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Criteria Checklist

Can a particular extinct species be revived? Should it be? The answers are never simple, because they have to come from weighing an array of considerations. This interactive tool offers a way to examine a range of criteria simultaneously and to compare species in terms of how the criteria apply differently to them. (Note that the criteria listed here are a small sample of the many that must ultimately be examined.) The Criteria Checklist is intended to be provocative and to engender public engagement and critical thinking on the topic of de-extinction.The criteria fall into a logical sequence. Is de-extinction technically possible—can the extinct genome potentially be revived? Then, could a revived population of the extinct species realistically make its way through captive breeding to return to the wild. Finally, do we really want the species back?

Select a Species Above
About This Section
1IS DE-EXTINCTION SCIENTIFICALLY POSSIBLE FOR THIS SPECIES? Comments
Has it been extinct less than 800K years?
Is there enough DNA for sequencing?
Is there a closely-related species to use for reference?
Could this "relative" be used for producing offspring?
Is De-extinction Scientifically Possible?
About This Section
2COULD THIS SPECIES FLOURISH IN THE WILD? Comments
Does it have sufficient habitat to thrive?
Could it be bred successfully in captivity?
Without its natural parents can behavior be conditioned?
Can it be well-managed in the wild?
Have the original causes of extinction been resolved?
Can new extinction threats be managed?
About This Section
3SHOULD THIS SPECIES BE REVIVED? Comments
Is society receptive to its revival?
Does it offer potential economic or other societal benefits?
Can adequate animal welfare be ensured?
Will its reintroduction benefit other species?
Is it of unique significance to science?
Does it play a significant ecological role?
Is this a good candidate for de-extinction?

Our Rating System

To answer the question “Is this a good candidate for de-extinction?,” we have applied a very simplistic formula:
Any candidate that receives a “No” in Section 1 does not proceed to sections 2 or 3.

For all other candidates, the final calculation that is used is based on having answered 9 or more of the 16 questions with a “Yes” or a “Maybe.” Therefore, more than 50% of the answers of that type (“Yes” or “Maybe”) will result in that determination.