And this just in from our Dept. of People with Too Much Time on Their Hands: A team of Russian and South Korean scientists has announced its plan to clone (drum roll, please) …
A woolly mammoth.
The work will be done by a consortium led by VasilyVasiliev, of North-Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic, and scientist Hwang Woo-Suk of South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation. Simply put, they plan to harvest DNA a frozen woolly mammoth carcass and insert the genetic material into the eggs of a female Indian elephant, and then (sort of) let nature take its course.
I’m not convinced this is something we need to pursue.
This fellow Hwang has been in the news before for fudging the data (also known as telling a big fat prevarication) on a human cloning project he said he had undertaken, despite the fact that every single science-fiction movie about human clones demonstrates, in Technicolor, that it seldom works out as planned.
Really, what reason do we have for bringing back the woolly mammoth? Have we suddenly decided there is an acute mammoth shortage? Have people been sitting around talking about the lack of mammoths lately?
I don’t think so.
So if the world has not been clamoring for large, hairy proboscideans, then the only reason I can think of for them cloning one is simply to show they can.
It sounds to me like a couple of scientists weren’t listening when their grandmas told them just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you ought to. In fact, doing something just because you can is frequently in the idea category known as Incredibly Stupid. Come on, scientists. Didn’t you guys see “Jurassic Park?”
Now, to the mammal mama at hand: Make no mistake. I like elephants. In fact, I love them. Elephants fascinate me.
And because of this, I have a hard time working up a lot of enthusiasm for bringing back elephant ancestors. Our 21st-century elephant population is endangered, and I, for one, would like to see the kind of dedication and work it would require to clone a mammoth be applied to saving and restoring the animals we still have. But that’s just me.
Looks to me like the real mammoths in this project are not animals at all.