Is de-extinction possible? Find out right now.

Illustration for article titled Is de-extinction possible? Find out right now.

De-extinction is the act of bringing an entire species back from the grave. It's the real-life version of Jurassic Park. And tomorrow, National Geographic and the Long Now Foundation are sponsoring a special TEDxDeExtinction event, where scientists and researchers are discussing whether we'll ever bring back mastodons and even Neandertals. Tune into the live feed tomorrow.


Here's the conference agenda, which you can watch live right here.


John Fahey – “A New Century of Exploration”
Chris Anderson – “TED Welcomes You”
Carl Zimmer – “(Some) EXTINCTION IS (not necessarily) FOREVER


Isabella Kirkland – “A Still Life of Stilled Life”
Susan Haig – “Bringing Back the Birds of Our Dreams”
Hendrik Poinar – “Not All Mammoths Were Woolly”
Michael Archer – “Second Chance for Tasmanian Tigers and Fantastic Frogs”
Joel Sartore – “Endangered Studio”


Alberto Fernández-Arias – “The First De-extinction”
Oliver Ryder – “Genetic Rescue and Biodiversity Banking”
Robert Lanza – “The Use of Cloning and Stem Cells to Resurrect Life”
George Church – “Hybridizing with Extinct Species”
Michael McGrew – “Pigeons from Chickens”
Ben Novak – “How to Bring Passenger Pigeons All the Way Back”

Noon to 1:15PM LUNCH


Stanley Temple – “De-extinction: A Game-changer for Conservation Biology”
David Ehrenfeld – “Extinction Reversal? Don’t Count on It.”
Kate Jones – “Why and Why Not Is a Matter of Specifics”
James Tate – “Rules, Regs, and Reactions”
Beth Shapiro – “Ancient DNA: What It Is and What It Could Be”
Hank Greely – “De-extinction: Hubris or Hope?”


Henri Kerkdijk-Otten – “Restoring Europe’s Wildlife with Aurochs and Others”
Kent Redford – “Tainted Species?”
William Powell – “Reviving the American Forest with the American Chestnut”
David Burney – “Rewilding, Ecological Surrogacy, and Now… De-extinction?”
Michael Mace – “California Condors Back from the Brink”


Livestream of the event is here.

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Ravenous Sophovore

The biggest problem I can see here isn't the science. The science will get there, if it isn't there already. The biggest problem is: how do you teach young animals the learned skills they need to survive in the wild when literally no adult animals of that species exist, let alone wild adult animals? What good does it do to recreate a species if we can't reintroduce them into the wild?

Now, if their behavior was similar to an existing species, maybe we can get some cross animal adoption going on to teach those skills, but what about those whose behaviors were never documented or have no remaining closely related relatives?