Perfectly preserved cave lion may be coming back after 50,000-year extinction nap


I’m glad to hear they’re making claims of progress, but Popular Mechanics is infamous for reporting on fanciful new technological developments that are just a couple of years away. At least once every few years they publish a cover story on flying cars just to mess with us.


I guess the ice above exerted pressure and it lost water during the freezing.


That’s just smart job security. Flying cars are the technology of the future…and always will be.


When cats die, their air escapes.


I assume the point is that it didn’t putrefy, which wouldn’t help with DNA preservation.


Paging Herbert West, Herbert West to the “cloning” (wink-wink) lab …


For a moment I was quite confused:


Even if they manage to clone it won’t be a viable subspecies. You need two to even get a second generation and considerably more than that to prevent inbreeding. Although f you are a supervillain who just want to clone an army of giant cave lions, go right ahead.



I suspect that, aside from “ready real soon now” being distinct from “ready”; it’s because cloning doesn’t actually solve as many of the problems of someone with a still-extant(if only barely) species:

Without vastly greater knowledge, of the sort that definitely isn’t almost ready for prime time, cloning obviously isn’t going to increase genetic diversity in a population getting dangerously close to all reproduction being obligate incest(might be handy as an alternative to shipping live animals or gametes for artificial insemination between zoos, since you could fabricate an animal to be on site wherever the breeding plan requires it; but you can’t beat your actual supply of diversity).

It also does nothing(but risks being sold as a whiz-bang solution by people uninterested in the boring solutions; rather like ‘geoengineering’ in climate change contexts) to solve any of the problems that drive a species to the edge of extinction in the first place: habit loss, death by human or introduced predator, etc.

If it does work reasonably well; it would presumably allow you to maintain a captive population more or less indefinitely if your resources allowed(even if you have already dipped below minimum viable population territory, since you can stamp out copies of the ones you have even if any offspring are likely genetically unviable); but that does nothing about the environmental degradation that got you there in the first place; not does it much help you in retaining a viable species, rather than a laboratory curiosity.

It’s much more attractive, by comparison, to those involved with an already extinct species, since no amount of conventional conservation can de-extinct them; but this might(albeit straight into a small, critically endangered population that will probably require everything team conservation can manage if it ever wants to leave the lab.)


I miss you Bonsai Kitten :frowning:



Doesn’t matter. [Goldblum intensity=“100%”]Nature will, uh, find a way.[/Goldblum]


Seriously folks, we’ve had Jurassic Park as educational material for over 20 years now and yet, it seems no one has learned anything! It’ll be giant sewer lions I tells ya! Them eyes in the storm drain ain’t Pennywise!


See @cleveremi’s comment above yours. Ancestor contains some…pitfalls…of messing with extinct species. Some of the imagery Scott came up with for the critters was vivid enough that the mere mention of the title of this novel popped it right back into my head.


Prediction: Original cat died of genetic issue and so will any clones :-/


I miss Bat Boy. Hell, I never even got to see Bat Boy: The Musical.


However we do have DNA samples taken from species that went extinct much more recently, like the West African Black Rhinoceros and the Pyrenean Ibex. I’d have more confidence that scientists were close to reviving cave lions and mammoths if they started with something that went extinct 10 or 20 years ago as a proof-of-concept.


Batboy lives on in our hearts!



I’ve seen a picture of a dead polar bear (starved to death one presumes) and it looked pretty much like a somewhat lumpy bear skin rug.