With movies like Jurassic Park, people have long been exposed to the idea of extinct species being brought back to life. Fiction is the basis upon which new ideas and inventions thrive, and sometimes scientists attempt to replicate processes and tools featured on TV.
In recent years, and with the ever-increasing confidence our technological and scientific advancements provide, some wild experiments have taken flight. One of these is ‘The Quagga Project.’
Founded in 1987 by Reinhold Rau, this endeavor was created in hopes of reviving a South African animal called the quagga. The method by which the team planned to do this wasn’t like what you might have seen in sci fi movies, however. When Rau took a sample from the hide of a taxidermied quagga and studied the DNA, he discovered that it was a sub-species of the common plain zebra.
Using selective breeding, his research team has been working to “re-create” the quagga species. Rau passed away in 2006, but the project is still in motion. By breeding zebras that possess the striping unique to the quagga, each generation looks more like the extinct species. With it’s light brown hide and half-striped coat, it looks like a cousin to the zebra. Its call is known to sound like the word ‘quagga,’ hence the species’ name.
Its extra qualities are truly extraordinary, which explains why scientists are so eager to bring it back. If the project is successful, the cousins of zebras may one day be free to roam the plains of South Africa once again.
Resource and Image Credit:
Quagga Project. “The Quagga Revival South Africa.” Universiteit Stellenbosch University.