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Scientists are working to bring back the woolly mammoth

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (KOTA) - Mammoths walked the earth thousands of years ago, but the chance of seeing one walking around again might not be too far away.

Colossal, a biosciences and genetics company, plans to genetically resurrect the extinct animal using DNA extracted from ancient carcasses.

Although this technique could be useful, the Director of Research at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, Jim Mead, isn’t convinced bringing back the species is a good idea.

“So, here this animal, with let’s face it, a lot of feelings and it’s being brought up in an environment that it’s never been in before. The mammoth environment, everything those mammoths lived in whether it was down in Mexico or clear up in the Antarctic, or over in Eurasia, those environments are gone. So, I’m not sure if the ethical side of it is there, but the concept is very intriguing,” said Mead.

Mead said we wouldn’t really be bringing back a mammoth as the extracted DNA would be mixed with that of an Asian Elephant.

“We’re really bringing back part of a mammoth. If you take a horse and a burrow you get a mule and in some ways what we would be creating is some sort of mammoth mule, if you will,” said Mead.

There are several pros and cons to bringing back the beast, mostly relatable to helping or hurting climate change, but Mead said elephants are highly intelligent and sensitive creatures, and there comes a point where the experiment becomes unethical.

Instead, we could focus on endangered species that still live on earth.

“But we could certainly work on animals that are becoming extinct, so the concept is wonderful. Bringing back the wooly mammoth is Hollywood, to me,” said Mead.

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