Let’s Discuss: Return of the Quagga

First of all, thanks to all who chimed in on the inside or outside sock debate. Trivial as it may seem, I loved reading everyone’s comments and it just brings to light one more personal way we equestrians differentiate ourselves! Today’s discussion falls mostly in the world of science and ethics- all regarding a lost equine called the Quagga.

"Quagga in enclosure" by Frederick York (d. 1903) - http://openlibrary.org/books/OL18018139M/Extinct_animals. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Quagga_in_enclosure.jpg#/media/File:Quagga_in_enclosure.jpg

“Quagga in enclosure” by Frederick York (d. 1903). Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

When I was a kid, I had this giant encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, which was my favorite possession ever. At the back of that book, it had a section on extinct animals, including the Quagga. I basically memorized this encyclopedia front to back (so much so that my second grade teacher called me Capybara, for my random outbursts of facts on overlarge rodents) to the point where it had to be bound together with duct tape. But the Quagga especially became a cool idea to me, and I remember it popping up in my schoolwork- for instance “create a new animal day” in second grade was a pegasus quagga.

So I found this article on CNN fascinating- a project to recreate the quagga through selective breeding of certain zebras.

"Agasse Quagga" by Jacques-Laurent Agasse - http://www.artprintcollection.com/p668184721/hD664CB2#hd664cb2. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Agasse_Quagga.jpg#/media/File:Agasse_Quagga.jpg

“Agasse Quagga” by Jacques-Laurent Agasse. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Can you imagine, a “new” species of equus, raised from the dead? Is it right for conservationists to try and return an extinct species to the earth? Is it OK if the project involves only breeding, and not cloning? Or should cloning be introduced to the project to right man’s wrong? Weigh in with your opinion!

For more information on the Quagga Project, visit their site here.

6 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: Return of the Quagga

  1. huh, inneresting. i’ve never really thought particularly deeply on the subject tho, so no idea about my opinions on the ethics of this type of project or long term implications….

  2. I tend to be quite liberal on the subject of cloning, etc., so I’m all about it! It would be cool to see some extinct animals living again. Although, let’s all make note to NOT create a RL Jurassic Park…. LOL

  3. This is a very interesting topic!!! I feel like the majority of the time when humans start to meddle with nature some not so great things tend to happen, but also some great things happen too- it really is a toss up and you don’t know what the outcome is until years down the road. Even with that I think it’s pretty cool that they’re trying to recreate the Quagga. If the original quagga was a cousin of the zebra it probably came about in a similar fashion but took a lot longer than now with selective breeding. Though if they could clone quagga’s you’d get a more true representation of the extinct animal vs selective breeding.

    Other questions that could be raised is why did the quagga go extinct and not the zebra? Did we just hunt quagga’s bc they were easier to spot or hunt? Had less numbers to begin with so couldn’t bounce back? Maybe humans just sped up the natural process but it was going to be an eventual extinction anyways.

    I really could write a really long comment about various thought processes on the quagga but I’m going to end here 😉 Love the topic though!!!

  4. This is great!! I see no ethical issues here. The guy in the video is correct, we will never bring back exactly what was lost, but just 4 or 5 generations of selective breeding have produced incredible results. Fascinating stuff, thanks for sharing 🙂

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