« Staying Alive | Main | Using the Web to Identify Birds »

Questions for the Future

2057 ebirdseed header.jpg
Greetings to the Earth Ornithological Commission,

Rumor has it that it's a rainy March day down there on Cape Cod terra firma. (At least it's better than last year - 2056 was a snow bear!) But up here in the Lunar Post II we suffer thru a slightly more diverse "climate"... Temps run 220R to 650R (that's -230F to 200F for you carbon dateables). The moonscape never changes, though the earthrise is always stunning. Still, there are obviously no birds, and that's a hole. (BTW, for the family friend... Please relay to "Grandpa Gordon" that his ancient pink flamingo lawn ornament plunked askew in gray lunar dust beams the Sea Tranquility!)

Anyway, this is our third rotation, and we'll be back soon. 'Til then, the perfunctory "Future Bird DNA Project" aka the ("Aves Genesis Project") summary follows. Please pass amongst appropriately. (Also pass along that the idea of team isolation as a conduit to creative thinking knarls!)

Here's some history and how it bears upon these current lunar "revelations" (pun intended).
  • Way back in 1996, humans cloned the first mammal, a sheep named "Dolly". (BTW... Dolly was cloned from a mammary cell from the six-year-old "identical-to-be twin". Dolly was named after the old country western singer Dolly Parton. Think about it...) But that was a watershed moment in that it marked the first time humans actually messed with the stuff of genetics on the "Big Scale". They almost got it right, except that the cells used to clone Dolly were six years old, and Dolly was born genetically six years old. Doh! But we got around that; we learned.
  • In 2003, the human genome project was complete. In the 25 years that followed, the genome maps for a full two thirds of the birds made extinct by the hand of humans were recreated. Ditto for other long-gone creatures.
  • In 2028 (thanks to the brilliance of genetic engineers and advanced genetics technology), a woolly mammoth was successfully cloned. And then the race was on to resurrect every modern critter species ever reduced to dust! For the sake of this report, a full 100 extinct bird species have been reborn. There were "Doh!s" to be sure. (My fave was the dodo we rebuilt in the image presented by Roelant Savery (see below)... Remember? The bird we rebuilt with two left feet, and all it could do was walk in right-hand circles! What a riot!) But we did get that straight too. Now the dodos flourish.

    dodo_USE_THIS_ONE.jpg
And that's where the history lesson ends, and the summary of this report really begins. Because we had some or all of their DNA, we've "gene-patched" and "gene-spliced" and cloned 100 species of birds that we wiped out long ago. But another 50 species remain in genetic obscurity. We have paintings of them. We have descriptions, specs, scientific classifications... But we don't have any of their DNA. And that's the crux of the proposed "Aves Genesis Project".

Should humans rebuild bird species from scratch, just like God?


It is our unanimous opinion that humans need to undo the damage that they've done. Yes, there will be more "Doh!s" (To borrow from that ancient comic Woody Allen, we may indeed try to build a bird and end up creating something with the "body of a crab and the head of a social worker".) But in the long run (as Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) notes in that classic movie Jurassic Park) "Life finds a way."

See you by the passenger pigeon feeders,

CapeCodAlan iii
Bookmark and Share

Comments

Yes! Finally someone writes about mammoth clone.

Thanks for the readership!!! Glad you enjoyed...

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)