Easter is historically a festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after His crucifixion, when, on the third day after His death, He was alleged to have risen again and lived on. Some say that the festival itself predates Christianity and actually has its roots in the worship of Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love, war, fertility, and sexuality, though there is little evidence to support this theory. It is also said to be linked to a pagan festival dedicated to the worship of Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, though solid verification of this fact is also as elusive as the Easter Bunny.
Extinction forms a natural part of the cycle of life. Around 50 million species currently exist on our planet but scientific research has indicated that, since life evolved on Earth, between 1 and 4 billion species could have blossomed into being only to die out and ultimately become extinct.
How to stop the illegal poaching that is killing off some horned animals? Make it legal!
In the March 25th edition of the Guardian, Edna Molewa reports that South Africa’s environmental affairs minister if backing a radical proposal to legalize the international trade in rhino horn as a means of shutting down the black market and saving the threatened species. Almost 700 rhinos were killed in South Africa last year.
Scientists are trying to bring extinct species back from the dead. Will they recreate something dangerous?
In the March 19th edition of the New York Times, Gina Kolata quotes geneticist George Church as saying, "Maybe we can no longer delay death, but we can reverse it."
So far only one extinct species has been brought back: A goat-like creature that went extinct in 1999. In 2003, it was cloned from frozen cells, but it lived only a few minutes. Cloning needs an intact cell, which, in an extinct species, may not exist. If it works, the embryo must be implanted in a closely related species.