Last week a team of Japanese scientists announced that they would begin trying to clone a woolly mammoth, effectively bringing the beast back from extinction and making normal elephants seem really lame. Mammoths are cool, granted. But they're soooo cliché. Here are five extinct animals that would be way better to clone back from the dead than a woolly mammoth.
(Thylacinus cynocephalus), extinct for 80 years: The Tasmanian tiger, Tasmanian wolf, or thylacine was the largest carnivorous marsupial on earth until the last one died in captivity in 1936. Though the dog-sized creature had a reputation as the chupacabra of Australia, killing sheep and looking scary, it became one of the region's most famous creatures, and can now be seen on both the old Tasmanian coat of arms and on its new tourist-friendly logo.
3. Dodo (Raphus cucullatus), extinct for 323 years: The dodo is the poster species for what happens when dumb-ass humans come to a place where a small, isolated population of fragile creatures is living and ruins everything. The birds, which lived on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, were flightless and without the slightest fear of humans. Their only saving grace seemed to be their oft-mentioned horrible taste, which saved some from a few butchers' cleavers, but not from the rabid dogs, pigs, and diseases that explorers brought to the island when they began colonizing it in the 17th century.
2. Saber-Toothed Cat (Barbourofelidae, Smilodon, etc.), extinct for at least 11,000 years: Let's be honest, a massive cat with fangs the size of traffic cones is way cooler than a hairy, slow-ass mammoth. The saber-toothed cat, which includes several species of large-toothed felines, once ranged on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. They could weigh anywhere from a hundred pounds or so to more than 1,200 pounds, depending on their species, and have more than earned their place as a common theme among animated superheroes.
1. Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis), extinct for 130,000 years: If you're gonna go ahead and play God by bringing back long-extinct animals with cloning, you might as well go for the gold. The Neanderthal is mankind's most famous fuck-up. And bringing it back to life in clone form would not only help scientists understand more about humans, it would likely give a large portion of modern humans someone to better relate to.