Scientists Bringing Zebra Cousin Back From Extinction
A group of scientists just outside Cape Town, South Africa are trying to bring a zebra species back from extinction through selective breeding. By studying DNA samples, scientists recently confirmed that the quagga, which went extinct in the late 1800s, was a sub-species of the plains zebra. Compared to the plains zebra, the quagga had fewer stripes on the lower half of its body. It also had a dark brown background. Through five generations of selective breeding, a handful of plains zebras now look similar to the extinct sub-species. The most quagga-like of these zebras will be placed on a separate reserve for further breeding. Critics of the project say that the scientists have merely changed the look of the animal, and have not taken into account any behavioural differences or ecological adaptations. The animals in this study have been named Rau Quagga, after Reinhold Rau, one of the scientists.