Monday, December 5, 2011

Global Warming FTW

Apparently scientists have found well-preserved bone marrow from a woolly mammoth.

Why is this a big deal? Because it means that they now might be able to clone one, by implanting the mammoth DNA inside an elephant. The claimed time frame is five years. I'm guessing there's a margin of error there, but it sure is cool.

And how did they get access to this pristine specimen?
Warmer temperatures tied to global warming have thawed ground in eastern Russia that is almost always permanently frozen. As a result, researchers have found a fair number of well-preserved frozen mammoths there, including the one that yielded the bone marrow.
That's right, when you're riding around town on your pet woolly mammoth in 10 years time, be sure to thank the guy driving around in the Hummer. Glorious consumption AND prehistoric animals brought back from the dead!

The article also ends with one of the most hilariously lame warning notes I've read in ages:
Is it such a good idea, however, to clone animals that have long been extinct? For a while there's been some discussion of a real life Jurassic Park setup containing such animals. Introducing these beasts into existing ecosystems could be 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.
Yes, because when I think 'invasive species', my mind immediately turns to ... woolly mammoths. You know, if one gets loose in Oklahoma, it'll just start reproducing like crazy, and we'll never be able to track them all down. Because Lord knows it's not easy to spot an elephant-sized prehistoric creature walking around - people may confuse it with, say, a minibus or a carnival ride. And it might end up filling the niche in the ecosystem currently occupied by the Bald Eagle, the Atlantic Salmon or the Prairie Dog.

Here's my red hot prediction - everybody's concerns about 'Jurassic Park'-style scenarios are going to evaporate within two seconds of the birth of the woolly mammoth, as they realise how awesome it is to have crazy prehistoric animals walking around again.

No comments:

Post a Comment