Resurrecting an Extinct Tiger, With Help From Chris Hemsworth and Paris Hilton

The startup Colossal wants to reverse extinction, and celebrities are sold on the project

An engraving of the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, which Colossal Biosciences is hoping to bring back from extinction with funding from Chris Hemsworth and Paris Hilton
The Tasmanian tiger was declared extinct in the 1930s. Now, scientists are trying to bring them back.
mikroman6 via Getty

If you’ve seen Jurassic Park, you know that this is maybe a bad idea, but humans were always going to do it anyways. 

Colossal Biosciences, a Dallas-based company, announced this week that it’s beginning work on resurrecting the Tasmanian tiger (formally known as the thylacine), which went extinct in the 1930s, in order to combat biodiversity loss in Australia. 

But they’re not stopping there. Colossal is also attempting to resurrect the woolly mammoth, a goal that made waves when it was announced last September, and they’re going to do so with funding from high-profile celebrities like Paris Hilton and the Hemsworth brothers. 

As Bloomberg reports, the process will entail taking cells from the thylacine’s “closest living relatives, like the dunnart, and genetically engineer[ing] them with thylacine DNA.” As Andrew Pask, an evolutionary biologist heading up the initiative at Colossal, explained, “You’re actually putting all of those genomic changes into that living cell, and then in the end, you are left with a cell that is a thylacine cell, and you can turn that cell then back into a whole living animal.”

While it’s not certain that resurrecting extinct species will be totally beneficial to the world (or if getting the DNA of an extinct animal will even work), as unaffiliated paleontologist Michael Archer said to Bloomberg, “Extinct animals will definitely stay extinct if we don’t try these things.”

The celebrity backers, of course, seem to think it’s for the best. “The Tassie Tiger’s extinction had a devastating effect on our ecosystem,” actor Chris Hemsworth said in a statement, “and we are thrilled to support the revolutionary conservation efforts that are being made by Dr. Pask and the entire Colossal team.” 

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.