Jurassic RoboZoo?

Just Weird – Technology has been taking over within every aspect of people’s lives, so why not include zoos into the mix? Cloned lions, tigers, and robotic animals are the future of zoos according to 21 zoo professionals and researchers at a conference held at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y earlier this year.

In something reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner for those of you who only saw the movie), the researchers agreed that the world is moving towards the eventual reality of robotic animals at zoos, however they had mixed feelings about whether it would work or not. Some thought that zoos filled with robotic animals would be “exciting,” while “others felt that no matter how realistic the models were, people wouldn’t be interested.”

In all honesty, with the rate of species extinctions happening on a daily basis, Robotic Zoos may soon be our only options of seeing these animals.

Leaving the discussion of robotics on the fence, one presentation discussed communicating with animals via brain waves, while another discussed a project that hopes to bring animals back from the dead via cloning. From the extinct Dodo bird, to the zebra relative the quagga, to a wooly mammoth!

“We should think about it now before the technology is perfected because if we think ahead about how we might use the technology, it might head us off from making mistakes,” Jeffrey Yule, a biologist at Louisiana Tech University said.

However both Yule and Michael Noonan, a biologist at Canisius College, agreed that “just because people may be able to bring back extinct animals doesn’t mean they should.” For instance, “the conference attendees thought that if an animal’s habitat no longer existed on Earth, they should not be revived only to have nowhere for them to live happily.”

“Animals should not be brought back just as curiosities,” Noonan said.

Some future changes we may see sooner than later do include keeping animals in zoos that better fit their climate and size. This means that African safari you had planned to see at a Midwest zoo may not happen.

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