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De-extinction: Bringing extinct animals back to life could happen

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - If you've ever wondered what it would be like to stand next to a woolly mammoth, listen up.2 / 2

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - If you've ever wondered what it would be like to stand next to a woolly mammoth, listen up.

Scientists say it could happen.

But that doesn't mean it will.

Friday, many scientists have their eye on de-extinction.

Yes, it's just what it sounds like: using D-N-A to bring back extinct species.

Movies like Jurassic Park had us all wondering just what it would be like to walk with dinosaurs.

A concept considered pure science fiction just a few years ago is now feasible.

Conservation biologist Stanley Temple visited NDSU to explain the push toward de-extinction.

Stanley Temple/ Conservation Biologist: "I have no doubt that given enough time somebody's gonna pull it off."

But how is it possible to bring back a creature gone for centuries, even millennia?

Through a controversial genetic engineering process, scientists could find a closely-related species and replace parts of its DNA with ancient DNA.

Creating a genetically-modified organism that resembles the extinct species.

Fascinating, exciting, and really cool to think about, but the big question is whether it's a good idea.

Joey Wagner/ NDSU Student: "I don't know if dinosaurs coming back is something that will happen too soon."

Some say bringing back a species once it's extinct in unnatural and depending on the species, could cause problems for the ecosystem or even human health.

Haylee Beehler/ NDSU Student: "We should stick with just the species that are becoming extinct nowadays rather than focusing on something that has been gone for a millennia."

A slightly less controversial method of de-extinction would involve cloning well-preserved tissue.

That would, of course, only be possible for species that went extinct more recently and had their tissue preserved.

Becky Parker

Becky Parker - Becky Parker joined the WDAY 6 News team in July of 2012. She was born and raised in Williston, North Dakota.  She graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in political science.   At NDSU, Becky served as News Director for ‘SU TV News, the university’s first ever student-run newscast. She was also an anchor and reporter for the organization.   Before coming to WDAY, Becky was reporting for Lakeland Public Television at their Brainerd, MN bureau. She also spent internship hours at WDAZ in Grand Forks and KVRR Fox in Fargo.   If you have story ideas or questions, please e-mail Becky at

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