In case you haven’t heard of Dodo yet, it was a one meter tall, flightless bird that has extinted by the end of 17th century. Dodo has built a reputation to be a humble, kind and naive animal, completely harmless. Later it has become a symbol of national identity in Mauritius, a kind of synecdoche for the island and its relationship to its colonial past.

Ambitious plans of company Colossal Biosciences had attracted both investors and critics.
Over the past two years, this company has made headlines with it’s plans to genetically recreate members of two extinct species — the woolly mammoth and the Tasmanian tiger. Now the company added the third species to it’s de-extinction bucket list: the dodo bird.

“This announcement is really just the start of this project,” says Beth Shapiro, lead paleogeneticist and a scientific advisory board member at Colossal Biosciences. This will be a technically challenging project, as no one has yet managed to use gene-editing for birds in this way.



So, why go through all this effort?

Perhaps most significantly, this is a project driven by symbolism. “Restoring the dodo gives us the opportunity to create ‘conservation optimism,’ that hopefully inspires people around the globe, in a time when climate change, biodiversity loss and politics can make things seem hopeless.” says Ben Lamm, CEO and co-founder of Colossal. Looking at things this way, there is perhaps no better animal to de-extinct than the one most associated with human-caused extinction.