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mattbrowne's avatar

Jurassic Park for real - What do you think about the Mammoth Creation Project?

Asked by mattbrowne (31600points) May 14th, 2009

From Live Science: Scientists Aim to Revive the Woolly Mammoth – Scientists with the Mammoth Creation Project hope to find a frozen woolly mammoth specimen with sperm DNA. The sperm DNA would then be injected into a female elephant; by repeating the procedure with offspring, a creature 88 percent mammoth could be produced within fifty years.

“This is possible with modern technology we already have,” said Akira Iritani, who is chairman of the genetic engineering department at Kinki University in Japan and a member of the Mammoth Creation Project. However, the DNA in mammoth remains found to date has been unusable, damaged by time and climate changes. “From a geologist’s point of view, the preservation of viable sperm is very unlikely, and this is so far confirmed by the poor condition of cells in the mammoth carcasses,” said Andrei Sher, Russian paleontologist and mammoth expert. Woolly mammoths became extinct about 10,000 years ago as warming weather reduced their food sources. Although only about a hundred specimens have been found, as many as ten million mammoths are believed buried in permanently frozen Russian soil. In his novel Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton popularized the idea of using dinosaur DNA taken from mosquito-like insects trapped in amber to create a Jurassic Park of recreated dinosaurs.

http://www.livescience.com/technology/050412_mammoth_effort.html

Any thoughts?

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27 Answers

Les's avatar

It is a purely wonderful idea. I personally think they are already on the road to making an 88% (or better) wooly mammoth/elephant hybrid. They’re just not going to tell us until there is a giant mammoth stomping around.

spresto's avatar

I feel sorry for the poor bastard that would have to clean its pin.

dynamicduo's avatar

Go Science!

* waves Science flags *

Why not, I figure. Let’s just not be dumb like they were in movies and MC’s books. We have the technology to control dinosaurs, as long as we’re not stupid about it.

@spresto – Actually, it might be able to be used as manure, thus making our crops healthier… plus it makes another job, so I’m for it!

Les's avatar

Speaking of mammoths stomping around, have you heard of pleistocene rewilding? I can’t wait until my drive from Laramie to Cheyenne is not only dangerous because of strong winds but from lions and elephants, too. Sometimes, science can be kooky But I love it.

Likeradar's avatar

Why would we want to do this, exactly?

Les's avatar

@Likeradar Because we can.

phoenyx's avatar

“Broadly speaking, the ability of the park to control the spread of life forms. Because the history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers. Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way.” Malcom shook his head. “I don’t mean to be philosophical, but there it is.”

The mammoths will trample us all!!! :)

dynamicduo's avatar

The technology developed in doing such a thing would at the least educate us, and would likely have applications elsewhere in the scientific, medical, and zoology worlds. Plus, it gives us a great tool to combat further extinction of creatures. No knowledge is pointless. Trying everything is how we will discover and learn new things, new capabilities!

Ivan's avatar

@Likeradar Why did we go to the moon? Because we can.

Likeradar's avatar

@Les and @Ivan I was wondering what the benefits would be. Thanks, @dynamicduo.

I don’t love the idea of us going to the moon either, btw

Ivan's avatar

@Likeradar

It’s important to encourage a healthy scientific attitude. Pushing the limits of our scientific understanding is the only thing that has ever allowed us to develop new applicable technologies. No one purposefully set out to invent a microwave oven; instead, it was the result of the seemingly pointless study of microwave radiation. If we just tell ourselves that scientific research is pointless and costly, we will never innovate. Research might seem pointless now, but the rewards that come later are undeniable.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Likeradar

I don’t love the idea of us going to the moon either, btw
I hear ya on that!

Ivan's avatar

@RedPowerLady

I don’t think you really do. Not if you like progress and technology, that is.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Ivan I don’t, I’m content living in the glory of the past

Ivan's avatar

@RedPowerLady Then get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich, woman.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Ivan my cultural past consists predominantly of matriarchies although many people are unaware of this fact (native american).

btw although it is horribly un-PC for me to say this i thought that was pretty funny

dynamicduo's avatar

@Likeradar and @RedPowerLady to a smaller extent, The Space Race resulted in the predecessor of the Internet being created. That’s just one of the examples of space technology being used back here on Earth. There are literally thousands more. It is simply foolish to imply that there’s no value in going to space.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Les – Thanks for the pleistocene rewilding link. Highly interesting! Some ‘rewilding’ seems to be occurring naturally. For decades there hadn’t been any wolves in Germany, then a couple of years ago they reemerged (supposedly coming from Eastern Europe). Sadly, a few tabloids exploited the issue creating fears (based on fairy tales?) and some people (secret Sarah Palin admirers?) actually demanded that the wolves be shot. Environmentalists launched their own campaign to educate the population. The wolves are safe!

@Likeradar and @RedPowerLady – No value going to space? What about the millions of lives saved by good weather forecasts? Just take a single evacuation measure before a hurricane makes landfall.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dynamicduo
@mattbrowne

Who said there was no value in it? What I said was I didn’t love the idea of it and am happy living in times before technology and advancement. Seems like you are being a bit quick to jump the gun, so to speak.

dynamicduo's avatar

You and Likeradar did, in my interpretation of your comments. Likeradar said: “I don’t love the idea of us going to the moon either, btw” and you posted a comment agreeing to that. This was following Likeradar’s previous comment asking why we would engage in this pursuit, thus I assumed both were related to a perceived lack of value in these activities.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dynamicduo you know what they say about assumptions ;)

mattbrowne's avatar

Thanks for the clarification!

Likeradar's avatar

@dynamicduo It’s not that I don’t see the value, I just see more value in other things that I personally think are more important. I’m also not one of those “do it because we can” types. Just my humble opinion. :)

Ivan's avatar

@Likeradar

I will go out on a limb and say that the value gained from such expeditions would be far higher than anything else you could come up with. That is to say, there isn’t anything that is “more important.”

Likeradar's avatar

@Ivan It’s opinion based, not fact-based. No harm. :)

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Likeradar I’m also not one of those “do it because we can” types

Yes, same here.

Ivan's avatar

I’m not sure I’m making myself clear…

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