As we all know, animals are going extinct all the time and that includes arthropods. Many scientist say that we could bring extinct species (like black rhinos, tigers etc.) back to life. I was wondering though: can the same thing happen for insects and other arthropods (like beetles, mantises, spiders)? If not, are there any other ways in which we can bring back recently extinct animals?

  • $\begingroup$ To my knowledge, black rhinos and tigers aren't extinct, at least not yet. Maybe you meant endangered? $\endgroup$
    – Neil
    Jul 31, 2018 at 7:56
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Arthropods are by far the most diverse phylum of animals; it's as if God dedicated 90% of His available time creating countless species of arthropods, and then rushed through all the other phyla in the remaining 10%. The loss of one species of mammals decreses biodiversity 10,000 times more than the loss of a species of beetle. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jul 31, 2018 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP There is a story, possibly apocryphal, of the distinguished British biologist, J.B.S. Haldane, who found himself in the company of a group of theologians. On being asked what one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of his creation, Haldane is said to have answered, “An inordinate fondness for beetles." $\endgroup$
    – Neil
    Jul 31, 2018 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Neil Several subspecies of the Rhinos and of Tigers have in fact gone extinction in the last couple of decades. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Jul 31, 2018 at 11:19
  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify how this is a question about worldbuilding, as opposed to a question concerning revitalization practices as we currently understand them. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jul 31, 2018 at 12:33

2 Answers 2


If anything, it should be easier for us to clone insects. I feel that there are two factors deciding our ability to clone organisms:

  1. Ability to find live gametes or other reproductive cells (for non-sexual reproduction). Mammoths and other big mammals do not have many reproductive cells and not as many fossils as there more insects at any time.

  2. Mammals are hard to clone because they have live births. Therefore, we have to ensure compatibility of the eggs of extinct creatures in bodies of current organisms.

There are legal concerns for the cloning insects though, as they tend to escape and destroy the environment, but from a scientific point of view, it is less hard than cloning mammals.

  • $\begingroup$ Why is this even the answer even thought it does not answer the question? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.J
    Aug 1, 2018 at 6:36

Cloning at this time is a complicated process but it consists of two possible methods, One is true cloning, and the other Genetic Engineering,

True Cloning

Again complicated but basically consists of removing the cell nucleus from an egg from a similar or same species, then removing the nucleus from a parent cell of the subject, and then inserting it into the egg, and intimating it in a surrogate parent.

South Korea all wanting to attempt to bring back the Woolly Mammoth using this method, but they haven't yet found an intact Cell to harvest. but if they find one they can place it inside an elephant egg and have the elephant carry the fetus to term. you need a similar species to carry it to term to avoid a lot of complications, there's still several but that's basically what they do.

That same South Korean team have been cloning rich people's dogs with this method...

So the question is could this be done for an insect... insects lay their eggs, they don't carry the offspring, so that might effect how many risks and complications could occur, but some of the complications arise due to incompatible parents. so perhaps insects would be easier.

However they would need a store of healthy cells with which to harvest, and a batch of eggs to inseminate.

Genetic Engineering

This is the second method that is being looked at for the Woolly Mammoth, scientists have been trying to activate genes in elephants to "make" one more like a Mammoth, they have been comparing it to partial segments of Mammoth DNA taken from frozen bodies. they hope to get an elephants DNA as close as possible in a lab before they attempt Embryo implantation. so its all theoretical for now.

Either of these options are current technology (or at least close to it) in the future I imagine it would be a similar process to Method one, but using an engineered cell from Method 2.


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