Over the millennia, countless animals have gone extinct for many different reasons. Sometimes it’s because of a dramatic shift in the climate, and other times because of human intervention. However, it is said that advances in science could enable scientists to bring some of these animals back from extinction. Here are some of them. Take a look.
1. Woolly Mammoth
The woolly mammoth is a species of mammoth that lived during the Pleistocene epoch, and was one of the last in a line of mammoth species. The last isolated population of the animal lived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean until 4,000 years ago. It is said that woolly mammoth carcasses have been frozen and preserved, which has allowed scientists to access well-preserved DNA.
2. Caspian Tigers
The Caspian tiger, also called Hyrcanian tiger and Turanian tiger, is an extinct tiger subspecies that had been recorded in the wild before the end of the 20th century. During their prime, they were found in Turkey and through much of Central Asia, including Iran and Iraq, and in Northwestern China as well, but they went extinct in the 1960s. It is said that some scientists want to bring them back by reintroducing the nearly-identical Siberian tiger to its old habitat, where they expect it to adapt.
3. Irish Elk
The Irish elk or Irish giant deer is an extinct species of deer in the genus Megaloceros and is one of the largest species of deer that ever lived. The most recent remains of the species have been carbon dated to about 7,700 years ago in Siberia. It is said that red deer or fallow deer might have some similar genes.
The Aurochs is an an extinct type of large wild cattle, an ancestor of domestic cattle, that lived throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Scientists want to bring them back through selective breeding of cattle species that carry some Aurochs DNA.
5. Woolly Rhinoceros
An extinct species of rhinoceros, the woolly rhinoceros was common throughout Europe and northern Asia. It had stocky legs and a thick woolly coat that made it well suited for the cold tundra environment during the Ice Age. Hunting is often blamed for their extinction, so scientists want to re-introduce them to make up for it.
6. The Cuban Macaw
The Cuban macaw or Cuban red macaw lived in Cuba and went extinct in 1885 due to hunting, trading and being captured as pets. Aviculturists are rumored to have bred birds that are similar in appearance, but slightly bigger, because they had similar genes.
7. The Huia
The Huia was a large species of New Zealand wattlebird. It went extinct in the early 20th century because of hunting to make specimens for museums and private collectors. The female had a long, curved beak, while the male’s was shorter. Very little is known about their actual biology, so bringing them back would be fascinating.
8. The Carolina Parakeet
The Carolina Parakeet or Carolina Conure was a small, green parrot with a bright yellow head, reddish orange face and pale beak that was native to the eastern United States. The species was declared extinct in 1939, but the genes that made them still linger in close relatives in Mexico and the Caribbean.
9. The Moho
The Mohos are a genus of extinct birds from Hawaii. Most of them died out because of habitat loss and extensive hunting. The Hawaiian Moho seen here went extinct in 1934, but it is said that some birds like waxwings and the palmchat might carry remnants of their DNA.
10. The Labrador Duck
The Labrador duck has the dubious distinction of being the first endemic North American bird species to become extinct after the Columbian Exchange. It is said that it wasn’t hunted extensively, but scientists believe we are responsible for their extinction nonetheless.
11. The Imperial Woodpecker
It is said that the Imperial Woodpecker may actually still be alive, but hasn’t been seen in more than 50 years. It was officially listed as “critically endangered” because a lot of its habitat was destroyed by humans. However, if it is extinct, scientists want to bring it back to make up for that.
12. The Moa
The Moa were a giant flightless bird from New Zealand that reached 12 feet tall and weighed more than 500 pounds. It is said that they died out by 1400 because of hunting by the Maori, and their closest relatives have been found to be the flighted South American Tinamou, which could hold some of their genes.
13. The Thylacine
Commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger or the Tasmanian wolf, the Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times and is the only marsupial to make the list. Although it once lived on mainland Australia and New Guinea, it was eventually limited to Tasmania until the 1930s when it died out. It is said that Tasmanian devils may carry some of its DNA.
14. The Elephant Bird
Elephant birds were large-to-enormous flightless birds that once lived on the island of Madagascar. It is said that they died out by the 17th century. It is widely believed that they went extinct as a result of human activity, so scientists want to make up for that, too.
15. The Pyrenean Ibex
The Pyrenean ibex was one of the four subspecies of the Spanish ibex or Iberian wild goat, a species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. It lived in Southern France and the Northern Pyrenees, but died out in January 2000. Scientists tried to clone one using DNA from one of the last females, but it died shortly after being born.
16. The Quagga
The quagga is an extinct subspecies of plains zebra that lived in South Africa until the 19th century. It is said that the last wild one was shot in 1870 and the last in captivity died in 1883. The Quagga Project, started in 1987, is an attempt to bring them back from extinction.
17. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker
The Ivory-billed woodpecker is one of the largest woodpeckers in the world and lived in the virgin forests of the southeastern United States, but there hasn’t been a confirmed sighting of the bird since the 1940s. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology even offered a $50,000 reward to anyone who could lead researchers to a living specimen.
18. The Dodo
The dodo is an extinct flightless bird that was endemic to the island of Mauritius. It is said to be the most famous extinct animal. It evolved without any natural predators, but the humans that arrived on their home island took advantage of this and killed them all for food. In 2007, scientists found the best-preserved dodo skeleton ever, which may hold valuable DNA samples.
19. The Heath Hen
The heath hen was a distinctive subspecies of the greater prairie chicken that lived in coastal North America up until 1932. It is said that they made for delicious dinners, and were likely the foundation of the pilgrims’ first thanksgiving.
20. The Caribbean Monk Seal
Native to the Caribbean, the Caribbean monk seal was hunted to extinction for oil, and they were out-competed for fish by humans and died out in 1952. They were closely related to Hawaiian monk seals, which live around the Hawaiian Islands, and Mediterranean monk seals, which are both endangered.
21. The Steller’s Sea Cow
The Steller’s sea cow is related to the manatee and the dugong, the two remaining species of sea cow. They were once abundant in the North Pacific, but were hunted to extinction within 27 years. It is said that dugongs might still be carrying some of its DNA.
22. Passenger Pigeons
The passenger pigeon, or wild pigeon, is an extinct species of pigeon that was endemic to North America. It was hunted as food for slaves on a massive scale until the last one died in 1914. It is said that passenger pigeons have several living relatives, including the 17 pigeons in the group Patagioenas.
23. The Great Auk
The Great Auks are flightless birds of the alcid family that went extinct in the mid-19th century. They lived in the North Atlantic from Northern Spain through Canada. It is believed that they died off because of a combination of climate change and hunting.
24. The Baiji
The baiji, a functionally extinct species of freshwater dolphin, lived in the Yangtze River in China. It was declared extinct a decade ago, but scientists claimed to have spotted one in the river late last year. If some are still alive, conservation efforts will attempt to bring their populations up again.
25. The Gastric-brooding Frog
Gastric-brooding frogs were a genus of ground-dwelling frogs native to Queensland in eastern Australia. This frog swallowed its eggs and hatched them out of its mouth. It became extinct in 1983, but in 2013, scientists were able to implant a dead cell nucleus into a fresh egg from another frog species.