Scientists want to resurrect the extinct Tasmanian tiger

Aug 20, 2022, 2:00 PM
A thylacine in captivity in the early 20th century. Credit: Popperfoto via Getty Images...
A thylacine in captivity in the early 20th century. Credit: Popperfoto via Getty Images

(CNN) — Where would we be without dreams?

It’s a question raised in the new Netflix fantasy drama “The Sandman,” based on a thought-provoking comic book series by Neil Gaiman that envisions human traits and experiences as anthropomorphic forms who exist within an unconventional family.

But the discussion of dreams is also something the CNN team encounters each week as we interview scientists and uncover the latest findings.

Dreams, so often, are at the root of what can make such scientific discoveries and advances possible.

These visionary thoughts pave the way for passion projects to become fact-finding explorations that create new knowledge. Dreams inspire us to ask questions and push the boundaries of possibility.

After all, as Gaiman wrote, “Dreams shape the world.”

Back to the future

It may be time for the Tasmanian tiger to walk the Earth once again.

A new complex project will combine gene editing, ancient DNA retrieval, artificial wombs and other technological advances to bring the striped carnivorous marsupial, which has been extinct for nearly 100 years, back to life.

Thylacines, as the creatures are officially known, disappeared from virtually everywhere except the Australian island of Tasmania about 2,000 years ago. There, humans who saw these coyote-size animals as livestock predators drove the species to extinction.

But the path to resurrecting an extinct animal like the Tasmanian tiger is not cut-and-dried.

Ocean secrets

Fish don’t tend to thrive in subzero waters, but scientists have discovered one species in the icy seas off Greenland that may be the ultimate survivor.

The variegated snailfish is tiny, but it has an unprecedented number of antifreeze proteins in its body. These naturally occurring proteins prevent large ice grains from forming in the cells and body fluids of the Arctic fish.

What’s more, the snailfish is the only known polar fish to have biofluorescence, a phenomenon that allows it to glow in green and red.

But time may be running out for this impressive little creature, which has adapted to live in an environment that is rapidly warming.

Defying gravity

The Artemis I launch is days away — and now, we have a passenger list.

The goal of the Artemis program’s inaugural mission isn’t to carry humans through deep space.

Instead, three mannequins, Snoopy and Shaun the Sheep will board the Orion spacecraft stacked atop the mega rocket that rolled out to the launchpad this week ahead of a scheduled liftoff on August 29.

This motley crew will enjoy the view as they fly around the moon. The flight will also carry more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of mementos from Earth.

Want to feel a little more connected to exciting space events? You could help name exoplanets that the James Webb Space Telescope will observe or chat with astronauts on the International Space Station via an amateur radio station, like this lucky 8-year-old did.


Wonder Theory readers likely know of the main culprit that caused dinosaurs to die out — a city-size asteroid that struck off the coast of Mexico 66 million years ago, leading to the mass extinction of most of the life on Earth.

Now, researchers have uncovered another large impact crater 248 miles (400 kilometers) off West Africa — and it formed around the same time.

The underwater crater is 5 miles (8 kilometers) across and shows the hallmarks of an impact by an asteroid more than 1,300 feet (about 400 meters) wide when it slammed into our planet.

The newly discovered Nadir crater could change how we understand the downfall of the dinosaurs.

Once upon a planet

The ancient monkey puzzle trees of Patagonia have scaly branches and spiny leaves that evolved as a defense against long-necked dinosaurs that once munched on them.

Now, scientists consider these evergreen survivors from the Jurassic era endangered. Fires, overgrazing and logging have diminished the forest where the towering trees grow.

The tree’s large pine nuts are a favorite food of austral parakeets as well as the Indigenous Mapuche people of Chile and Argentina — and both could help the evergreens survive.

Seeds discarded by the parakeets and the replanting of seeds by the Mapuche are providing a brighter future for the Araucaria trees.


There’s more to see:

— Encased within a thick ice shell, Jupiter’s moon Europa has a global ocean where underwater snow may float upward, new research has found.

— Explore weird and wonderful creatures featured in winning photos from the BMC Ecology and Evolution image competition.

— Read if you dare: A new project has revealed manuscripts up to 1,000 years old that showcase some of the bizarre medical remedies recommended during the medieval era.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Tyre Nichols Protests...
Nouran Salahieh, Jamiel Lynch, Chuck Johnston, Shawn Nottingham, Andy Rose and Phil Gast, CNN

More protests today after release of video depicting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols

Protesters across the US heldmarches & rallies on Saturday, one day after the release of video showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.
1 day ago
Temperatures dropping weather worsens...
Allison Chinchar, CNN Meteorologist

‘Dangerous’ arctic air returns this weekend after a month-long hiatus

What has been a mild start to 2023 will come to a halt this weekend as winter makes a roaring comeback across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.
1 day ago
Video footage of a traffic stop that led to the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols shows "acts that def...
Travis Caldwell, Jay Croft, Eric Bradner and Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN

Memphis releases video showing police stop that led to Tyre Nichols’ death

Editor’s note: This article contains graphic descriptions of violence. (CNN) — The city of Memphis has released police body camera and surveillance video showing the January 7 traffic stop and violent police confrontation that led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. During the initial encounter between Nichols and Memphis police, an officer can be seen […]
2 days ago
File**People walk past the entrance to a Bed Bath & Beyond retail store along Sixth Avenue in N...
Paul R. La Monica and Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Bed Bath & Beyond says it can no longer pay its debts

The end could be near for struggling retailer Bed Bath & Beyond, as it warned in a regulatory filing Thursday that it received a notice of default from its lender, JPMorgan Chase.
2 days ago
Five former Memphis police officers who were fired for their actions during the arrest of Tyre Nich...
Travis Caldwell and Jay Croft, CNN

‘You’re going to see acts that defy humanity,’ police chief says of Tyre Nichols video

Police also have not been able to find anything that's substantiated the probable cause for reckless driving by Nichols before his fatal encounter with police, she said.
2 days ago
Havasu Falls spills into the water pools below in Supai, Arizona, in October of 2016. Photo credit:...
Forrest Brown, CNN

Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls to reopen to visitors after 3-year closure

 (CNN) — Havasu Falls, one of the most intriguing features of the Grand Canyon system, will be reopening to visitors after a three-year closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s with a catch. The reopening is scheduled for February 1; however, access will be limited initially to a certain, small group. People whose previous […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Scientists want to resurrect the extinct Tasmanian tiger