Biologists briefly brought the extinct Pyrenean ibex back to life in 2003 by creating a clone from a frozen tissue sample harvested before the goat's entire population vanished in 2000. The clone survived just seven minutes after birth, but it gave scientists hope that "de-extinction," once a pipedream, could become a reality.
Ten years later, a group of researchers and conservationists gathered in Washington, D.C., Friday (March 15) for a forum called TEDxDeExtinction, hosted by the National Geographic Society, to talk about how to revive extinct animals, from the Tasmanian tiger and the saber-toothed tiger to the woolly mammoth and the North American passenger pigeon.
Though scientists don't expect a real-life "Jurassic Park" will ever be on the horizon, a species that died a few tens of thousands of years ago could be resurrected as long as it has enough intact ancient DNA.
Some have their hopes set on the woolly mammoth, a relative of modern elephants that went extinct 3,000 to 10,000 years ago and left behind some extraordinarily well preserved carcasses in Siberian permafrost. Scientists in Russia and South Korea have embarked on an ambitious project to try to create a living specimen using the DNA-storing nucleus of a mammoth cell and an Asian elephant egg - a challenging prospect, as no one has ever been able to harvest eggs from an elephant. (Image Gallery: Bringing Extinct Animals Back to Life)