Stewart Brand talks about reviving the passenger pigeon at TED2013
Bringing back extinct species — this Friday, TEDxDeExtinction discusses how we’ll do it and whether we should
An endangered species is like a very sick person: It needs help, desperately. An extinct species is like a dead person: beyond help, beyond hope
Or at least it has been, until now. For the first time, our own species—the one that has done so much to condemn those other 795 to oblivion—may be poised to bring at least some of them back.
—National Geographic, “Species Revival: Should We Bring Back Extinct Animals?”
This process, the process of bringing an extinct species back from once-certain oblivion, is called de-extinction.As reported on the TED Blog,“The first de-extinction happened on the bucardo, a type of wild mountain goat. The last bucardo died out in 2000, but its ear was preserved, and in 2009 DNA from the ear was planted in a mother goat. The engineered bucardo died after 10 minutes due to a defect in its lungs.”
But is there hope for de-exintction to continue? With other animals? New Techniques? Could we someday see the wooly mammoth in the flesh? At TED2013, scientist Stewart Brand gave a introduction to the possibilities, and now he wants us to talk about it.
This month, along with his foundation Revive & Restore, with the support of TED and TEDster Ryan Phelan, and in partnership with National Geographic Society, Brand is convening a day-long conference — called TEDxDeExtinction — to showcase the prospects of bringing extinct species back to life, along with a discussion of the ethical issues involved.
On Friday, March 15, 2013, TEDxDeExtinction will bring 25 renowned experts together at National Geographic headquarters to contribute ideas to these four sessions:
- WHO: Who among extinct species should be revived first?
- HOW: How can extinct species be revived?
- WHY AND WHY NOT: Should we bring back extinct species?
- WILD AGAIN: Could resurrected species ever be wild again?
- George Church,professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of PersonalGenomes.org, the world’s only open-access information source for the human genome .
- President of the American Ornithologists’ Union Susan Haig, whose specialization is working with species facing the brink of extinction.
- Director of Genetics at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation and Research Oliver Ryder, who oversees research efforts in cell culture and cryobanking, cytogenetics, population genetics, conservation breeding, evolution and systematics, and applications of genomics technologies to conservation efforts for managed and wild populations of threatened and endangered species.
- New York Times, National Geographic, and winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award journalist Carl Zimmer.
This day-long event will be webcast live on March 15 on the TEDx Livestream: http://new.livestream.com/tedx/DeExtinction and at http://nationalgeographic.com/deextinction.
To attend in person, event tickets can be purchased at the TEDxDeExtinction website.
The bdelloid rotifer – a tiny, all-female creature – has endured the past 80 million years without sex. Now, researchers discover the asexual animal’s secret lies in gobbling up foreign DNA from other simple life-forms.
Meanwhile, the very first ejaculation “caught” in the fossil record some 400 million years ago tells the story of Earth’s sexual past.
Hi Anon, Don’t freak out. Nothing is beyond repair, just maybe a slightly different path to what you originally intended. Now, it all depends on what sort of marine biologist you want to be. I can’t help you with that. What I can say is try and make up for your grades with practical experience. Get some lab or field work in you, volunteer for anything relevant. Basically, prove your worth with successful experience rather than your grades. Make sure you network, meet people in the field you want to be in. Ask their advice. Don’t have a chip on your shoulder about your grades. It’ll hold you back. Accept them, and move forward! Remember just because you’re not doing exactly what you planned doesn’t mean that it isn’t a success!
There Are Whales Alive Today That Are Older Than Moby Dick!
Eskimo hunters, whaling off the coast of Alaska, discovered 19th century stone and metal harpoon tips embedded in the blubber of bowhead whales. That means these relatives of humpbacks and other baleen whales were dodging harpoons as far back as the 1870’s!
Of course, Herman Melville published Moby Dick in 1851, so dating harpoons just means they were born sometime before 1879. Biologist Craig George decided to use a technique that measures certain protein chemistry in the whales eyes (basically as whales age, their eyes accumulate certain amino acids) to date them more accurately.
The result? There are likely bowhead whales out there that are more than 200 years old! That makes them older than any known tortoise, and perhaps the oldest animal on Earth! Check out more at Smithsonian.
They still don’t have anything on trees when it comes to age, though.
Tough question! I imagine most of your specimens come to you frozen or preserved. Fisheries management and conservation requires genetic analysis to determine distinct populations and reproductive habits, so as long as you are collecting the samples you’d be with the animals.
I suggest asking around, trying to contact the authors of journal articles you are interested them. Try for concise and direct questions. People are busy, they won’t give time to reply to basic, wikipedia-able questions, so do your research.
Good luck, it might not be straightforward at first, but I’m sure there are plenty of opportunities there!
Image by Jonathan Franks, University of Pittsburgh.
The float, shaped like a series of bells on top of each other, constitute a significant fraction of the total colony length. In the bottom of the float there is a gas-emitting pore used to control the buoyancy of the colony. The banana-shaped, orange or violet colored tentacles may cause painful stings. At the base of the float, there are long threads packed with small animals with specialized tasks in the colony.
Campbell’s Biology, albeit several editions back, was my bible in the 1st year of my degree.
Drawing Pentaceraster cumingi while listening to William Basinski.
At first glance, you would think you are staring at some hydroids or sponges. But what you are seeing is a transparent anatomy of a newly discovered nudibranch. It’s easy to see how such a unique slug avoided discovery until recently. The Melibe genus is unique in comprising of active predators versus the typical Nudibranch that feed on sessile inverts. Therefore, this transparent camouflage makes evolutionary sense.
Melibe colemani was first discovered by the late great underwater photographer, Neville Coleman. He passed away back in May of this year. He was an epic naturalist, underwater explorer, and an amazing photographer. While we as aquarists don’t usually specifically try to keep nudibranch unless we’re trying to get Berghia to graze some aiptasia but they really are cool marine animals. More details about the Nudi and its discoverer can be found here. A big thanks to Jim Walters for turning us on to this very cool sea slug.
Read more: http://reefbuilders.com/2012/11/09/melibe-colemani/