We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Resurrection Ecology?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The term resurrection ecology is used to describe two distinct areas of practice. The first is the hatching of dormant eggs of a still living species at a previous stage of its evolution. The second is the act of bringing a subspecies back from extinction by introducing a related subspecies into the original environment, and letting it evolve naturally.

So far it is the first meaning of this term which has received the most attention in the popular and academic communities. Within the past few years a number of prominent biologists have written papers outlining their experiences and successes with this type of resurrection ecology.

Scientists find dormant eggs in a number of sustaining environments: extreme cold, lake beds, and even small sealed pockets in rock formations. These eggs, so far only of insects and plankton, are brought back to life and hatched in incubators. The results are astounding.

A type of zooplankton, Daphnia retrocurva, has caused the most buzz. Eggs of these tiny creatures have been found from nearly a hundred years ago, and when hatched, the creatures that emerge are distinctly different from the Daphnia retrocurva found today. It is a snapshot of evolution over time, and has helped resolve some long-standing debates in the field of evolutionary biology.

Perhaps even more exciting than the answers that have been discovered through resurrection ecology is one of its practical applications. A problem occurs in restoration work, when the species that originally inhabited a region have evolved so well to cope with the manmade intrusions that they are no longer viable in the restored environment.

Resurrection ecology offers an easy solution to this problem. Where dormant eggs are available, a "version" of the animal from the past can be brought back to life and reintroduced to the restored environment. It is as if we can roll back time, not only by rebuilding the pristine natural surroundings, but by transporting creatures from the past into the present.

The term resurrection ecology is also used to describe a different way of dealing with this same problem. When a subspecies becomes extinct, most often due to the loss of its only habitat, it may leave behind a number of related subspecies, adapted to survive in different environments.

If the original subspecies' habitat is restored, scientists can often use evolution in their favor to recreate the extinct subspecies. By finding a close relative in a slightly different environment, and transplanting that subspecies into the newly restored habitat, ideal conditions are generated to produce a nearly identical subspecies as that which was originally made extinct. While these "new" subspecies are not always exactly the same, the results can be close enough for it to appear to be a true resurrection.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.