Shall We Play Creator?


 Animal Species are dropping like flies

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that anything between 200 – 100,000 animals go extinct every year.

Many of these extinctions are triggered by human activity, from the  passenger pigeon to black rhinos to Tasmanian tigers. We now have the technology to breed extinct species, but what role should we be playing in bringing animals back from the dead? Do we have a moral responsibility to fix the damage we caused? And what about animals that went extinct hundreds or millions of years ago?

These were the questions raised at a recent discussion session at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Speakers Harry W. Greene, from Cornell University and Ben Minteer, chair of the Arizona Zoological Society presented arguments for and against de-extinction. They demonstrated that the de-extinction debate is much more complex than building a real-life version of Jurassic Park. Not only are the causes of extinction different, the time frame and the role that extinct creatures played in their ecosystem varies greatly. How do we decide what makes one animal more important than another?

“De-extinction is driven by the same values that brought about extinction in the first place; the inability to stop tinkering,” said Ben Minteer, a bio-ethicist.



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