The Mammoth In The Room

19 Jan

Image of the '80s cartoon & toy line, Dino-RidersCNN has a new article up regarding one of those “next wave of science” stories that’s been kicking around for years.

A team of scientists from Japan, Russia and the United States hopes to clone a mammoth, a symbol of Earth’s ice age that ended 12,000 years ago, according to a report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun. The researchers say they hope to produce a baby mammoth within six years.

I remember seeing this story crop up not long after Dolly, the sheep, came into the world, but seeing a six year time line attached is definitely new – and rather exciting, if, like me, you’re into resurrecting long dead species.

It does raise questions, however, and not necessarily of the 1950s horror film/Jurrasic Park “Are they going to escape and trample people in the streets of Tokyo?” kind.

Would two cloned mammoths be able to breed? Technically I believe so, but, given that both parents would likely be grown from similar DNA, would the resulting offspring turn out to be a twelve thousand pound version of the banjo kid from Deliverance?
The Banjo Kid from DeliveranceMy understanding is that the giants were herbivorous foragers that dug through the snow to locate plant material to munch on – if we let them roam during our non-ice age, will they overeat?

How long until we allow a Texan with an elephant gun to mount a mammoth head in his den?

How will McDonald’s market its new Mammo-Burger?
Wooly Mammoth image found at http://gliving.com/mammoths-driven-to-extinction-by-humans/

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