Friday, December 15

Wooly Mammoth to Walk Once More?

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I recently read that a team of scientists are trying to find frozen woolly mammoth cells in hopes of using them to resurrect the extinct creatures. If this sounds like something out of Michael Criton’s Jurassic Park novels, that’s because it basically is. These scientists would be using the same process used by the scientists in Jurassic Park, a cloning process that would involve putting the mammoth embryo into an elephant for gestation. The question we must ask, however, is why? Why would we spend what will no doubt cost millions of dollars to fund a science project attempting to bring back a creature long since extinct?

As Ian Malcom said in the Jurassic Park film: “This isn’t some species that was obliterated by deforestation or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs had their shot and nature selected them for extinction.” These creatures died out naturally millions of years ago, so why would we bring them back to the present world, just for the sake of using them as laboratory rats? It holds no real value, other than boosting the pride of the people who succeed in doing it. Resurrecting an artificial animal in something other than its own climate will not teach us about how the animals lived, because our current world is not their natural habitat.

These animals died out for a reason, and whatever that reason was, it means something in their world was no longer suited to their survival. Reviving them may only cause large problems as the cloners try to deal with finding adequate climate, habitat and food supply for their newly created critters. We already have animals like elephants (our modern-day mammoths), in big trouble, why not use the money to save these endangered creatures instead of resurrecting those that naturally died out.

If mammoths were cloned to live once more, the poor creatures would no doubt be stuck in some zoo for people to gawk at. There are enough animals that humankind already abuses. There are enough species we have already driven toward extinction, and sadly enough zoos are sometimes the only place that can keep such creatures alive. Why then would we bring another creature into the same situation? Woolly mammoths died out naturally, let us leave them in peace.

Sources:

ActionBioscience
http://www.actionbioscience.org/biotech/agenbroad.html

National Geographic
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/04/0408_050408_woollymammoth.html

“Woolly Mammoth Could Live Again”
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/wooly-mammoth-could-live-again.html

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