the woolly mammoth rises again!

Woolly Frickin' Mammoth, yo!

So how frickin’ cool is this? There are plans afoot (oh, those scientists! Always up to mischief!) to take the now-discovered-to-be-viable sperm from Woolly Mammoth corpses preserved in the tundra, and use it to impregnate an Asian Elephant, their closest living relative.

Not a particular Asian Elephant. That would be pervy, and more than a little strange. It’s not like they’ve been lying in the permafrost, waiting for some Indian Britney of pachydermic pulchritude to mature before awakening their long-dormant seed, like so many lusty geezers in a home, gathered around the tv, watching Miss Universe.

No, this is, like, way more normal and not at all Jurassic Parkian, oh not in the least. All perfectly safe, they assure us, the scientists.

The scientists whose reputations and fortunes depend upon doing this, regardless of the risks, are quite adamant that it’s not going to be another Jurassic Park in any way, shape or form.

Oh, hold the phone:

A team of Japanese genetic scientists aims to bring woolly mammoths back to life and create a Jurassic Park-style refuge for resurrected species. The effort has garnered new attention as a frozen mammoth is drawing crowds at the 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, Japan…

Their plan: to retrieve sperm from a mammoth frozen in tundra, use it to impregnate an elephant, and then raise the offspring in a safari park in the Siberian wild.

Mammoth herd, how frickin' cool is that?Well, nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan; if the not-really-woolly-but-perhaps-in-need-of-a-good-waxer half-breed herd got loose in the Siberian Tundra, there’s no way they could survive an environme-

Well. Still. Frickin’ cool. Even the Times lost its treasured journalistic objectivity over this one:

Mammoths may roam again after 27,000 years
By Mark Henderson, Science Editor
 
BODIES of extinct Ice Age mammals, such as woolly mammoths, that have been frozen in permafrost for thousands of years may contain viable sperm that could be used to bring them back from the dead, scientists said yesterday.
Research has indicated that mammalian sperm can survive being frozen for much longer than was previously thought, suggesting that it could potentially be recovered from species that have died out.

Several well-preserved mammoth carcasses have been found in the permafrost of Siberia, and scientists estimate that there could be millions more.

Last year a Canadian team demonstrated that it was possible to extract DNA from the specimens, and announced the sequencing of about 1 per cent of the genome of a mammoth that died about 27,000 years ago.

With access to the mammoth’s genetic code, and with frozen sperm recovered from testes, it may be possible to resurrect an animal that is very similar to a mammoth.

The mammoth is a close genetic cousin of the modern Asian elephant, and scientists think that the two may be capable of interbreeding.

The frozen mammoth sperm could be injected into elephant eggs, producing offspring that would be 50 per cent mammoth

“Restoration of extinct species could be possible if male individuals are found in permafrost,” Dr Ogonuki said.

“If sperm of extinct mammalian species, for example the woolly mammoth, can be retrieved from animal bodies that were kept frozen for millions of years in permanent frost, live animals might be restored by injecting them into oocytes [eggs] from females of closely related species.”

Although without question the proud daddy will be disinherited immediately. They’re very old-fashioned, you know.

Mammoth skeleton, unlikely to become a daddy at this point but still frickin' cool!

6 thoughts on “the woolly mammoth rises again!

  1. The woolly mammoth – my favourite thing about Victoria! Now what I want to know is, who are these scientists who saw Jurassic Park, and thought “Good idea!”? Maybe they need a Royal BC Museum of their own, so they can experience the warm fuzzies of a good woolly mammoth diorama.

  2. There’s no idea so crazy that the Japanese won’t try it, at least once. Still not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but as long as it’s confined to Hello Kitty Darth Vaders and the like, it’s pretty harmless. I’m not sure bioengineering a herd of woolly mammoths is quite on the same level.

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