C'mon, let's build a real Jurassic Park

Far from being contrary to science, standing on the “shoulders of geniuses” is precisely how science works. In fact, the phrase itself is a garbled quote from Issac Newton. Nature does not in fact select species for extinction (the most widespread theory for why the dinosaurs died out involves the earth being hit by an asteroid, not as the result of some kind of cosmic death panel). While you wouldn’t want to run into a velociraptor in the wild, modern zoos deal with a variety of dangerous and potentially deadly animals on a daily basis, and certain candidate species (such as the dodo bird) aren’t particularly dangerous. Restoring old species would not only provide enjoyable field trips for kids, but could potentially add greatly to the store of human knowledge, helping us understand more about the development of life and why certain species do or don’t survive.

More serious concerns are raised by the idea not simply of keeping resurrected creatures in zoos, but of reintroducing them into the wild. Introducing new species into an existing habitat can have unintended consequences, which deserve careful scrutiny.

But at a larger level, why are people so squeamishness about resurrecting extinct species when we take such extensive action to protect endangered ones?