get a boost article for National Geographic. On Wednesday’s Smart Talk he said, the Tasmanian Tiger existed in Australia and New Guinea for millions of years and then thousands of years ago likely a combination of changing climates and human hunting started the process of extinction for these animals.
Bennet also said, to de-extinct the Tasmanian Tiger scientists are going to take the closest living relative to the animal, the Numbat, and try to sequence the tiger’s genome using preserved biological material.
“So they have sequenced the genome (of the Tasmanian Tiger) but it has gaps in it and they can fill those gaps using the genome of the Numbat,” Bennet said.
He said it could take at least five to ten years to bring the Tasmanian Tiger back to existence and scientists may run into complications that make the timeframe much longer.
He also said, the species that scientists are attempting to bring into existence would be a hybrid of the Tasmanian Tiger. So, it won’t be the same animal and may not heavily resemble the Tasmanian Tiger that once lived.
Scientists are unclear on how they will prevent the animal from going extinct again and how well the animal will adapt to the environment.
“The researchers believe that reintroducing the Tasmanian Tiger to its original ecosystem could help stabilize the ecosystem,” Bennet said.
He also said if scientists can’t confirm that this work has a benefit for the environment, the case for de-extinction is weaker for other animals in the future.
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To bring a whole thylacine back, not just a slither of its DNA, they intend to edit the genome of a fat-tailed dunnart. It's the thylacine's closest-living relative, but to the uninformed eye, you'd never know it. Looking more like a mouse, the tiny marsupial is about one-hundredth of the size of a thylacine.What are the reasons for the extinction of the Tasmanian tiger? ›
It is estimated that at least 3,500 thylacines were killed through human hunting between 1830 and the 1920s. The introduction of competitive species such as wild dogs, foreign diseases including mange, and extensive habitat destruction also greatly contributed to thylacine population losses.Why are scientists trying to bring back extinct animals? ›
Proponents of reanimation say it is ultimately a conservation tool. "The goal is to adapt existing ecosystems to radical modern environmental changes, such as global warming, and possibly reverse those changes," George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, argues at Scientific American.How can we bring back an extinct species? ›
Most de-extinction programs aim to re-create a proxy of an extinct animal by genetic engineering, editing the genome of a closely related living species to replicate the target species' genome. The edited genome would then be implanted into an egg cell of that related species to develop.What are scientists doing to save the Tasmanian Devil? ›
Impact. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program has now moved towards population monitoring, field research, and research and development into possible immunization techniques. Creation of a vaccine will ensure a disease-free future for the Tasmanian devil living where it belongs, in the wild.What is being done to prevent the extinction of Tasmanian Devils? ›
The Tasmanian Government supports the recovery of the Tasmanian devil by maintaining a captive insurance population, managing a wild population on Maria Island and monitoring and managing wild devils and their habitat.What threatens the Tasmanian devil with extinction? ›
Populations across most of the state have declined by an estimated 80 percent since 1996 due to a contagious cancer, devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). The disease is not the only issue facing devils: they are also threatened by roadkill, habitat destruction, and climate changes.Why did Tasmanian devils almost go extinct? ›
Listed as endangered, they are threatened with extinction due to the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) - a devastating disease that emerged in 1996 and still has no cure. Once widespread throughout Australia, devils are now only found in Tasmania.Have scientists tried to bring back extinct animals? ›
The list of extinct species that genetic engineering company Colossal wants to bring back to life is growing. The latest addition: the dodo. Colossal gave life to real-world visions of Jurassic Park in 2021 with its mission of bringing back the woolly mammoth.What animal did scientists bring back from extinction? ›
Extinct Species: Pyrenean Ibex
The Pyrenean ibex is possibly the only extinct animal that has successfully been brought back to life — though it only lasted for a few minutes. The last of the animals died out in 2000, but three years later scientists used its frozen cells to clone a calf.
Habitat loss is the primary cause of higher extinction rates. Other causes include habitat changes, over-exploitation of wildlife for commercial purposes, the introduction of harmful nonnative species, pollution, and the spread of diseases.Can extinct species be saved? ›
To bring back an extinct species, scientists would first need to sequence its genome, then edit the DNA of a close living relative to match it. Next comes the challenge of making embryos with the revised genome and bringing them to term in a living surrogate mother.Is de-extinction good or bad? ›
The main argument against de-extinction comes from a conservation biology point of view. Focusing on de-extinction could compromise biodiversity by diverting resources from preserving ecosystems and preventing newer extinctions.Should scientists bring back extinct species through cloning? ›
The current consensus appears to be that, at present, cloning is not a realistic or successful conservation strategy. Perhaps freezing animals' DNA will give us the option to advance cloning techniques in the future, but conservation efforts to save current endangered animals should not be overlooked.Are scientists trying to clone the Tasmanian tiger? ›
The group of Australian and US scientists plan to take stem cells from a living marsupial species with similar DNA, and then use gene-editing technology to "bring back" the extinct species - or an extremely close approximation of it.Why save the Tasmanian devil? ›
Devils suppress invasive species like feral cats and black rats, thus protecting smaller predators and prey animals. With the loss of devils on mainland Tasmania, we are seeing decline of small animals like bandicoots and small native mammals.Can you keep a Tasmanian devil? ›
Can you have a Tasmanian Devil as a pet? No, you can't keep a Tasmanian Devil as a pet. Tasmanian Devils are wild animals that like to roam around for miles in their habitat looking for food. They are creatures that prefer to live alone.Could the extinction of the Tasmanian tiger been prevented? ›
Scientists are unclear on how they will prevent the animal from going extinct again and how well the animal will adapt to the environment. “The researchers believe that reintroducing the Tasmanian Tiger to its original ecosystem could help stabilize the ecosystem,” Bennet said.What is a method conservationists are using to save the Tasmanian devil? ›
SAVING THE TASMANIAN DEVIL THROUGH CAPTIVE BREEDING
The ex-situ (captive) population provides insurance against extinction of the species, and a source population for reintroduction and re-establishment of the species.
In a paper published in Ecology Letters, researchers traced the spread of devil facial tumour disease (DFTD) across Tasmania and estimate that only 17,000 devils remain in the wild, a significant decline from their population peak of 53,000 in 1996.
Scientists believe that Tasmanian tigers were hunted and killed by humans and dingoes, which ultimately led to the Tasmanian tigers' demise in those areas. Tasmania had few people and no dingoes, though, so it became a last refuge to the Tasmanian tiger and its close cousin, the Tasmanian devil.What is the effect of Tasmanian tiger extinction? ›
Scientists said the ecosystems have degraded since the tiger went extinct, which led to the spreading of diseases and an increase in wildfires and invasive species. They claim the thylacine hunted and killed non-native predators that fed off of plants and trees critically needed to sustain natural vegetation.Is it a good idea to return endangered or formerly extinct animals such as the Tasmanian Devil to areas where they used to live? ›
It is not often we can achieve win-wins in conservation, but helping prevent the extinction of the Tasmanian devil by re-establishing a mainland population, and restoring desperately needed ecosystem function to habitats, may just be the best conservation win-win waiting to happen.Do Tasmanian tigers still exist? ›
The "completely unique," wolf-like Tasmanian tigers that thrived on the island of Tasmania before they went extinct in 1936 may have survived in the wilderness for far longer than previously thought, research suggests. There is also a small possibility they are still alive today, experts say.Why are Tasmanian devils hunted? ›
Because they were seen as a threat to livestock in Tasmania, devils were hunted until 1941, when they became officially protected. Since the late 1990s devil facial tumour disease has reduced the devil population significantly and now threatens the survival of the species, which may soon be listed as endangered.How strong is the bite of a Tasmanian devil? ›
As the National Wildlife story points out, the most powerful bite among living animals belongs to the Tasmanian devil (for more information on this possibly vanishing marsupial, see “Tasmania's Devil of a Problem,” June/July 2008), a 20-pound predator and scavenger armed with jaws that can exert a force of 94 pounds— ...Can extinct animals evolve again? ›
A natural process of de-extinction is iterative evolution. This occurs when a species becomes extinct, but then after some time a different species evolves into an almost identical creature. For example, the Aldabra rail was a flightless bird that lived on the island of Aldabra.Are scientists bringing back the dodo? ›
WASHINGTON — The dodo bird isn't coming back anytime soon. Nor is the woolly mammoth. But a company working on technologies to bring back extinct species has attracted more investors, while other scientists are skeptical such feats are possible or a good idea.Which animal has survived all 5 extinctions? ›
Tardigrades have been around a long time.
Fossils date their existence on Earth to more than 500 million years ago. This means tardigrades have survived the planet's last five mass extinction events. They owe their longevity to some special characteristics.
In 2003, researchers used cloning to bring back the bucardo, a species of wild goat, using a modern goat as a surrogate parent and egg donor. The baby bucardo, the only extinct species to ever be cloned, died after only seven minutes because of a lung malformation.
It is therefore entirely possible for prehistoric genetic material to survive for up to one million years. But the big dinosaurs departed this life some 66 million years ago. So the prospect of finding enough viable DNA material in what remains of them today is therefore vanishingly remote.Which animal is no longer found on the earth? ›
Extinct species: these are no longer found on the earth's surface. They were previously in existence but have now vanished from the earth. For example, Dinosaurs, Dodo birds, etc.What happens if all animals go extinct? ›
Other plants and animals are food sources for humans, so without them, food scarcity increases. Without the necessary resources for survival, we're compromising the survival of human life by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity.How many species have humans made extinct? ›
At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.Are scientists trying to bring back animals? ›
Current attempts at resurrecting this extinct animal are being made by several organizations. The Tauros Programme and the Taurus Project are both trying to revive the aurochs by using selective breeding, while the rival Uruz Project by the True Nature Foundation wants to use genome editing in their program.What extinct dinosaurs are the scientists trying to bring back? ›
Colossal Biosciences, based in Dallas, Texas, wants to 'de-extinct' the dodo, more than 350 years after it was wiped out from the island of Mauritius in the 17th century.What cat are scientists trying to bring back? ›
Scientists are trying to bring back the Tasmanian tiger nearly a century after extinction.Could they bring dinosaurs back? ›
It is therefore entirely possible for prehistoric genetic material to survive for up to one million years. But the big dinosaurs departed this life some 66 million years ago. So the prospect of finding enough viable DNA material in what remains of them today is therefore vanishingly remote.Could Tasmanian tigers still be alive? ›
The "completely unique," wolf-like Tasmanian tigers that thrived on the island of Tasmania before they went extinct in 1936 may have survived in the wilderness for far longer than previously thought, research suggests. There is also a small possibility they are still alive today, experts say.Can we revive extinct animals? ›
An animal like the thylacine that died out almost a hundred years ago simply couldn't be brought back this way. But it could be an option for recently extinct species. In 2003, researchers successfully cloned a , a type of goat that went extinct when the last living individual was killed by a falling tree.
This story appears in the April 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine. On July 30, 2003, a team of Spanish and French scientists reversed time. They brought an animal back from extinction, if only to watch it become extinct again. The animal they revived was a kind of wild goat known as a bucardo,or Pyrenean ibex.Has an extinct animal been cloned? ›
In 2003, researchers used cloning to bring back the bucardo, a species of wild goat, using a modern goat as a surrogate parent and egg donor. The baby bucardo, the only extinct species to ever be cloned, died after only seven minutes because of a lung malformation.What is the first extinct animal? ›
Answer and Explanation: The Tecopa pupfish is one of the first animals that became extinct. The Tecopa pupfish was found in the hot spring of the Mojave desert.Why can't we resurrect dinosaurs? ›
Recent studies show DNA deteriorates and ultimately disintegrates after about 7 million years. That sounds like a long time, but the last dinosaur died at the end of the Cretaceous Period. That's more than 65 million years ago. Dig up a fossil today, and any dino-DNA within would have long since fallen apart.Did any dinosaurs survive the extinction? ›
Birds: Birds are the only dinosaurs to survive the mass extinction event 65 million years ago. Frogs & Salamanders: These seemingly delicate amphibians survived the extinction that wiped out larger animals. Lizards: These reptiles, distant relatives of dinosaurs, survived the extinction.What almost completely wiped out the dinosaurs? ›
Sixty-six million years ago, dinosaurs had the ultimate bad day. With a devastating asteroid impact, a reign that had lasted 180 million years was abruptly ended.Has a cat ever saved a person? ›
Tara. Tara is a female kitty who became a household name in the United States after she saved her human family's child from a neighbor's dog. This heart-pounding moment was immortalized on film thanks to the family's supervenience camera.Could scientists bring back Megalodon? ›
"In 2022, scientists discover a way to bring the megaladon (shark) through using its DNA and they create a real megaldon in 2023 and surprisingly nothing goes wrong. "In 2025, scientists discover signs of life on two different planets and they are proven to be more advanced than humans.