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"Mr. Hammond, after careful consideration, I've decided not to endorse your park."
December 6, 2011 8:18 AM   Subscribe

"God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs." [Discovery.com] Within five years, a woolly mammoth will likely be cloned, according to scientists who have just recovered well-preserved bone marrow in a mammoth thigh bone. Japan's Kyodo News first reported the find. You can see photos of the thigh bone at this Kyodo page.
posted by Fizz (111 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dinosaurs destroy island. Man writes book. Public assumes it's fiction. Sheeple awaken.
posted by fetamelter at 8:19 AM on December 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


Wooly...mammoths...aren't...dinosaurs...?
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on December 6, 2011 [19 favorites]


I know they're not dinosaurs but I had to use a Jurassic Park quote...article was just begging for it.
posted by Fizz at 8:21 AM on December 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can't be the only one who read that quote in Jeff Goldblum's voice and mannerisms, right?
posted by fijiwriter at 8:21 AM on December 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


(I got it moments after hitting post, mainly due to the title, which I usually don't notice. I read Jurassic Park and only watched part of the movie, so I don't have it as memorized as some. Except for this being unix and me knowing that.)
posted by DU at 8:22 AM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure I like the attribution of God's involvement to Discovery.com. He's not mentioned in the article at all.
posted by Aquaman at 8:22 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I, for one, welcome ...yadda, yadda, yadda.
posted by ob at 8:22 AM on December 6, 2011


Jurassic Park IV: Dinosaurs Create God
posted by Iridic at 8:23 AM on December 6, 2011 [22 favorites]


A mammoth isn't a dinosaur.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:24 AM on December 6, 2011


I can't be the only one who read that quote in Jeff Goldblum's voice and mannerisms, right?

"I really hate that man."
posted by Fizz at 8:24 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]



Jurassic Park IV: Dinosaurs Create God

Oh god another BSG prequel
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 AM on December 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


I have been waiting for a cloned mammoth for over twenty years. Hurry up, science!
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:26 AM on December 6, 2011


Dinosaur eats man, woman inherits the earth.

Also, I would like to sign up to be the first person to ride on the back of the newly-cloned mammoth. They'll be doing this, right?
posted by phunniemee at 8:26 AM on December 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


How difficult will it be to successfully raise a viable woolly mammoth without the womb of a woolly mammoth and without knowledge of the various commensals that lived inside of woolly mammoths?
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:27 AM on December 6, 2011


I look forward to the eventual McDonald's seasonal food item
posted by The Whelk at 8:28 AM on December 6, 2011 [23 favorites]


I look forward to the eventual McDonald's seasonal food item

I was in a conversation about this story last night and when one of us admitted they were really wondering if they'd be able to eventually eat mammoth the rest of us all admitted that we were thinking the exact same thing.

If they serve it at Sonic you can get it delivered to the car door like the ending of The Flintstones.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:31 AM on December 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


I've always wanted a hairy piano!
posted by wcfields at 8:31 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


At the Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, they have this little model of a Wooly Mammoth that's basically the size of a large dog, say lab sized. My wife calls it the "wooly petite," and likes to day dream about keeping it as a pet; she and the petite would go for walks, she would throw a ball for it that it would lumber after, shaking its wooly fur, it would jump and couch and nuzzle her with its trunk.

What I'm saying is, good luck scientists, but cloning a wooly mammoth is only step one
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:32 AM on December 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I look forward to the eventual McDonald's seasonal food item

Way ahead of you
posted by DU at 8:32 AM on December 6, 2011


Har, Har, Har. Let's all make clever Jurassic Park and Flintstones jokes.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:33 AM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have been waiting for a cloned mammoth for over twenty years. Hurry up, science!

Did anyone else watch Cro on ABC's Saturday morning lineup back in the early 90's?
posted by bumpjump at 8:33 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just noticed, for the first time ever, that the drive-in restaurant at the end of the Flintstones serves bronto burgers, not wooly mammoths. Commenter, snark thyself.
posted by DU at 8:34 AM on December 6, 2011


Wait, you mean mammoths aren't just neo-folk singer-songwriter elephants?
posted by srboisvert at 8:35 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else watch Cro on ABC's Saturday morning lineup back in the early 90's?

and then the whelk falls into a nostalgia spiral he didn't know existed and ever returns
posted by The Whelk at 8:37 AM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Somebody call HBO!! This would be great for Game of Thrones!
posted by Pendragon at 8:37 AM on December 6, 2011


I just want to play devil's advocate here and say: I believe that woolly mammoths ARE in fact dinosaurs.
posted by penduluum at 8:38 AM on December 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


I can't be the only one who read that quote in Jeff Goldblum's voice and mannerisms, right?

I tried, but when I do it there are no 20-year-old models to be found
posted by Hoopo at 8:39 AM on December 6, 2011


Just in time to replace the Toronto elephants who are moving to California because it's too cold!

Exhibits gotta exhibit. And a wooly mammoth is just the ticket!
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:40 AM on December 6, 2011


By the most common definition1 mammoths are in fact dinosaurs.

1"Big, ugly and dead"
posted by DU at 8:40 AM on December 6, 2011


Da daaaaaaa Da daaaa, da dA da dA da dA, da dada dada dada daa da daaaaaaa......
posted by kaibutsu at 8:40 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't they need several examples from the same species do this in a sustainable way? If it's taken them twenty years to find one usable bone, the poor bugger's going to get awful lonely waiting til they find another and it can finally have some company.
posted by Jehan at 8:40 AM on December 6, 2011


If they just make one of these things, it strikes me that it will lead a very lonely existence. But that makes me think about the fact that we hunted them to extinction. So, at some point in the past there was a dwindling population until there was only one left. It too must have led a very lonely existence.

Or we could make multiple clones from the same DNA and force a herd of Mammoth into an existential dilemma: Who am I? Who are you? Are you me? Are we mammoths or are we not?
posted by etc. at 8:42 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


As I recall, Jehan, that's where the frog DNA comes into play.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:42 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apparently I have nostalgia-alikes in common with The Whelk and Bumpjump. Who knew!

(I doubt they cloned mammoth will have tons of engineering-oriented aesops to share with researchers, though who knows.. SCIENCE!)
posted by Alterscape at 8:42 AM on December 6, 2011


You know what would be sweet? Wolly mammoth ivory keyboards for laptops.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:42 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: My wife calls it the "wooly petite"
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Well that will make it easier to make the Jean Auel movies.
posted by XMLicious at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just in time to lose its habitat.
posted by Flunkie at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


As I recall, Jehan, that's where the frog DNA comes into play.

The article doesn't mention frog DNA, why would they need that anyway?
posted by Jehan at 8:44 AM on December 6, 2011


How difficult will it be to successfully raise a viable woolly mammoth without the womb of a woolly mammoth and without knowledge of the various commensals that lived inside of woolly mammoths?

I have absolutely no idea, but this seems related. FTA: The key to cloning the woolly mammoth is to replace the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those extracted from the mammoth's bone marrow cells.

So what we're getting (if it works at all) is a cross between an elephant and a mammoth -- mammoth genes as expressed by an elephant's cells and grown in an elephant's womb. So the real question is how difficult it will be to raise an elemoth or mammephant with an elephant for a mother. And I bet some people are super excited to find out.

(In addition to its other issues, the elemoth will be born into a single-parent household. So it will need all of our support, you guys.)
posted by Honorable John at 8:44 AM on December 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've never heard of Cro, but Wikipedia's entry intrigued me so I found a clip on YouTube. Long story short, I invented a time machine and the 90s don't exist anymore.
posted by DU at 8:45 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


But that makes me think about the fact that we hunted them to extinction.

Isn't this pretty heavily disputed? I thought it was down to a toss up if it was mostly hunting or climate change.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:45 AM on December 6, 2011


No jokes about that one episode of Northern Exposure? I'm disappointed, you guys.
posted by The World Famous at 8:46 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bulgaroktonos: " Isn't this pretty heavily disputed? I thought it was down to a toss up if it was mostly hunting or climate change."

It is. There is no single accepted theory.

It has even been suggested that the marks on bones that are thought to be evidence of hunting could have been made by trampling of other mammoths.
posted by zarq at 8:47 AM on December 6, 2011


How long till I can get a mammoth steak?
posted by sourbrew at 8:48 AM on December 6, 2011


What is this "god" thing you speak of?
posted by Decani at 8:49 AM on December 6, 2011


Meanwhile in Africa, extant elephants are still being killed for their tusks for the ivory trade.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:49 AM on December 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Most viewed YouTube videos, 5 years from now:

Baby wooly mammoth plays with rubber ball
Baby wooly mammoth gets a bath
Baby wooly mammoth sneezes
Baby wooly mammoth uses snout to pick up food then nibbles OMG SO CUTE
posted by mcmile at 8:49 AM on December 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


A mammoth isn't a dinosaur.

Well, they may not be terrible lizards, but they're certainly not very good lizards.
posted by yoink at 8:49 AM on December 6, 2011 [35 favorites]


"God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs."

This quote reminds me of that joke, where there's the guy who can create anything from just scooping up the dirt and blowing on it. He gets so famous that people believe he's God, and he starts to believe it and challenges God to a creating contest. God accepts, scoops up some dirt, blows on it, and creates like a shower of unicorns that explode into a rainbow and turn the sky purple or whatever. The crowd's impressed, the guy steadies himself, bends down, scoops up some dirt and is about to blow into it when God's like "Whoa whoa whoa, get your own dirt."
posted by resurrexit at 8:49 AM on December 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


"baby wooly mammoth gores trainer"
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 AM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Game on - for every post that basically says "mammoth != dinosaur" you have to take a drink
posted by rahnefan at 8:50 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


In addition to its other issues, the elemoth will be born into a single-parent household.

The product of a gene-broken home....
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:50 AM on December 6, 2011


Dinosaurs eat man. Corgi destroys dinosaurs. Corgi inherits the earth.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:52 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most viewed YouTube videos, 5 years from now:
Baby wooly mammoth plays with rubber ball
Baby wooly mammoth gets a bath
Baby wooly mammoth sneezes
Baby wooly mammoth uses snout to pick up food then nibbles OMG SO CUTE


It will be Knut the Mammut!
posted by Kabanos at 8:52 AM on December 6, 2011


Translation of 5 years off: http://xkcd.com/678/
posted by ElliotH at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2011


mammoth != dinosaur
posted by edgeways at 9:02 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, we're going with "elemoth" over "mammephant???"

Come on, guys, just say it. Mammephant. Mammephant, mammephant.
posted by reverend cuttle at 9:03 AM on December 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't this pretty heavily disputed? I thought it was down to a toss up if it was mostly hunting or climate change.

If all you study is mammoths it might be disputed. But as part of a pattern of mega-fauna extinctions at around the same time, anything other than "we killed them" looks pretty implausible.
posted by DU at 9:03 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


don't tempt me to spam ... mammoth != dinosaur just to get your drunk
posted by edgeways at 9:04 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


TDT: Not enough favorites in the entire Universe for that.
posted by The Bellman at 9:04 AM on December 6, 2011


and what does Mamet have to say about all this?
posted by reverend cuttle at 9:05 AM on December 6, 2011


Mammoths: the big bug scourge of the tundra.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:08 AM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know who else isn't a dinosaur?
posted by rahnefan at 9:08 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's right. Pteranodon.
posted by rahnefan at 9:09 AM on December 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


well, to be serious... it seems reasonable that it was a combination of habitat loss and hunting. They lost something like 90% of their habitat because of climate change, which isn't insignificant, combine that with increased predation by humans and yeah good recipe for extinction.
posted by edgeways at 9:10 AM on December 6, 2011


Problem is...
To properly Socialize the Baby mammoth clone the scientists put the young mammoth in with an elephant colony. Within minutes the younger pachyderms run over and start to beat the living snot out of the mammoth.
The mammoth gets up bloodied and bruised and thinks "F*CKING Skinheads"

Thanks I will be here all week.
posted by mrgroweler at 9:16 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


sourbrew: "How long till I can get a mammoth steak?"

Depends. Do you want it fresh or frozen?
posted by caution live frogs at 9:16 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would be a hybrid of sorts, I suppose. However, it would genetically be a mammoth, meaning that if you got hold of male and female DNA, you could make a breeding pair - and their offspring would be a full-on mammoth. FOR SCIENCE!
posted by ZsigE at 9:27 AM on December 6, 2011


If all you study is mammoths it might be disputed. But as part of a pattern of mega-fauna extinctions at around the same time, anything other than "we killed them" looks pretty implausible.

Wouldn't megafauna be subject to the same general climate pressures? There were mass extinctions before humans arrived on the scene, so I'd say an series of extinctions that aren't primarily caused by humans is at least plausible. If the 90% of habitat loss that edgeways cites is right, it's seems incredibly plausible.

I'll freely admit that I have no training in or deep knowledge of this area, but blaming it on humans looks like it could be projecting backwards from more recent history, when the two aren't necessarily related.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:30 AM on December 6, 2011


I was in a conversation about this story last night and when one of us admitted they were really wondering if they'd be able to eventually eat mammoth the rest of us all admitted that we were thinking the exact same thing.

If Skyrim had mammoth steaks instead of mammoth snout, the idea might not turn my stomach so.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:35 AM on December 6, 2011


When I'm dictator I plan to shut down the manned space flight program and put the money into a pleistocene megafauna zoo. Neither has scientific value, but the zoo would be way more cool than watching some guy drink recycled pee and poke frozen rocks.
posted by efbrazil at 9:39 AM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


If it's five years away, it's ten years away. If it's ten years away, it'll never happen.
posted by rebent at 9:45 AM on December 6, 2011


There wasn't even enough money in the now-defunct manned spaceflight program to power the armed forces' overseas A/C for a week, much less develop the awesomeness that would be Pleistocene Park.
posted by elizardbits at 9:47 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm going to run out into the street and tell the first child I see that Snuffleupagus will soon be real.
posted by greenland at 9:51 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


In addition to ticket sales, we can defund the army once we train a clone army of these. Sounding practical yet?
posted by efbrazil at 9:53 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


At the Discovery Channel headquarters in Silver Spring, they have this little model of a Wooly Mammoth that's basically the size of a large dog, say lab sized.

The pygmy mammoth did exist. Granted it was still 4.5 feet at the shoulders and 2000 lbs, but if they cloned that they'd sure have a good head start towards lab-sized.

I want one so much
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:05 AM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mammoths, schmammoths. I'm holding out for OLIPHAUNTS.
posted by cenoxo at 10:08 AM on December 6, 2011


***Furiously flintknapping***
posted by steef at 10:11 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't be the only one who read that quote in Jeff Goldblum's voice and mannerisms, right?

I heard it as Barry Corbin. "General Beringer: [smiles sarcastically at McKittrick] Mr. McKittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your new defense system sucks. "
posted by phearlez at 10:13 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sort of riffing off of Jurassic Park, do we know what mammoths ate and is it still around? Will they be able to digest modern plants? Is being gestated in an elephant enough to transfer some of the intestinal flora that modern animals have? It would seem to me to be the ultimate cruelty to create an animal that could barely survive in our modern world just to say you could.
posted by tommasz at 10:25 AM on December 6, 2011


The Bellman: TDT: Not enough favorites in the entire Universe for that.

So that the rest of you don't have to waste your time wondering, he's referring to the corgi cartoon link by The Devil Tesla.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:40 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Notable quote from the FPP article
..like bringing in a potentially invasive species that would try to fill some space presently held by other animal(s). Even if the cloned animals were contained in special parks, there could still be a risk of spreading.
Is this some 22 year old hack writers idea of a "balanced" story? I mean, there is an elephant park in Tennessee. Mammoths, like elephants, take decades to breed, unlike invasive species such as insects and weeds and fish and snails and clams which breed by the millions in short periods of times. If a journalist wants to add tension by spinning up reasons why the Mammoth would be dangerous, they should look elsewhere, Mammoths taking over is not high on the list of possibilities.
posted by stbalbach at 10:45 AM on December 6, 2011


Actually it's the mastodon that is a dinosaur.
posted by Lou Stuells at 10:46 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I, for one, welcome ...yadda, yadda, yadda.

our trombipulating clone overlords.
posted by y2karl at 10:49 AM on December 6, 2011


It would seem to me to be the ultimate cruelty to create an animal that could barely survive in our modern world just to say you could.

There is no end to that scale, no ultimate cruelty to inflict. At least this, if it works, will reintroduce a bit of lost variety and wonder back into the world, and that's a large objective good, although there may be a number of smaller bads tied in with that concerning the fate of the first cloned animals. It might end up being a sad, lonely life.

Any sci-fi authors reading this, there really are a plethora of science fiction stories that could be written here. Would we try to reestablish them into the wild or keep them in captivity forever? With global warming encroaching and pre-existing arctic species feeling pressed, where would we be able to establish them? What if it turns out that they actually thrive, would we then have to worry about this extinct throwback making an unexpected resurgence and crowding out other species?
posted by JHarris at 10:51 AM on December 6, 2011


mastodon != dinosaur
posted by rahnefan at 10:52 AM on December 6, 2011


Holy crap! This might have already posted somewhere upthread, but I don't immediately see it, and my friend just sent it to me, and I'm kind of freaking out right now.

AWESOME FORESHADOWING IN JURASSIC PARK.

posted by phunniemee at 10:52 AM on December 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Mammoths taking over is not high on the list of possibilities

I mean, their holy book is called "To Serve Man"--what could possibly go wrong?
posted by yoink at 11:16 AM on December 6, 2011


Assuming that cloning an extinct mammoth even works, what if the process also re-introduces a detrimental genetic characteristic or vulnerability that harms modern elephants?

From The Human Genome Project's Cloning Fact Sheet:
What are the risks of cloning?

Reproductive cloning is expensive and highly inefficient. More than 90% of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. More than 100 nuclear transfer procedures could be required to produce one viable clone. In addition to low success rates, cloned animals tend to have more compromised immune function and higher rates of infection, tumor growth, and other disorders. Japanese studies have shown that cloned mice live in poor health and die early. About a third of the cloned calves born alive have died young, and many of them were abnormally large. Many cloned animals have not lived long enough to generate good data about how clones age. Appearing healthy at a young age unfortunately is not a good indicator of long-term survival. Clones have been known to die mysteriously. For example, Australia's first cloned sheep appeared healthy and energetic on the day she died, and the results from her autopsy failed to determine a cause of death.
As Dr. Malcolm warned, "Life will find a way." but it may be a dead end.
posted by cenoxo at 11:40 AM on December 6, 2011


Clones have been known to die mysteriously.

Nonsense. The one who died mysteriously was the real Paul McCartney, not the clone.
posted by The World Famous at 11:47 AM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


In the context of mass extinction and global warming, I'll file this away as performance art.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:05 PM on December 6, 2011


It would seem to me to be the ultimate cruelty to create an animal that could barely survive in our modern world just to say you could.

Let me introduce you to Foofoo the poodle, Barney the pug, and an all-breast-meat turkey that can't reproduce on his own who we haven't bothered to name. Also, some of the grain the turkey eats, which was grown from terminator seeds.

The MIT Bioengineering Performance Art Laboratory is working on creating an animal that just sits there and whispers "kill me" repeatedly. Damn it, Stagger Lee.
posted by XMLicious at 12:07 PM on December 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


cenoxo: Assuming that cloning an extinct mammoth even works, what if the process also re-introduces a detrimental genetic characteristic or vulnerability that harms modern elephants?

Seems unlikely unless the project is both successful and so badly mismanaged that they get bred into the main elephant gene pool. For that to happen, either mammoths or hybrids would have to be released into the wild alongside elephants (which is hardly the correct habitat for the mammoth) or the elephant would have to go extinct in the wild and then the mammoths would have to be bred into the zoo population. Highly unlikely either way.

The other possibility is the mammoth might have a retrovirus that might go active and get into the elephant population, but I think that's pretty unlikely. Anything unsubtle is going to be noticed in zoo animals connected to the mammoth project before it can get into the main populations.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:09 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bulgaroktonos, do not show your wife the Sokoblovsky Farms site, breeders of Petite Lap Giraffes. She will squee herself into a coma.

While the possibility of resurrecting mammoths has been obvious for awhile, I'm still a little proud of myself for calling this eight years ago (in a Kuro5hin essay, no less - hey, it's still around!) For the record, after the mammoths are back, I'd like to resurrect:
  1. Moa (Dinornis maximus and related). Giant flightless bird, native to New Zealand, made extinct by the Maori.
  2. Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus). Wiped out by hunting and trapping by European colonists.
  3. European Lion (Leo leo Europea). Last described 100AD. Larger than its African cousin. Likely wiped out by Roman expansion in Europe.
  4. The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus).
  5. Harpagornis, or Haast eagle, the largest eagle in the world.
  6. Elephant Bird (Vouron Patra). A native of Madagascar, likely made extinct by encroachment on its habitat and the theft of its eggs. Last survivor recorded in 1658.

posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 12:22 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "let's all clone mammoths!!" news hits the wires on occasion after a new frozen tissue discover or genomic work, and it seems more gimmick than real science. I don't hear the idea coming from the majority of elephant geneticists, for example. (and without revealing too much, I'm a member of that group)

Folks here have already touched on some of the issues with the idea; gestation (how do we know the gestational period is the same for both?) and maternal effects of the mother elephant/incubator, social behavior in elephants, retroviruses, ecological adaptation.

Cloning one individual does not a species make, it just the makes essentially reanimated museum specimen. There's the choices they have to make about which elephant is going to be carrying the mammoth, considering the great deal of genetic variation and deep population divides in extant elephant species. Not to mention, the whole rapidly declining numbers and multiple regional extinctions in modern elephants. Not to mention the cruelty of making a female elephant nothing more than an incubator. So if they are serious, there are some real ethical and biological issues to iron out.

But this is why I question their legitimacy, if they were going to do this, the first step would be to clone an asian elephant into an african elephant. Two existing species for which we already know a great deal about, physiologically. What would be the hesitation in doing so? That's why I call shenanigans.
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 1:39 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


The MIT Bioengineering Performance Art Laboratory is working on creating an animal that just sits there and whispers "kill me" repeatedly.

Pfft. I won't be happy until it helps me select the cut.
posted by phearlez at 2:57 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, it is SO best dinosaur linking time. You are welcome.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:18 PM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, it is SO best dinosaur linking time. You are welcome.

Oh man, I went in to work for a few hours several weeks ago at this place I used to work at and noticed that the rubber band ball I started back when I actually worked there had blossomed into a glorious 5" in diameter monstrosity. My coworker and I took it apart to see how many rubber bands were inside it, then email quizzed other no-longer-working-there coworkers to see who could guess the closest. The prize was that I would mspaint the winner the dinosaur of their choice.

The winner chose ankylosaurus.

Here he is.

p.s. FUCK YOU, spell check! It's saying that I misspelled "ankylosaurus" and wants to replace it with "tyrannosaurus". HOW DEEP DOES THE CONSPIRACY GO?!
p.p.s. The answer was 1027. 1027 rubber bands.

posted by phunniemee at 3:44 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also lemme get a couple giant ground sloths, cave bears, Irish elk and a battalion of sabre-toothed tigers.

And if we're cloning animals from harvested DNA now, somebody should grow us some giant squid. They can use my backyard.
posted by TheRedArmy at 3:44 PM on December 6, 2011


stbalbach: "… unlike invasive species such as insects and weeds and fish and snails and clams which breed by the millions in short periods of times. If a journalist wants to add tension by spinning up reasons why the Mammoth would be dangerous, they should look elsewhere …"

To be fair to the likely idiot 'journalist' who probably just pasted the article together from press releases, there's much much more to an organism's invasive potential than mere reproductive rate.
posted by Pinback at 3:53 PM on December 6, 2011


Fashion a real live Troglodyte. It could be the symbol of the political far right wing.
posted by Cranberry at 4:01 PM on December 6, 2011


somebody should grow us some giant squid

they're already growing on their own in the horrible deeps.

lurking

waiting

hungering

posted by elizardbits at 4:05 PM on December 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


In this era, when technology and materialism flourish, we want to take a careful look at the thinking of the times and ask ourselves whether or not this is a good age to live in. Science has made great advances in technology and that certainly counts as good. But we should also realize the truth of the saying, anything taken to the ultimate point transforms into its opposite.
Ven. Hsuan Hua

from "Electric Brains" and Other Menaces"
posted by sensi63 at 4:38 PM on December 6, 2011


The article doesn't mention frog DNA, why would they need that anyway?

To follow in the footsteps of Jurassic Park. Anyway, mammoths are cool as long as they don't clone Ogres.

Or bears.
posted by ersatz at 5:31 PM on December 6, 2011


I feel the need to point of the latest Fiction Fights with Mefi's Own Cortex was all about dinosaurs
posted by The Whelk at 5:35 PM on December 6, 2011


If all you study is mammoths it might be disputed. But as part of a pattern of mega-fauna extinctions at around the same time, anything other than "we killed them" looks pretty implausible.

Pretty sure it was climate changes, not humans, that killed off the mammoths. As the ice retreated over North America, entire ecosystems were changed. It's hard to imagine small groups of humans dispersed over an entire continent having such a large impact on what had been a successful species. Plus, bison coexisted with humans for millenia until the arrival of European colonizers.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:45 PM on December 6, 2011


Perhaps the Ice Age humans who had never seen elephants just went around pointing and laughing at the woolly mammoths and their feelings were hurt terminally.
posted by XMLicious at 12:09 AM on December 7, 2011


Mammoths taking over is not high on the list of possibilities.

Oh yeah? "Like Pablo Escobar, these big guys probably won't go quietly... they may have to be shot, like their former owner - gunned down on the run."
posted by sneebler at 11:52 AM on December 7, 2011


Perhaps the Ice Age humans who had never seen elephants just went around pointing and laughing at the woolly mammoths and their feelings were hurt terminally.

Somehow, I find that rather unlikely.
posted by y2karl at 11:14 AM on December 8, 2011


Seriously, we're going with "elemoth" over "mammephant???"

elephino
posted by banshee at 4:42 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


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