Pleistocene Park

20 Jan

I am fascinated by the effort to clone a mammoth, and yet I’m a little flummoxed about it, uncertain of the need. I know we’re humans, and we do many things because “we can”, but I’m not certain we can clone a mammoth.

We have yet to clone a dog. Cats, yes, dogs no. Is mammoth DNA that much simpler than a dog’s?

Plus, mammoths went extinct not due to humans but due to natural causes. Is it morally right to bring back something that can’t live in this world, just so that we can ooh and aah over it?



Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Science


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2 responses to “Pleistocene Park

  1. Ciaran

    January 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Hey, i think the broad consensus is that humans did kill the mammoths. The mammoths had survived many previous coolings and warmings, but their disappearance corresponds exactly to when humans arrived. Furthermore, Island populations, which took longer to reach for humans died out later, though the climate changed at the same time.

    If you take the view that humans killed mammoths, and based on arguments like the above I would, then there becomes a rational for cloning mammoths, with the idea of eventually reintroducing them to the wild in Siberia and Alaska. If they are native, and only killed off by humans, they will actually help the ecosystems. It would be the equivalent to reintroducing elephants into national parks in India or Africa.

    • 100wordson

      January 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      Correspondence does not equal causation. Primitive man did not have the tools nor the inclination to hunt a species to extinction. If man did indeed kill that last mammoths, it would be because the species already had incredibly low numbers and a dangerously low birth rate. Primitive man did not farm, did not change the environment in any fashion, etc. They were simply another natural predator.


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