The 5 Best Species to Resurrect

DNA samples still exist for many extinct megafauna

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 8, 2009 4:27 PM CST

(Newser) – Now that scientists have the woolly mammoth’s genome, the possibility of resurrecting the giant creatures—and other impressive species from our planet’s past—is a bit closer. Which megafauna would you bring back? New Scientist lists its favorites:

  • Sabre-toothed tiger. This massive cat with huge fangs would surely be an impressive, and terrifying, sight.
  • Short-faced bear. This behemoth is a third taller than the polar bear when standing upright.

  • Glyptodon. With dinosaur DNA too old to read, this “colossal” armadillo—about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, and featuring a spiked club tail—might be the next-best thing.
  • Giant ground sloth. Creature stood around 20 feet tall and could weigh as much as 4 tons. Well-preserved specimens are relatively common, so look for this genome to be published soon.
  • Gorilla. Sadly, the species we're most likely to bring back in the future are those that are currently alive. Conservationists are freezing samples of tissue from some threatened gorilla species in case they go extinct.
Click the link for the complete list.

A silverback mountain gorilla is seen in the Virunga National Park, near the Uganda border in eastern Congo, Nov. 25, 2008.   (AP Photo)
This handout shows a 3D computer-generated image of woolly mammoth emerging from an ice block.   (Mammoth Genome Project)
This image shows a saber-tooth tiger threatening a human in the film "10,000 BC."   (Warner Bros. Pictures)
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