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ince the age of early colonization, humans have invaded lands that were secluded from other humans, but not animals. Many animals that are now extinct had very pretentious lifestyles, in other words, they could only exist in certain locations, sadly they cannot adapt as humans can. It would not be a problem if humans were able to coexist with such rare species of animals, but everywhere we go, we need to make changes according to our “needs” which would be better described as wants.

A defenseless species

The first species that humanity managed to get rid of was the famous Dodo bird which only existed in the Islands of Mauritius, secluded from both humans and other animals that could be perceived as predators. It is said that since its genesis, the Dodo bird knew nothing about predators, as it was never hunted until humans came to Mauritius.

The islands of Mauritius were colonized by France, Britain, and the Netherlands during the 17th century. It is said that in the same century, the last Dodo bird gave its last breath. Many of the colonizers had the Dodo birds killed for food as there wasn’t much wildlife to eat around the islands. Many of them ended up dying as their home was vastly changed by colonizers, with many of the trees and plants being chopped away to make space for houses and other buildings.

Paleontologist Julian Hume from the National Museum of History in Great Britain says that it wasn’t the consumption of the Dodo bird which led to its extinction, but the exploitation that the islands had been subjected to that simply made the habitat unbearable for the Dodo birds to live in.

Invading the wildlife

At the same time, many paleontologists argue that the Dodo bird wasn’t the first species to be extinct due to humans, we started doing this a long time ago, about 125,000 years ago. This is when the Homo sapiens (our closest ancestors) started to migrate from Africa and Asia to the rest of the world, causing many defenses and pretentious species such as the Dodo bird to go extinct. Maybe this planet was only made for animals and we are the only intruders probably seen as aliens to the animal kingdom.

This can also be seen in the high number of fossils found in America as well as Europe compared to the very small number of fossils found in Africa and Asia. This is because most Homo sapiens migrated and invaded wildlife habitats. Another reason for eliminating certain species was due to the danger they posed to humans. That is the reason many species of giant animals that for us now are like legends have gone extinct. When creating a new home in an unknown habitat, Homo sapiens had to make sure that “their” habitat was safe from any predators that seemed a major threat or a concern. Even from other Homo sapiens, we as humans never put ourselves as the potential problem, but everything that surrounded us.

Trying to bring extinct species back

Scientists and researchers are working in accordance with paleontologists to bring some of these extinct species back to life. One of these programs is called the “De-extinction” which is specifically looking to bring lost wildlife back. The major problem faced by scientists is that many of the natural habitats that are suitable for these extinct species have been long destroyed or occupied. This as well as finding some preserved remains of the species so that the DNA can be taken.

The preserved head of a Dodo bird (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

This program is also focused on bringing back the dodo bird through surrogate parenting which is combining DNA from an extinct species with a species that exist and that is very similar. Even with today’s technological advancements, this is still a long shot.

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