Should we bring woolly back?

Columbian mammoth, courtesy of WolfmanSF

I say yes, but y’all know how I feel about this. I’m all for de-extinction. Yes, I’ve seen Jurassic Park (all of them, multiple times) – don’t care. I want mammoth. Now.

Not sure what de-extinction is? Well, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. Essentially, the idea is all about bringing extinct species back to life. Is it controversial? Maybe just a wee bit.

You might enjoy this article at National Geographic which breaks down the basics into nice little bite-size chunks. There are a lot of related sources you can explore to get the many different perspectives about this topic. Be sure to check out the TedTalk because it’s got all the experts and details about making this a real possibility and not just something we see on the silverscreen at the Sunday matinee.

In fact, there are some very compelling ideas for why we might want to think about doing this – as well as some valid concerns for why it might not be such a grand idea after all. Of course, you have to make up your own mind, but give the videos a watch and see what these folks have to say.

Stewart Brand: The dawn of de-extinction:

Hendrik Poinar: Bring back the Woolly Mammoth:

Irish Elk from Überseemuseum Bremen, courtesy of SterilgutassistentinRegardless of whether or not scientists elect to move forward with the idea of resurrecting extinct species of flora and fauna, we are – without a doubt – entering a brave new world where the possibility exists.

That’s pretty exciting, don’t you think?

I’m getting ready. After they finish with the woolly mammoth, I’d like to request an Irish Elk. Why? Because… well, look at that rack of antlers! Now that is some prehistoric awesomeness.

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  1. #1 by Tammy on November 6, 2014 - 4:42 am

    I’m not certain it’s a good idea to bring back extinct species. There was probably a good reason they died off. While you want a wooly, the next person may want a saber tooth tiger. I personally want a genetically modified miniature giraffe. Small enough to sit on a sofa pillow.

    • #2 by Lesann Berry on November 6, 2014 - 4:30 pm

      I wouldn’t object to saber-toothed tigers, as long as they’re leashed in public. Miniature giraffes have possibilities. I think there’s room for all of them (as long as you have high ceilings) because at the rate we’re losing species we need to start off-setting the balance.

  2. #3 by Wendy Van Camp on November 6, 2014 - 8:57 am

    For thousands of years the Wooly Mamamoth was a prime food source for humans until they were hunted out. It would be interesting to see their return, if only for that reason. Ranches of woolies?

    • #4 by Lesann Berry on November 6, 2014 - 4:34 pm

      A woolly ranch is such a great visual. Can you imagine the kind of fencing that would require… I think it’s worth trying. It’s just the beginning. If we bring back the megafauna of the last ice age we can help balance the impact of over-grazing with animals that better utilize the environment. I think folks in the Siberian province have been working at recreating an appropriate biome. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my crazy.

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