This Startup Wants to Resurrect the Dodo Bird From Extinction

Colossal Biosciences, a genetic engineering startup known for its bold mission to resurrect extinct animals like the woolly mammoth and the Tasmanian tiger, announced on Tuesday that it’s going to try to “de-extinct” another long-gone species: the dodo. The company has brought on evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro to help lead the project. “The dodo is a prime example of a species that became extinct because we—people—made it impossible for them to survive in their native habitat,” Shapiro said in a statement. The flightless bird went extinct in 1681 due to deforestation, overhunting, and the introduction of new species like pigs and macaques by humans on its native island of Mauritius. Much like in Jurassic Park, however, Colossal’s de-extinction efforts won’t result in an exact genetic copy of the original dodo but rather a species with edited DNA to be approximately like the bird. Let’s hope it goes a lot smoother than in the movie.

related BoingBoing on reviving the thylacine

more detailed Guardian post, (for instance, why a bird egg might be easier)


Professor Shapiro was on this programme this morning

I wasn’t listening closely but I understood her to say that it was impossible to resurrect the mammoth, just a genetically engineered elephant that was near mammoth.


Plock. Plock plock?

Dodo Birdie GIF by Extreme Improv


They don’t though. What they really want is to collect as much cash as possible from suckers venture capitalists by capitalizing on a species with brand name recognition.


Hm. Unlikely to end in someone saying “Clever girl!”


They’d have a lot more credibility if they had a track record proving they had the means to resurrect even one species—any species—before adding any more animals to their to-do list.

Even resurrecting a recently wiped-out subspecies of an extant animal would go a helluva long way toward their legitimacy. We have plenty of high-quality DNA samples from “Lonesome George,” so why not start by making some Pinta Island tortoises and then work backwards through time from there?


If they succeed anyway, I assume they’ll have a lawyer who will help them draft a nice non-liability law. Just in case the local mammoth migration doesn’t take into account the change of landscape since the ice age, including the petunias in your front yard. Or something in that line.

That lawyer would surely be a part of the Schitt family, I assume.

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So venture capitalists are the real victims here? :thinking:


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