A Mammoth Undertaking


Shades of “Jurassic Park”…

Scientists are talking for the first time about the old idea of resurrecting extinct species as if this staple of science fiction is a realistic possibility, saying that a living mammoth could perhaps be regenerated for as little as $10 million.

The same technology could be applied to any other extinct species from which one can obtain hair, horn, hooves, fur or feathers, and which went extinct within the last 60,000 years, the effective age limit for DNA.

Though the stuffed animals in natural history museums are not likely to burst into life again, these old collections are full of items that may contain ancient DNA that can be decoded by the new generation of DNA sequencing machines.

Well, we’ll probably never get revived dinosaurs, because they all went extinct 65 million years ago (except for birds), and DNA can’t live that long.

But still… mammoths are cool. Neanderthals are cool. Dodos are cool. Cave bears, dire wolves, Irish elk, giant sloths, sabre-toothed tigers — let’s bring the whole bunch back, partly for the sake of advancing the science of cloning, partly to advance paleontology, partly just so I can squee over prehistoric animals brought back to life…

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