The extinction of species has been an ongoing cycle since life first formed on Earth. Some species have died out through natural selection, meaning they were unable to adapt quickly enough to the changing environment. Others have been plucked from existence by humanity’s work, whether it be by over-hunting, habitat destruction, or other means. Whatever the cause the cause may have been; what if we had the ability to bring extinct species back to life? Many people argue against the revival of extinct species because they believe it is simply not a worthy cause for the time and money it would cost to fund such a program. Despite their belief, extinct species should be revived for a multitude of reasons, the major ones being medical and scientific advancement as well as moral calling to do so.
One of the most beneficial aspects of the revival of extinct species is medical and scientific advancement. There is no doubt that the technology required to perform such an achievement would have to be much more advanced than what we currently possess. Therefore, if the revival was possible or in the process of being made possible humanity would have to create new technology which would propel scientific advancement forward. The requirement of new technology and research would additionally offer more short-term benefits such as the creation of new jobs and therefore a strengthening of the economy. On top of scientific innovation, the revival of extinct species would allow for further advancements in the field of medicine. According to Carl Zimmer, “Most pharmaceutical drugs, for example, were not invented from scratch-they were derived from natural compounds found in plant species” (Text 2, Lines 29-30). If we had the ability to bring extinct species back to life than we would be able to study those species and analyze them to learn things such as what they are composed of, what may have led to their extinction, and other things. If we know what they are composed of then we could potentially use it to enhance our current knowledge of their species or existing pharmaceutical drugs. As a result of reviving extinct species, we could bring about countless advancements if various scientific and medical fields.
As mentioned in the beginning, many species within the world were made extinct by human hands. Throughout time humans have hurt the environment and the species that reside in it in various ways, each time for the advancement of our species. We have overhunted various species such as the Pyrenean ibex as mentioned in Text 3 and wiped out the habitats of others for our expanding populations and businesses. As humans we developed science and industry at the hand of nature and the revival of extinct species offers a way to even the scales. According to Angela Herring, “Some have claimed that bringing back species that were caused to go extinct by human practices, would by some extent, help make up for the wrong of extinction” (Text 1, Lines 24-26). The ethics of species de-extinction are not complicated; we do it as a way to pay back species for what we took from them and in the end it is a win-win for both us and the species.
The concept of the revival of extinct species is obviously not one-sided. Those opposing the concept have quite a few reasons as to why they don’t support it, the main ones being: it is a waste of time and money, reintroduction of species to the wild is hazardous, and resurrected species could contain viruses or plagues. The opposition believes that de-extinction is an unworthy cause for the time and money that it would require succeeding and that instead of focusing on de-extinction we should focus solely on the conservation of species who are currently near extinction. This notion is false because de-extinction offers benefits in many fields more than conservation. De-extinction produces benefits such as medical and scientific innovations while helping conservation movements by bringing back extinct species that can offer solutions to problems current species face. Another argument against de-extinction made by the opposition is that the reintroduction of revived species can be hazardous. According to Paul R. Ehrlich, “Resurrected, previously benign organisms could become pests in new environments, might prove ideal reservoirs or vectors of nasty plagues, or might even harbor dangerous retroviruses in their genomes.” (Text 4, Lines 24-26) If there is a problem with the reintroduction of revived species due to disease, the simple solution would be to not release them into the wild but rather to keep them within labs or enclosures where they could not affect the outside world. In any case though, species should be reintroduced to the environment in a smart way, so that they are not invasive to other species or humans.
It is clear that that extinct species should be brought back into existence due to the many benefits that they would provide for us. De-extinction offers us innovation in both scientific and medical fields and provides assistance to conservation movements that will work to prevent further extinction from occurring. Although there are potential problems that may arise from reviving extinct species, they can be solved relatively easily and do not outweigh the good that comes from de-extinction.