Extinction Now! (S/F)

Extinction Now! is an American non-governmental anti-GMO lobbyist organization whose mission is to oppose the rights of genetically-engineered organisms and advocate for their immediate extermination. The organization has a fairly small presence despite having existed for years, though it briefly operated a Twitter account and website (the site has expired and no longer exists). They are apolitical, with voices coming from both the environmentalist and anti-science sides of the genetic engineering controversy. However, its methods and arguments are highly reactionary in nature, placing Extinction Now! on the conservative side of the political spectrum.

The organization is mostly known for its moment of fame in 2018 when it vociferously opposed the Dinosaur Protection Group during the Mount Sibo controversy. Extinction Now! made efforts to sway public opinion in favor of doing nothing, permitting the eruption of the volcano to destroy Isla Nublar‘s ecosystem including the de-extinct organisms that lived there. On June 22, the United States government announced that it would go through with the non-action policy, though Extinction Now! was not explicitly named as a contributor to this decision. Non-governmental action was taken to keep the animals from becoming extinct, and Extinction Now! has fallen out of the public eye since.

1972-1985: A background on genetic engineering

At the moment most of the history of Extinction Now! is not known, but they have existed and advocated for a number of years. Genetic engineering, the subject of their consternation, was first practiced in the 1970s, beginning with the creation of the first recombinant DNA in 1972. American chemist Paul Berg combined genes from the lambda phage (Enterobacteria phage λ) and simian vacuolating virus 40. A year later, Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen created the world’s first lab-made transgenic organism, an Escherichia coli bacterium with antibacterial resistance genes inserted into its plasmid. Then, a year after that, the first transgenic animal was created: a genetically-modified mouse with a DNA virus inserted into its genome in the embryonic stage by Beatrice Mintz and Rudolf Jaenisch.

These early advances were quickly met with controversy. Concerns were first addressed in detail at the 1975 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA in the United States. Paul Berg, the first scientist to perform genetic engineering, held the conference himself to discuss biosafety practices and dangers that could potentially arise from genetic engineering. The meeting recommended government oversight of recombinant DNA research until the safety of the technology was established.

The first genetic engineering companies were established in the 1970s, such as International Genetic Technologies in 1975 and Genentech in 1976. The latter produced human somatostatin in E. coli in 1977 and human insulin in 1978. The United States Supreme Court ruled in the 1980 Diamond v. Chakrabarty case that genetically-engineered organisms could be patented, setting the stage for a debate on whether the organisms in question were to be treated as living creatures or corporate assets.

Field tests of GMOs began in the 1980s, beginning with the ice-minus strain of Pseudomonas syringae tested by Advanced Genetic Sciences in 1983. The company was given authorization by the United States government to test the bacterium as a means of protecting crops from frost. As could be expected, environmental rights groups protested this test, delaying it by four years and vandalizing it once it did occur. Trials of genetically engineered plants occurred at around the same time.

1985-1997: A background on de-extinction

InGen began researching for de-extinction, the practice of restoring extinct species to life, by the early 1980s. Significant advancements were made throughout the early years of the decade, culminating in 1985 with the first successful extraction of ancient DNA from a Mesozoic amber sample at the Lockwood estate laboratory. A year later, InGen scientists succeeded at cloning the first de-extinct organism, a dinosaur species called Triceratops horridus, at their facility on the island of Isla Sorna. None of this was known to the general public, as it was kept highly classified. InGen’s President and CEO, John Hammond, planned to exhibit de-extinct life in an attraction called Jurassic Park built on Isla Nublar, but was not yet ready to reveal it.

Many species of de-extinct life were cloned by InGen under the leadership of its chief genetic biologist Dr. Henry Wu, an expert in evolutionary genetics. Wu considered genetic engineering to be the logical next step after selective breeding, which humans had practiced for thousands of years. Genetic modification was a necessary component of de-extinction due to the extreme age of the aDNA samples InGen was utilizing; genes which had decayed over the ages needed to be reconstructed, and for this Dr. Wu used compatible genes from modern organisms. This led to the cloned species differing in significant ways from their prehistoric ancestors, sometimes dramatically. At first, Wu was unconcerned about these alterations, discovering only later that some of them had serious implications for Park security.

Although there were a great many successes at InGen, construction on the Park was delayed by complications, both logistical and biological in nature. Bioethical disagreements caused one of InGen’s founders, Benjamin Lockwood, to part ways with Hammond in the 1990s; the company faced serious financial hardship after this. Biosecurity concerns also abounded; the company implemented numerous policies to restrict the movements of the animals. Preventing their spread into the wider ecosystem was a major operation, with a lysine deficiency being engineered into the creatures to make them dependent upon nutrition supplements provided by InGen. Population control methods were also put in place, engineering all of the animals to be female to prevent breeding in the wild.

Despite the issues InGen faced, progress on the Park continued at a steady pace until a fatal accident occurred in June 1993 in which an animal mauled and killed a worker. The company’s insurance underwriters threatened to revoke insurance on Isla Nublar, and this caused InGen’s investors to consider the reality that the Park might fail. InGen’s Board of Directors insisted upon bringing outside experts to review the Park and give their endorsement; if they did, the investors would stay on board. Unfortunately, InGen’s financial stresses led to an incident of corporate espionage that sabotaged the Park during the review. As a result, the Park was not endorsed by its outside experts. One of the witnesses, the mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm, became an outspoken critic of de-extinction as a practice, going so far as to violate his nondisclosure agreement and discuss Jurassic Park in a television interview.

Most of the general public did not believe Malcolm, but his vindication would come eventually anyway. Internal company politics at InGen became hectic after the incident of 1993, especially when it was found out that all of the Park’s biosecurity measures were failing. The animals had bred, despite being engineered as a single-sex population, due to an unforeseen consequence of Dr. Wu’s genetic engineering practices. Even the lysine contingency had failed; the Isla Nublar animals were cured by a rogue employee, but the Isla Sorna animals demonstrated that they could simply obtain lysine from their natural diet. InGen’s Board of Directors, led by Chairman Peter Ludlow, sought to collect the surviving animals and exhibit them at the Park’s original location in San Diego, California; Hammond opposed this. In the spring of 1997, Hammond was fired, and Ludlow succeeded him.

Hammond and Ludlow fought for the dinosaurs’ fate, and although Ludlow’s operation to retrieve assets from Isla Sorna was mostly foiled by Hammond, he did manage to secure two animals. An adult male Tyrannosaurus rex and its offspring were captured and brought to San Diego; mishandling during transport caused the adult to be released, and it caused damage to person and property in the outer city limits. The public at large had now been witness to InGen’s creations, as well as what this technological advance was capable of.

1997-2015: Jurassic World

Extinction Now! was most likely founded sometime after the incident in San Diego, when de-extinction was confirmed to be more than just a rumor. The tyrannosaurs were captured and brought back to Isla Sorna and away from people, but the adult had caused at least two human deaths, and probably more due to vehicular accidents. Blame for the incident was largely placed upon InGen, though there were naturally many who considered the animals themselves at fault. In either case, there was heavy controversy surrounding de-extinction already, and Extinction Now! probably rose out of this. It took inspiration from Dr. Ian Malcolm, the original whistleblower on the topic, whose nonfiction book God Creates Dinosaurs ominously foretold dire consequences for humanity if genetic engineering was pursued further.

The American government did take action with regards to de-extinction. Further research was banned by the Gene Guard Act, which was written by the U.S. House Committee on Science with counsel from John Hammond and senior InGen staff. This part of the Act would have been in line with Extinction Now! objectives, but other aspects were quite the opposite, particularly the extension of endangered species protections to de-extinct species. No more creatures were to be brought back from the dead, but those that already existed were allowed to live out their natural lives.

InGen did not go away either, and it was bought out by Masrani Global Corporation in 1998 and saved from bankruptcy. Its new owner, Simon Masrani, had been a close friend of the now late John Hammond and sought to resurrect his original dream in a new form. Isla Nublar was retaken in 2002, its animals constrained in the north while construction began on a facility in the central part of the island. Masrani announced a new park, Jurassic World, built atop the ruins of the old. In 2003, the Gene Guard Act was revised, allowing Masrani Global to resume de-extinction research; the process was later found to have been corrupted by bribery. In any case, Jurassic World opened in 2005 to huge crowds and brand-new species being cloned. Henry Wu continued to study the effects of hybridizing different genomes, having successfully bred a novel species of plant in years prior.

The proliferation of de-extinction technology concerned groups such as Extinction Now!, especially as InGen increasingly struggled to keep its secrets. Its longtime rivals BioSyn, Mantah Corporation, and others were all vying to get their hands on Dr. Wu’s technology and techniques, as were independent rogue groups. The general public, and the U.S. government, remained mostly unconcerned. Interest in the park waxed and waned; people became excited whenever a new species or attraction was announced, but the world had a great many more issues to think about. InGen, of course, pushed to create bigger attractions, more exciting creatures, and whatever else it needed to keep its expensive venture afloat. The final result of this was the use of gene splicing, as Dr. Wu had discovered in the 1990s, to engineer a species of dinosaur which had never lived in nature. In 2012, he hatched the Indominus rex, with plans to reveal it to the public in early 2016.

In December of 2015, an incident of corporate mismanagement accidentally released the Indominus out of its holding paddock. Efforts to capture it while keeping the incident under wraps from the public were unsuccessful; during the struggle the dinosaur damaged the Jurassic World Aviary. The flying reptiles which lived there were released and flocked to the Jurassic World Lagoon, where they attacked tourists and park staff on Main Street. Injuries and deaths occurred, and though the Indominus was killed later that night, it was not before even more damage had been done. Simon Masrani himself was among the deceased. Most of the survivors were evacuated, the infrastructural damage to the park too extreme to repair quickly and the bad press ensuring InGen hastily abandoned Isla Nublar.

2015-2018: Founding of the DPG

The park’s former Operations Manager, Claire Dearing, explained in a public testimonial what had transpired behind the scenes: Dr. Wu had been bribed by InGen’s Head of Security, Vic Hoskins, to engineer the Indominus as a military animal. Hoskins intended to sell the results to the U.S. Armed Forces, assuming that genetically-engineered beasts of war could replace robotic technology. This built upon testing that Hoskins was already conducting on Velociraptor, which he hoped to train as a combat animal. Dearing urged the public to not blame the dinosaurs, but rather to blame InGen Security and Dr. Wu, who was now in hiding and wanted by the U.S. government.

Debate on what to do about the now-abandoned Isla Nublar facility was carried out at all levels. Dearing, in 2017, founded the Dinosaur Protection Group, an organization devoted to lobbying for de-extinct animal rights whose mission was ultimately to make paleoveterinary care available to the animals on Isla Nublar. But political changes were coming to the United States and the world, with environmental welfare and animal rights a lower priority than ever, and Masrani Global’s new leadership denied any responsibility as well. While many members of the public were concerned for the well-being of the dinosaurs, most government offices in the United States, Costa Rica, and other relevant countries opted to take no action.

2018: A moment in the spotlight

A few months after the founding of the DPG, reports came in that volcanic activity was mounting on Isla Nublar. The island’s volcano, Mount Sibo, had become active for the first time in nearly five hundred years, and if it erupted, ecological damage could render the dinosaurs extinct. The DPG, of course, advocated for the authorities to immediately intervene and move the dinosaurs to a safe new habitat, but opposition was strong due to the 2015 incident. Although there were rumors that de-extinction technology had been replicated by parties outside of InGen, the dinosaurs and other creatures were believed to be limited to Isla Nublar, and a volcanic eruption wiping them all out would mean one less ethical debate to be had.

Extinction Now! took to social media during 2018, creating a Twitter account in March. It also created a website at that time, designing a logo featuring Mount Sibo erupting to emphasize its mission. Using simple hashtags such as #ExtinctionNow and #NaturesChoice to gain attention, Extinction Now! vocally opposed the Dinosaur Protection Group and publicly fought with them. They used dramatic images, including previously-unreleased footage of the 1997 incident in San Diego, to depict InGen’s animals as unnatural and monstrous; they often used the word “dinosaur” in quotations to imply that these animals were not real dinosaurs due to their genetically-engineered traits.

While the DPG appealed to compassion to gain support, Extinction Now! appealed to fear. In the United States and many other Western countries, the far-right extremist movement had led to a considerable amount of fear, and Extinction Now! took advantage of this. The style of their posts on social media strongly resembled those of Donald Trump and other far-right extremists, and while their website stated that they sought to protect Earth’s environment from de-extinction, their posts on social media suggested otherwise. They repeatedly implied that de-extinct animals would inevitably kill off all of humanity, despite the existence of technology that would obviously give humans an edge in real life. They referred to DPG members as “hippies,” claimed that their mission was already doomed, urged the public to openly hate dinosaurs, and suggested that anyone who supported de-extinct animal rights must be mentally ill. All of these are hallmark persuasion techniques of the far right, intended to stoke negative emotions of fear and hatred in order to suppress both logic and compassion.

Extinction Now! was not cited by the U.S. government in their final decision, but the philosophy the organization preached did find a foothold in the highest levels of government. The President had already voiced clear opposition to the DPG, and Congress ultimately sided against them as well. On June 22, 2018, it was formally announced after a meeting of Congress including Dr. Ian Malcolm as a witness that no action would be taken with regards to Isla Nublar. The reason given was that the island was privately-owned by Masrani Global Corporation, and that therefore the government had no grounds to intervene. Of course, Masrani Global had made it clear they would do nothing either, so government officials were well aware that a non-action policy would condemn the dinosaurs. Extinction Now!, seemingly, would get its wish.

2018-present: Extinction averted

Strange happenings began to occur after the government’s announcement. Assuming that Extinction Now! was monitoring the Dinosaur Protection Group website, they would have seen a post by Claire Dearing to her followers stating that unspecified new developments were taking place mere hours later. The post included a claim that she was recruiting a friend from InGen’s I.B.R.I.S. Project, the operation to train the raptors. Dearing, along with other DPG leaders Zia Rodriguez and Franklin Webb, vanished after this.

Around midday the following day, Mount Sibo violently erupted, with widespread destruction all over Isla Nublar. The island was not being closely watched by any governmental authorities, as most surveillance had been withdrawn earlier that year. For a day or so, it appeared that Extinction Now! and its sympathizers had gotten what they wanted; with the island’s ecosystem (both natural and unnatural) utterly decimated, the dinosaurs would stand little chance of survival. Only those creatures capable of flying or swimming would live.

But this changed on the night of June 24. Reports came in from the town of Orick, California that large numbers of de-extinct creatures were roaming the woodlands nearby. A large number of animals, it seemed, had been transported from Isla Nublar to the Lockwood estate, from which they were released into the wild. Many of them had simultaneously fallen into the hands of criminals, including arms dealers, business representatives, and exotic animal collectors. It could only be assumed that Claire Dearing was involved, considering her disappearance during that same period of time.

Extinction Now! seems to have fallen by the wayside after the incident at Lockwood Manor. De-extinct animals now roam much of North America, and have been brought around the world illegally. Henry Wu’s technologies are essentially open source; companies that once struggled to keep up with InGen have access to all his techniques, as do many independent parties. Governmental, corporate, and private entities have been attempting to capture and contain the animals since, but it is unlikely they can ever be completely removed. Extinction Now!’s website license expired and the site no longer exists, and their Twitter account lies untouched since the 2018 incidents. If the group is still active, it no longer garners any public attention. Its mission has failed. Re-extinction of the dinosaurs now appears extremely unlikely.

Though the group has not engaged in publicly-obvious lobbying since the incident in 2018, they still have their supporters, especially in the United States. When a growing dinosaur population in Fishenden Falls National Park began prompting warnings to tourists from park rangers, at least one of the park information boards was vandalized with an Extinction Now! sticker.

Organizers and Lobbyists

No members of Extinction Now! have yet been named, and their organization seems small, but they must have some individuals responsible for organizing and lobbying. Speaking to the government and public on behalf of their cause is the main way they push their agenda. Leaders of the organization appear to come from all across the political spectrum, from liberal environmentalists to reactionary anti-science pundits. The only thing they all truly have in common is an unconditional, non-negotiable opposition to de-extinction. Their reasons are many, but their goal is singular. Wiping out, or at least containing, all de-extinct life until it returns to extinction is the basis for the group’s existence and the only thing that unites them. After the events of 2018 made re-extinction significantly more unlikely, Extinction Now!’s leaders seem to have gone silent. It is unknown if the group is still active.

Social Media Managers and Web Designers

Extinction Now! maintained a small online presence during the 2018 Mount Sibo controversy, apparently in response to the Dinosaur Protection Group since they formed a Twitter account and created a website immediately after a DPG publicity video was released. They used the DPG to gain attention by publicly picking fights with them online. Their website consisted only of a single page, and its license was allowed to expire (meaning the site no longer exists). The Twitter account spoke with a consistent voice, suggesting a single individual was managing it. However, the tone used on the website was different; the Twitter account emulated the rhetoric and syntax of far-right reactionary figures such as Donald Trump, and focused heavily on the survival of humanity, while the website considered de-extinction a more environmental threat and was concerned with biosecurity. This implies that at least two people were involved with Extinction Now!’s online presence, but the limited nature of its digital ventures would suggest a very small number of people in any case.

The Twitter account went inactive after the events of 2018, and the website expired in the ensuing years, suggesting that the managers of these respective assets are no longer active and may have left Extinction Now! for new jobs.


Although they attempted to gain widespread online support by piggybacking off the attention the DPG got on Twitter, Extinction Now! did not succeed at becoming a popular rival organization. As of the early 2020s, slightly over 1,600 people followed their Twitter account, as opposed to the DPG’s more than 8,600; some of Extinction Now!’s followers were chiefly interested in keeping up with the group’s activities and did not actually endorse their messages. Many people do agree that de-extinction has damaging potential, but it is generally understood by most that the real danger comes from unregulated experimentation for corporate profit. Still, a good number of people believe dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures to be inherently monstrous and out for human blood; these people tend to be scientifically illiterate and susceptible to appeals to emotion, and so easily fall for Extinction Now!’s more dramatic reactionary rhetoric. The organization has explicitly called for a public hatred of genetically-engineered dinosaurs, and to use this hatred as a fuel to motivate the mass death of the animals. Infamous incidents such as the events in 2015 that closed Jurassic World, in addition to (often cheaply-made) action films and other popular media, have persuaded many laypeople of the monstrosity of prehistoric life.

A few noteworthy public figures, mostly in the United States government, have agreed with Extinction Now!’s message but none have explicitly voiced support for the organization itself. President of the United States at the time, the notably anti-science Donald Trump, expressed questions about the “existence of dinosaurs in the first place,” which may indicate sympathies for Extinction Now! and its messages, but some have interpreted his statement as questioning whether or not the dinosaurs themselves existed. On the other hand, mathematician and Isla Nublar survivor Dr. Ian Malcolm was cited explicitly as an inspiration for the Extinction Now! movement, but he did not advocate for actively killing the dinosaurs. In fact, he lamented the animals’ impending death as a tragedy, even if he believed it was for the best. He did not believe that any action should be taken to save them, but once human intervention caused the dinosaurs to survive despite his opposition, he urged the public to get used to the animals’ presence and accept them as a new feature of our world. While Extinction Now! does include fans of Dr. Malcolm, the feeling does not seem to be mutual.

Since the events of 2018 and the disappearance of Extinction Now! from the public theater, most of its former supporters seem to have forgotten it ever existed.