Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reviving the Woolly Mammoth!

There's been some big news on the mammoth front this week.  First, it was reported that Russian scientists found a mammoth with liquid blood still remaining.  Then TED posted the following talk:

All of this points to one simple fact: we might actually be able to revive the woolly mammoth!  Let me give you a minute to let that sink in.

I know!  This is the most exciting news I've heard in a long time.  I've held a fascination with mammoths for as long as I can remember and the idea of bringing them back to life is something I've dreamed about for years.  And now you're telling me it could be possible?!  Let's get it done!  Like, right now.  I want to see a live mammoth before I die.  But Hendrik Poinar at the end of his talk asks us to think about whether or not we should do this.  He wants us to really have a conversation before we proceed with this action.  So that's what I'm here to do, converse.  The idea of whether we should bring back the mammoth immediately reminded me of Jeff Goldblum's line in Jurassic Park.  He says, "your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should."  John Hammond's retort is that no one would complain if he cloned condors and Ian Malcolm replies that dinosaurs had their chance and nature selected them for extinction.  So did nature select mammoths for extinction?  Maybe, but maybe not.  The presence of humans certainly had something to do with their extinction.  The same can't be said for dinosaurs.  Isolated populations of mammoths still existed as early as 4000-6000 years ago.  That's relatively recent in the Earth's lifespan.  There are climates and locales that will support the existence of mammoths.  So I say let's do it.  Who knows, maybe seeing live mammoths will help us learn more about early humans.  I know it's a stretch, but I think it's a jump worth making.  But what do you all think?  Should we bring back the mammoth?

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