DailyDirt: Playing With Biological Fire By Reviving Ancient Organisms

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Life has existed on the Earth for a pretty long time, perhaps longer than you might imagine. Biology seems pretty resilient, though, there have been five major mass extinctions (the last of the five killed off the dinosaurs) — and at least 20 total mass extinction events over the last half billion years or so. Maybe we’re working on the sixth major extinction event by messing around with nuclear weapons or the Large Hadron Collider. Or perhaps we’ll bring back something from the past that we’ll regret. Here are a few of examples of ancient organisms that we might not want to revive.

If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Playing With Biological Fire By Reviving Ancient Organisms”

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the truth says:

Re: Re: If Frozen Bugs Were Capable Of Infecting Humans ...

I believe it will be the other way around for sure! That wooly mammoth would die from the common cold today but I believe its less likely that would have something that would bother us. Or both but most defiantly the other way around. Examples of such can be found today so this is pretty certain

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: If Frozen Bugs Were Capable Of Infecting Humans ...

“The possible threat here is that modern human immune systems may not be prepared…”

Yeah, maybe. On the other hand, the human immune system has been fighting the descendants of these creatures, i.e., millions of generations of the ever-more specifically evolved and competent microbial attackers. It’s more likely that the upteenth precursor ancestral critter is just plain outclassed by the contemporary human immune system. Additionally, ancient beasties likely have little or no resistance to even old, current relatively less effective drug agents.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

To paraphrase an old saying

It’s not safe to fool with Mother Nature!

She killed off these life forms for a reason – like to give us a chance. And she will probably kill us off as well to give the next candidate for king of the earth a chance to do better / smarter than us… Generally, evolution is a slow process, but sometimes change is mind-numbingly quick!

Thorsten Roggendorf (user link) says:

The sixth extinction

The sixth extinction is in full progress and it don’t need no nukes. It is not even a modern phenomenon. Apparently African fauna had time to adapt to human hunting pressure but once humans left Africa we built a traceable path of destruction. Obviously we came back to Africa with better gear and made ends meet there, too.
The phenomenon of the sixth extinction is known at least since the mid nineties when Leaky and others wrote a book about it. The extinction rate is on par with the 5 great extinctions since the cambrian explosion (half a billion years ago) and it currently looks like the total extinction ratio will be among the worst of these six events.
Personally I believe the problem is at least equally grave as climate change the latter is the much better brand, though.

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