At times they sounded like villains from a Michael Crichton novel.
March 9, 2017 2:06 PM   Subscribe

Two Russian scientists are fighting to save the earth from climate change by restoring the Pleistocene grasslands in the Siberian Arctic. This includes re-establishing herds of bison, musk oxen, wild horses -- and woolly mammoths.
posted by suelac (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I liked John Varley's "totally not a screenplay" version, Mammoth
posted by mikelieman at 2:14 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Absolutely fascinating, althought a little worring in its own way. That Beringian soil! Still, I'd never given grass it's due before. Top stuff.
posted by Peter B-S at 3:39 PM on March 9


At times they sounded like villains from a Michael Crichton novel.

And not just because they accept the consensus on climate change.
posted by howfar at 4:04 PM on March 9 [14 favorites]


Nonsense. The villain of Michael Chrichton novels is almost invariably Science.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:10 PM on March 9 [4 favorites]


Instead, the embryos will have to be nurtured in an engineered environment, most likely a tiny sac of uterine cells at first, and then a closet-size tank where the fetus can grow into a fully formed, 200-pound calf.
It's a good sign that your proposal is really out there when it casually takes major breakthroughs in other disciplines for granted.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:48 PM on March 9 [12 favorites]


Gonna need some saber-toothed kittehs to thin the herds, that's all I'm saying
posted by Ber at 8:38 PM on March 9 [5 favorites]


I was looking at some other stuff and actually ended up stumbling across what I believe to be the academic article mentioned by the atlantic article, here. In case anyone is interested.
posted by Peter B-S at 9:01 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I need a throne of sabre tooth tiger skulls.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:40 PM on March 9


YEEEEEEEESSSSS!!!! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!!!!

Then bring back the ELASMOTHERIUM! You MUST bring back Elasmotherium!

And Paraceratherium! I want my own riding Paraceratherium!
posted by happyroach at 12:20 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


The most recent thing I read about woolly mammoths suggests that this species really can't be revived.

https://www.google.com/amp/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/39142941
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:43 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


And Paraceratherium! I want my own riding Paraceratherium!

i can do you a paramecium if that's any good to you
posted by flabdablet at 5:21 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I'm tempted to make an off-color joke about this being another fine example of that mythologized Soviet Union era efficiency in problem solving, but I'm probably the least efficient German ever born, so probably not a good idea to trade in cheap cultural stereotypes from within my glass house. Can't help thinking this seems less like a serious attempt to solve global warming than strategic positioning to try to make the best of it and embrace it. It's scary that some political players now seem to want to actively accelerate the change to open up access to new oil fields, because the reality is, we don't have any way to anticipate what the real consequences will be, and systems theory strongly implies we can probably expect to see even more and various kinds of effects as the change accelerates, due to the effects of sensitive dependence on initial conditions on nonlinear, chaotic systems like climate and weather systems. Putting the foot on the accelerator and vaguely anticipating some way to profit off the chaos is very, very dangerous. There are some possible change scenarios that leave Earth with an inhospitable atmosphere for any life, potentially happening very suddenly, like a phase transition.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:04 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]


The most recent thing I read about woolly mammoths suggests that this species really can't be revived.

That article says that the mammoth population developed a lot of genetic problems shortly before they went extinct, probably due to low genetic diversity in a shrinking population. Presumably we also have surviving DNA from older, more genetically healthy mammoth populations. But we would have to build a very large, genetically robust population almost all at once. That's not very likely, unless we want to invest a few billion dollars in a (*ahem*) mammoth effort.
posted by jedicus at 8:59 AM on March 10 [2 favorites]


Bah. I was going to post this under the title Pleistocene Model. Missed my chance.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:57 AM on March 16


Stop motion reanimation?
posted by flabdablet at 9:51 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


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