Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Reselective Pressure

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I feel guilty about the Dodo's extinction. I think it looked like a hilarious bird that I personally would like to meet. To accomplish this, I suggest getting an animal that is physically (possibly genetically) similar to the dodo, and selecting the animals that look most like the dodo. Then breed these animals together. Do the same with each generation and won't you get an animal that is very very close to the dodo? Of course, this is not specific to dodos; it could apply to any animal really. And obviously the closer an animal already is to the target, the fewer generations it will take to produce the target animal.
pooduck, Jan 12 2005

Fancy pigeons http://zaheerminhas.tripod.com/
"I am a bird breeder by nature." [bungston, Jan 13 2005]

Tiger Horse breeding http://www.tigrehor...PHY/philosophy.html
[FarmerJohn, Jan 14 2005]

The Quagga Project http://media1.mweb....aggaproject/faq.htm
"Q: Could selective breeding be used to re-breed other extinct animals? A: Yes, but only if the extinct animal was of the same species (gene pool) as still-living close relatives..." [FarmerJohn, Jan 14 2005]


       You'll never get the exact same target animal, only an approximation - any behavioral nuances will be lost forever, including selective preferences (possibly one of the most important and mis-understood aspects of evolution) - then you've got the problem of re-introducing a 'new' species back into an environment - an environment that killed it off last time. What's changed to give the 'dodo' a break this time round?   

       Due to the loss of behavioral and selective preferences, your animal will only look like the lost species and will start diverging away from this ideal as soon as you introduce it into the wild.
zen_tom, Jan 12 2005

       Wasn't the dodo killed by people? The main difference is that there aren't any mad Spaniards running around with weaponry trying to brutalise the poor creatures ( as far as I know). And any animal continues to diverge in the wild anyway doesn't it?
pooduck, Jan 12 2005

       Yes but they diverge according to their innate selection criteria that has evolved alongside their bodily proportions.   

       A radical example, peacocks have big tails because peahens lick peacocks with big tails. Dodo's, T-Rexes and other creatures would have other preferences that would have evolved over time that help (or hinder) their continuing evolution.   

       Breeding programs would introduce a foreign set of preferences that may not have existed in the original beasts that might negatively (or I suppose, positively) effect the long-term viability of the creature - either way, to quote Tyler Durden; 'Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken'   

       We know that breeding programs in dogs and cattle can introduce 'features' that would make those animals unviable without man's husbandry.   

       The example of the Dodo is a good one because they died out after the introduction of men, pigs and rats into their eco-system. Men, pigs and rats still exist in that eco system and breeding a race of comedic-looking birds from 18th century illustrations isn't going to make them any more capable of coping with the same threats the second time round. It's more likely the pigs and rats did more harm to the dodo than any number of frothing Spaniards (unless you count the Spaniard's introduction of rats and pigs to the island).   

       I guess the idea could be possible, but in addition to physical proportions, you would also have to take intelligence and behaviour into account in your breeding scheme.
zen_tom, Jan 12 2005

       Well for example, if the dodos were selectively bred from, say, eagles, they would have the physical appearance of dodos with the innate character of eagles. They would therefore be better suited to survive in this rat infested human ridden environment.   

       Would it be possible to breed personality and character into animals?
pooduck, Jan 12 2005

       Yes that's right - but an Eagle that's not able to fly, or have the speed to catch it's prey might end up releasing it's frustrated instincts on members of its own community. Once again, game over dodo.   

       Personality (of sorts) is already bred into attack-dogs, so yes.   

       It's a hugely complex process, and one that wouldn't necessarily have any chance of success in the wild.   

       You could do it and populate zoos with interesting animals.
zen_tom, Jan 12 2005

       And peachicks like chickpeas.
FarmerJohn, Jan 13 2005

       Damn those freudian typos!
zen_tom, Jan 13 2005

       I feel pretty bad for Flores Man as well. But I kinda doubt the usefulness of any reappearance. Cool pets? I just dunno
JungFrankenstein, Jan 13 2005

       // You could do it and populate zoos with interesting animals //   

       A nice, wacky idea, and feasible too! When you look at all the different crazy breeds of dogs that there are, it’s quite hard to believe that they are all descendants of one type of wolf.   

       We could have a zoo exhibiting all kinds of bonkers animals. We could even go so far as to artificially select the weirdest looking humans. My descendants will delight in seeing sausage-humans, spring-heeled jacks, and the much talked about Homo backwardbendus. Who knows, my descendants may well be the very sausage humans I speak of!
spiritualized, Jan 13 2005

       [Spritiualized] - I'm not entirely sure what a sausage human would look like... I'm not entirely sure I want to know.
pooduck, Jan 13 2005

       People already do breed fancy pigeons, which is essentially what a dodo was. I have not heard of trying to breed animals to appear like extinct animals, so I guess this is a new idea.
bungston, Jan 13 2005

       Unless one reads about the Tiger Horse or the Quagga (see links).
FarmerJohn, Jan 14 2005

       But the Tiger Horse people are trying to breed a horse similar in appearance... this idea is about completely recreating the target animal (or as near as possible) or about adapting it for other purposes.
pooduck, Jan 14 2005

       IN the time it'll take to run through 100 generations of progressively sillier looking pigeons, we'll probably be able to recover enough DNA from the few remains of dodos, build a genome and clone the buggers.
Basepair, Feb 24 2005

       but then we wouldn't have lots of silly looking pigeons.
brodie, Feb 25 2005

       I think that was the plan. And in any case, they're supposedly good eating.
Basepair, Feb 25 2005

       There is a benefit to this idea, beyond the idea of "reintroducing" species to ecosystems, and that is that if this plan FAILS, then we are precisely where we are now in terms of the dodo population. Nothing, except perhaps time, is lost.   

       And we waste time on frivolous projects every day. And money, too. No big loss if money is spent, because it just goes into the economy. And no big loss if time is spent, because it keeps scientists off of the streets and out of science gangs and what not.   

       And no big loss if the New Dodo doesn't survive, because we wouldn't be having this conversation if the Old Dodo still existed.   

       Worst-case, this has a net value of zero.
shapu, Feb 25 2005


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