The Cost Of De-Extinction: Animals Scientists Are Spending Millions On To Bring Back

By Melvin G March 25, 2024

In a bold exploration of genetic science and conservation, researchers are embarking on ambitious projects to resurrect extinct animals. Among the species under consideration are the woolly mammoth, saber-toothed tiger, river dolphin, quagga, and dodo bird. These endeavors represent a significant investment of resources and a hopeful frontier in the realm of genetic engineering.

Courtesy of Thomas Quine, Wikimedia, CC BY 2.0

Woolly Mammoth

The woolly mammoth, a colossal herbivore equipped with long, curved tusks and a thick, woolly coat, thrived during the last ice age. Recent advancements in genetic technology, coupled with the recovery of well-preserved mammoth remains, have paved the way for potential resurrection efforts. Scientists from Kindai University, Japan, have dedicated over $10 million to this project, aiming to bring back these majestic creatures to their once-frozen habitats.

Saber-Toothed Tiger

The saber-toothed tiger, characterized by its long, curved canine teeth, was a formidable predator during the Pleistocene era. Fossil evidence suggests it hunted large mammals like mammoths and sloths. With over $2 million invested in genetic engineering projects, efforts are underway to revive this iconic predator and reintroduce it to ecosystems where it once roamed.

River Dolphin

River dolphins, known for their distinctive long snouts and echolocation abilities, once thrived in freshwater habitats around the world. However, the loss of species like the Yangtze River dolphin highlights the urgent need for conservation efforts. Despite significant challenges, researchers continue to raise funds and awareness to revive these intelligent and adorable aquatic mammals.


The quagga, a striking zebra with stripes only on its front half, roamed the plains of South Africa before its extinction in the 19th century. Conservation efforts led by Capetown University have been underway since 2016, with funding ranging from $6 to $8 million. By utilizing DNA from preserved skins and employing advanced genetic techniques, scientists aim to resurrect this beautiful creature and restore it to its native habitat.

Courtesy of Hogyncymru-The Standard Library of Natural History: Vol. 1/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Dodo Bird

The dodo bird, a flightless species native to Mauritius, became extinct in the late 17th century due to human activities. However, scientists from the University of Kent are leading a $6 million project to resurrect this iconic bird through genetic recombination with its closest living relatives. Standing as a symbol of human-induced extinction, the dodo’s revival underscores the importance of conservation efforts to preserve endangered species and ecosystems.

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