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Posts Tagged ‘ species ’

Have Scientists Learned How To Re-Create Extinct Species?


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Since the release of Jurassic Park we’ve been asking if de-extinction was possible.  Today however, we’ve come a huge step closer to bringing recently extinct species back to life. Researchers have announced that they’ve grown early-stage embryos of the gastric-brooding frog, a species that has been extinct since 1983.  At a TEDxDeExtinction event, University of New South Wales paleontologist Michael Archer announced the advance by the so-called Lazarus project. The bizarre gastric-brooding frog, the female of which incubated the prejuvenile stages of its offspring in its stomach, disappeared from the wild in 1979 and went extinct a few years later. However, Adelaide frog researcher Mike Tyler froze specimens of the frog prior to its extinction, leaving the door open for the species’ possible resurrection.

Scientists extracted DNA from a frozen frog specimen, and employed somatic-cell nuclear transfer, the same process used to clone still-living animals. The team took eggs from the distantly related great barred frog, deactivated that frog’s DNA with UV light, and inserted the gastric-brooding frog’s DNA into the eggs. The cells inside the eggs began dividing, becoming blastulas. The embryos died after a few days, long before developing into tadpoles, but DNA tests confirmed that they were gastric-brooding frog embryos, and Archer says they have high hopes for seeing this frog up and hopping soon.

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Breeding programs are in place to attempt to bring certain extinct species back through selective breeding, and some selective breeding has been successful, but this is the first time that the embryo of an extinct species has been grown using this technique.  However, lets not forget the Pyrenean ibex was technically the first cloned extinct animal because the clone was born (and unfortunately died) shortly after the species went extinct. The reason that the Lazarus project team is calling their frog the “first,” I believe, is that the DNA from the Pyrenean ibex was extracted from a live specimen, so the process began before the species went extinct.

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Mimic Octopus


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Of all the amazing octopus species out there, the mimic octopus,Thaumoctopus mimicus, is perhaps the most bewildering. While most known octopuses are able to change color and shape for camouflage, mimic octopuses can also impersonate other animals to deter would-be predators. They can contort their bodies and long, striped arms to look–and swim–like other (less edible) sea life, including lionfish, sole and banded sea snakes. These implausible creatures were only first discovered by scientists in the 1990s in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Since then, the mimic octopuses have been found in various waters around that island country, but not too much farther afield. They are generally active during the day but live primarily on obscuring sandy or muddy sea floors–down to about seven meters.

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But these odd octopuses have now made a confirmed appearance on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, more than 2,000 kilometers from where they were first described. Divers had reported sightings of these strange cephalopods in recent years, but Darren Coker, a researcher at James Cook University’s ARC Center for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, verified this species’ presence there, in a report published online earlier this month in Marine Biodiversity Records. This animal’s presence on the Great Barrier Reef also suggests that the reef itself is home to even more exotic animals that we previously imagined. The Great Barrier Reef may contain many more undocumented species from the Indo-Pacific region. But due to the limited familiarity…new species are going undocumented.

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Haerskogen By David Luepschen


Imagine you could just invent your own species? Well, David Luepschen has decided to do just that with his animated short, Haerskogen. Take a break. Take a walk through the woods with some his vector based animation.

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