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Extinct Research Lab
Official expansion(s): Extinct Animals
Object type: Building


Has a Biome?: None

The Extinct Research Lab is a building in Zoo Tycoon 2 that was first introduced in Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals. It is one of the game's most important buildings, adding new features to the game, largely minigames.


Fossil Finding

In the Fossil Finding minigame, which is triggered by placing an Extinct Research Lab first and then clicking on the shovel button in the Guest mode, players navigate around their zoo in first-person mode while carrying a tool that resembles a handheld sonar device. When a fossil piece is detected nearby, several bars will then appear in the device, which soon turns green if the fossil is nearby. The player may also notice a flagged fossil site nearby, which then they can dig to uncover a fossil piece. As more fossils are uncovered, players will be able to find more fossil pieces with an upgraded device. In Level 1, players must find 6 pieces to complete a fossil, in Level 2 9 pieces, in Level 3 12 pieces, in Level 4 15 pieces, and in Level 5 24 pieces. Players may also hire palaeontologists to aid them in finding fossils.

Sometimes in the minigame, players will not uncover fossils; they will uncover various other items instead, such as food items, enrichment items, and gifts that grants money when uncovered.

Fossil Building

After completing enough fossil pieces for a species, players are able to assemble the uncovered pieces. In the minigame, players must match the pieces to the corresponding area of the empty background, where they will turn green when placed in the correct area. Players may also rotate fossil pieces during the minigame to fit the fossils to the background. Fossils with higher levels tends to have more pieces that are smaller than fossil pieces of animals with lower levels. Fossils that had been assembled by players are indicated with a green skull, and they cannot be reassembled.


After assembling a fossil, players can now clone extinct animals for display in their zoos. Cloning is an easier way to obtain extinct animals, which are often more expensive than regular animals. Unlike the previous minigames, players must wait some time to clone another animal after cloning one.

Players start the minigame by clicking the computer screen or pressing SPACEBAR. Then, a row of symbols appear in the screen, which wil turn into stars if players press or click the corresponding buttons, such as keyboard arrows or the mouse, when the scan line moves through them. As more symbols are turned into stars, players will get an extinct animal, or a better version of the animal known as the "Super" variant. These animals are bigger, healthier, and lives longer than their regular counterpart. "Super" animals can be obtained if all of the symbols are turned into stars. In higher-level extinct animals, sometimes the scan line will pause for a while, and when it moves again, one of the buttons are replaced with a question mark. Players should remember which key was in the spot before to turn it into a star.

If less symbols are clicked or pressed, a lesser score is gained, and an entirely different animal is given, which is known as "Cloning Failures" by the game's files. These animals are the Squirrel, Giant Monarch Butterfly, Giant Bullfrog, Springhare, and the Killer Penguin. Four of them are just selectable ambients which guests will laugh at when they are placed nearby, and one of them is treated like a real animal which players should not keep for a long time.

Disease Curing

Sometimes animals catch different types of diseases, which may infect another animals nearby. This can be a serious problem when not cured for a long time. To cure diseases, players may click the Find Diseased Animals button when playing in Guest mode or click a button in the Extinct Research Lab under the Disease Curing tab. Players navigates around the zoo in search of samples from animals or objects with the help of a team, which helps players find the data of the cure. By pressing H, players can get hints to find the exact item needed for the cure. After the cure is found, players can press SPACEBAR to infected animals to cure them. There are 10 diseases in the game, which are completely fictional.


  • In the Cloning minigame, the scientist may do random things before the game starts, such as clapping his hands. Sometimes the scientist is replaced by a Killer Penguin.
  • If you look closely to uncovered fossil pieces of the same animal, which appears out of the dug hole, it looks like they all look the same. However, they appears to be changed to various other matching pieces when playing the Fossil Building minigame.
  • This building is by far the most expensive building in the entire Zoo Tycoon 2 series.

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