Pleistocene Park, anyone? Scientists from Japan and Russia are close to being able to clone woolly mammoths. Did these people learn nothing from Michael Crichton? Woolly mammoths roaming freely in the Siberian tundra could give a whole new meaning to Attack of the Clones.
Kinki University in Japan and a mammoth-centric museum in Russia’s Sakha Republic say that they’re close enough to cloning the hairy beasts that it will happen within the next five years. It’s all thanks to some mammoth bone marrow discovered inside a preserved thigh bone. The marrow is in such good condition that scientists believe its cells could be implanted into elephant egg cells, which would allow elephant mothers to carry baby mammoths until they’re ready to be born. (But isn’t there an error in that logic? Elephants aren’t as big as mammoths, so wouldn’t a baby mammoth grow too big for an elephant’s womb? I’ll leave unsaid the rather gory mental image of how that scenario would end.)
What do you make of this? Should mammoths be allowed to return from extinction? If so, why? (Just because it’s cool, or because of some presumed scientific applications?) Or is playing God best left in the hands of the big guy upstairs?