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Name: Paulo Emmanuel S.

Santos Course: Science, Technology, and


Society
Section: 1A17
Date: April 18, 2020

1. Based on the video, when did the following emerged?


a. Start of life – The video did not supplemented information regarding the first
organisms to ever live. But according to researches, scientists have discovered
unknown fossils of possibly one of the first traces of life in this planet. These
fossils were aged around 3.5 to 3.8 billion years old. (source: BBC)
b. Fishes – One of the earliest fish to be discovered was the Haikouichthys, which
emerged around 530 million years ago.
c. Reptiles – The first reptiles originates around 310 million years ago, and
according to the video, one of the firsts of its kind was the Dimetrodon (lived 300
million years ago).
d. Dinosaurs – Before the dinosaurs lived, therapsids first ruled the world. These
include the Gorgonops and Lystrosaurus. Dinosaurs started existing around 65 to
230 millions years ago, which was known to be the Mesozoic Period.
e. Australopithecus – These descendants of humans existed around 4 million years
ago.
2. If fish became amphibians through the process of evolution, then why do fish still
exist?

Based from the video, amphibians are animals that can both live in water and land.
Given that they have organs to help them breathe underwater, they also need limbs and
stronger bones to help them walk on land. It was said that fishes with these features
were the ones who evolved later on as amphibians. Meanwhile, other species of fish
remained to grow and evolve underwater, given the opportunities that their environment
has to offer. This gave way to the continuous existence of fishes until now.

3. Does evolution proceed toward increasing complexity? Why or why not?

I believe the evolution that happened, contributed to the rise of complex organisms or
complex features within these organisms. But with the evidence of complex organisms
and simpler organisms living together at present time, it only testifies that evolution
doesn’t automatically proceed toward increasing complexity. These simpler organisms
like bacteria, algae, and fungi, although have already existed a long time before, they
have proven that they still serve purpose because of the way they do the roles specific
to them. Without these organisms, which we consider to be the first organisms that
survived Earth even before it was substantial for even fishes to live in, we won’t have a
balanced environment.

4. What are the causes of extinction? In today’s time, what is the main cause?

Before, animals get extinct because of natural calamities since no complex organism
with a very developed brain has cause other ways for the extinction of other species.
Although it wasn’t clear yet why dinosaurs became extinct, some scientists firmly
believe that volcanic erruptions were the cause of such extinction. Other cause may be
because the organisms were prey to bigger and more dominant animals, or because of
mass deaths because of sickness. But in today’s time, the most common cause of
extinction for animals is mass hunting. People who destroy these animals’ habitats just
to acquire them or acquire a body part of them for their business deals, is such a
devastating thing to look at. Sadly, we are the main cause of their extinction.

5. Why did the passenger pigeons disappear?

The extinction of passenger pigeons is considered to be an anthropogenic extinction, or


the extinction due to human activities. Pigeon meat was marketed to be a very cheap
meat before. So, people would go hunting for massive scales just to meet the demands
of their customers. This was what happened to the passenger pigeons. It was sad to
think that they were so abundant before, but humans have managed to hunt every
single one of them. Until Martha, the last passenger pigeon to be recorded alive, died
on September 1, 1914 at the Cincinnati Zoo.

6. Why can the scientists possibly bring back the Wooly Mammoth but not the
dinosaurs? Explain your answer.
First of all, dinosaurs existed way back before the Wooly Mammoths reign the tundras
during the Ice Age. One component in attempting to resurrect extinct species is DNA.
According to some facts about this animal, a small population of their kind stil lived on
Wrangel Island until 1650 B.C., which means scientists can still get DNA from tissues
and fossils of Wooly Mammoths. Another reason is that scientists can’t find any closer
species of animals to dinosaurs when the cloning process is done. In the case of these
mammoths, they can use the DNA from an Asian Elephant.

7. What methods can we used to bring back extinct animals back to life? How will the
scientists do this?

Cloning is the most talked about method that scientists can use in order to bring back
extinct animals. Just like how the video narrated, first step is to collect DNA from the
extinct animal they’re planning to resurrect. They will cultivate this DNA and try to
perfect it until they can inject it to a healthy egg cell and bring life unto it. But since
perfecting the DNA takes time and we are restricted with the life span of DNA, we need
another process to speed up perfecting DNA. This is what precise genome editing is
about. It allows you to edit certain strands of the DNA that needs perfecting. After this,
you may now find certain animals that would carry this DNA and bring life to it, and
hopefully give birth to the new species of the previously extinct organisms.

8. Based on the video, what is de-extinction and how close are we in achieving this?

De-extinction is the process of bringing back life to a whole species of previously extinct
organism. Although we have news on this very promising event in the whole ecosystem,
bringing back life to one mammoth is not close to the true essence of de-extinction. It
calls for reviving thousands and thousands of mammoths. But instead of the mammoths,
some are suggesting that we should look into reviving other extinct animals. Some other
animals can be faster to de-extinct and given the means we have, we can be close to
achieving it.

9. How is DNA cloning related to de-extinction? How will the scientists do this for the
Wooly Mammoth? Explain your answer.
DNA cloning is the first step in trying to bring back extinct species. This DNA will carry
the genetic make up of the original species of Wooly Mammoths, which will transfer to
the new organisms of mammophants. Because they plan to make a hybrid of the Wooly
Mammoth and the Asian Elephant, a possible close relative of the extinct species. First
of all, scientists must get DNA from a real-life Wooly Mammoth. In this case, fossils from
a dead mammoth must be acquired and preserved. But without a perfect DNA to use,
they cannot proceed to the cloning process. But through breakthrough innovations like
CRISPR scientists can now edit and replace parts of the mammoth DNA that are not
perfect. Afterwards, an Asian elephant will be used to bring life to the egg cell containing
the edited DNA.

10. What are the ethical concerns of de-extinction? Give the problems that we may face
when this happened.

First of all, the process of editing DNA has been a debatable issue throughout the whole
field of biotechnology. Editing DNA can lead to unforeseeable mistakes that could affect
the safety of the organisms involved. Also, many religious organizations see a moral
violation because of experimenting on human embryos. Secondly, putting back random
extinct species of animals to their respective habitats may cause drastic changes to the
whole environment their living in. Having an understanding of each and every purpose
of the animals to the ecosystem is important in considering de-extinction. Because we
cannot risk bringing back life to random extinct animals just to pay the consequences of
it.

11. If you have the abilities and capacity to de-extinct any organism, what organism will
you bring back to life?

If I get to choose an animal to de-extinct, I would choose any animal that was endemic
here in the Philippines before it was declared extinct. Specifically, I would choose the
dugong or Philippine sea cows. I believe that giving the younger generation a chance to
see these animals living in our country would give them a sense of responsibility to
continue taking care of the environment so that no organism will be extinct anymore.
Also, it would be a great effect to our country’s biodiversity and in general, the health of
our ecosystem.

12. Are you in favor of de-extinction? Why or why not?

Personally, I am not in favor of de-extinction. As stated in the later part of the video,
there can be drastic changes connected to bringing back extinct species such as the
Wooly Mammoths. We must have a great understanding of the nature of the animal we
are trying to de-extinct, since we have to know their specific role in the ecosystem. I
believe that their time has passed in this world. But it doesn’t mean we won’t do
anything. Even if I am not in favor of de-extinction, I do believe that this serves as a
wake up call for all of us. That we must preserve whatever’s left in our ecosystem. We
must continue taking care of our environment and everything living in it. We must not be
selfish, because afterall, we are not the only ones living in this world.