So-called “scientists” say we can fight climate change by bringing back the woolly mammoth.
How? Will they shit more? Will they sprout leaves?
Having once lived across much of Europe, North America and northern Asia, the iconic Ice Age species went into a terminal decline some 10,000 years ago.
The demise of the creatures — which could grow to some 11–12 feet tall and weigh up to 6 tonnes — has been linked to warming climates and hunting by our ancestors.
Now, a US-based bioscience and genetics company, Colossal, has succeeded in raising $15 million (£10.8 million) in funding to bring back this prehistoric giant.
The program — not the first to imagine mammoth ‘de-extinction’ — is being pitched as a way to help conserve Asian elephants by tweaking them to suit life in the Arctic.
The team also claimed that introducing the hybrids into the Arctic steppe might help restore the degraded habitat and fight some of the impacts of climate change.
In particular, they argued, the elephant–mammoth mixes would knock down trees, thereby helping to restore Arctic grasslands — which keeps the ground cool.
It would also help these environments better sequester greenhouse gases.
Colossal is the brainchild of the Texan tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm and the pioneering but controversial Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church.
‘Our goal is to make a cold-resistant elephant, but it is going to look and behave like a mammoth,’ Professor Church told the Guardian.
‘Not because we are trying to trick anybody, but because we want something that is functionally equivalent to the mammoth.’
The hybrid species, he explained, would ‘enjoy its time at -40°C [-40°F], and do all the things that elephants and mammoths do, in particular knocking down trees.’