Do Animals Ever Return from Extinction?

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once said that it's mostly loss that teaches us the value of things. Of course, there might also be a lot to learn if we regain something we thought we had lost.

In 2019, scientists were privy to just such an event: A silver-backed chevrotain, believed to have been extinct for years, was photographed in southern Vietnam. Not only did the discovery thrill researchers, but it gave rise to the promise of similar future finds.

"To the scientific world this was a lost species, but local people had known about it," Andrew Tilker, Asian Species Officer at Global Wildlife Conservation, said. "It was only by utilizing the local ecological knowledge that we were successful. That can be replicated for other species in other parts of the world."

Also known as the Vietnamese mouse deer, the sliver-backed chevrotain is the world's smallest hoofed animal, usually weighing less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg). They are also very shy, which helps explain why it took the help of local villagers and five months of waiting to get the little critter on film.

Insights into extinction:

  • It is estimated that extinction has claimed over 99 percent of all the animal species that have ever existed.

  • The United Nations has reported that at current rates of human activity, nearly 1 million species could be close to extinction.

  • The Pyrenean ibex is the only animal to be brought back from complete extinction: a clone created from frozen tissue lived for several minutes after being "born" in 2003.
More Info: CNN

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