Hey there. Welcome to Life Noggin. This week, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that a bunch of really cool animals are currently extinct: dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and my personal favorite, the Carolina parakeet. Look how adorable this thing is. The good news is that we may be able to bring some of these animals back from extinction. But whether or not we should is up for debate.
哈囉，歡迎來到 Life Noggin。這週我帶來好消息跟壞消息。壞消息是一堆超酷的動物目前絕種了：恐龍、真猛瑪象、劍齒虎，還有我自己的最愛：卡羅萊納長尾鸚鵡。看這小傢伙多可愛啊。好消息是我們有可能復育部分已絕種的動物。但到底該不該復育是個爭議。
So, how is that even possible in the first place? Well, unfortunately for any Jurassic Park fans that are watching, dinosaurs aren't going to be brought back. Instead, more recent extinct animals, like the passenger pigeon that lived in the 19th century will be resurrected. And that's because in order to bring these animals back, scientists need bits of their genetic material that have been salvaged. And sadly, DNA from dinosaurs hasn't survived long enough to be used here. That's a bummer. I really wanted to ride a Velociraptor.
首先，這怎麼成真呢？呃，不幸地是，正在看這部短片的《侏儸紀公園》電影迷們，恐龍是復育不可能的。然而，近代絕種的動物，像是生存在十九世紀的旅鴿就能救回來。這是因為要復育這些動物的話，科學家需要動物身上被保存下來的基因物質。難過的是，恐龍的 DNA 由於年代過於久遠而未能留存。真是太可惜了。我超想騎迅猛龍的。
But for the animals that can be resurrected, they'll be more like hybrids than actual clones. See, the passenger pigeon that scientists are trying to bring back won't be exact copies of the originals. Instead, scientists would need to create a hybrid bird using the passenger pigeon's closest living relative, like the band-tailed pigeon. Simply put, this would work by changing the band-tail pigeon's genome so that it has a few traits of the passenger pigeon. Essentially, the scientist would create a cell that is mostly band-tailed pigeon but also a little bit passenger pigeon. And eventually, that cell can go on to create an embryo and eventually an animal. So we'd end up with Passenger Pigeon 2.0, not the real thing but the closest possible. And the same thing might also be done with elephants in hope of bringing back the woolly mammoth.
但那些能復育的動物並不會成為真正的複製品，反而會比較像混種動物。科學家想復育的旅鴿並不會變成牠們原本的模樣。科學家反而會創造一隻混種鳥，先從旅鴿的近親下手，像是斑尾鴿。簡單來說，只要改變斑尾鴿的基因組，讓牠有旅鴿的部分特徵就可以了。科學家會創造出一個原則上幾乎是斑尾鴿但也帶有一點點旅鴿特質的細胞。然後，那個細胞進而生成胚胎，最終變成一隻動物。於是旅鴿 2.0 誕生啦，雖然不是真正的旅鴿，但至少是最像的。同樣的方法也能應用在大象身上，如此便有望復育真猛瑪象。
But this brings up a bunch of ethical issues like "Should we even try to bring these animals back in the first place?" The hope is that if any of these extinct animals could be brought back, they'd eventually be reintroduced into their natural habitat. But for a lot of these animals, that natural habitat no longer exists. What the passenger pigeon used to call home has now been replaced with houses, malls, and highways. And even more, resurrecting extinct animals might take resources and attention away from programs that would prevent even more species from going extinct as well.
But perhaps the most interesting question is what we would even consider these resurrected animals: They would start off as hybrids, but what would we call them as they begin to look and act more like the original species? In other words, would that be enough to say that the species is really back or just that humans have created a really convincing replica? What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below.