SCI­ENCE

Bring Back the King He­len Pilcher, Blooms­bury Sigma, $35

Sunday Territorian - - FRONTIER -

What if we could recre­ate ex­tinct an­i­mals in labs? In Bring Back the

King we learn this is not a fan­ci­ful ques­tion. It’s some­thing sci­en­tists all over the globe are try­ing to do. He­len Pilcher ex­plores the de­ex­tinc­tion of a va­ri­ety of an­i­mals, from res­ur­rect­ing di­nosaurs and do­dos all the way up to cloning Elvis Pres­ley. Tas­ma­nian tigers and the bizarre Queens­land gas­tricbrood­ing frog also get a nod. Pilcher doesn’t just want to know if this is fea­si­ble — she also asks whether it’s eth­i­cal. A lot of this re­search has the po­ten­tial to be con­tro­ver­sial, so she is care­ful to set out the pros and cons of each project and leave space for the reader to make up their own mind. The idea of de-ex­tinc­tion alone is fas­ci­nat­ing, but it’s the funny and en­gag­ing prose that makes this book a de­light­ful read. Verdict: fas­ci­nat­ing.

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