Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Hold on to your butts: scientists want to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction

Hold onto your butts.

Hold on to your butts: scientists want to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction

Hold on to your butts.

Scientists have been able to bring species back from extinction. Well, kind of. They successfully cloned a Pyrenean ibex (kind of like a goat) and it lived for a few minutes. The process was very similar to how they created Dolly the sheep.

A group of Australian scientists recently discussed their attempt to bring a weird frog back from extinction.

Last week at a conference in Washington, scientists from Australia reported on their attempt to bring back a weird frog, the Southern gastric brooding frog, that went extinct about a quarter century ago. So far they have only made early embryos, which have died.

And it doesn't seem to stop at frogs. Scientists have their eyes on the prize and are looking at new methods of being able to undo the extinction of species.

But new DNA technologies have suggested another way to bring back extinct species, and all that is needed is some genetic material. The idea is to compare the DNA of the extinct species to that of a closely related existing species and then start substituting chunks of the extinct species’ DNA into the DNA in cells of the existing species. Then those hybrid cells would be used to clone. After a while, the resulting bird or animal would have enough of the extinct species’ DNA to closely resemble it.

HAS NO ONE SEEN JURASSIC PARK?! Seriously, this is exactly how Jurassic Park played out. They extracted dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes that had been fossilized by tree sap. Then, they completed the dino genetic code with frog DNA, which allowed the dinosaurs to spontaneously reproduce even though there were no male dinosaurs. Then that one guy was eaten while he was on the toilet and the Velociraptors scared the hell out of everyone.

This is not a method that could be used to create Jurassic Park, though, because there appears to be no dinosaur DNA.

Oh. The issue doesn't have anything to do with the scientific and moral lessons contained within the film, it's that we haven't found dinosaur DNA yet? Looks like the scientists watched the movie, but didn't really see the film because THIS VIOLATES ALL OF THE SCIENTIFIC AND MORAL LESSONS CONTAINED WITHIN THE FILM. Now, real-life scientists are talking about how rad it would be to bring back the saber tooth tiger.

Hank Greely, the director of the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University, notes that this would be nothing like Jurassic Park.

“For me, it’s just would just be so cool to see a woolly mammoth or a saber tooth tiger or a ground sloth,” Mr. Greely said.

“We are not talking Jurassic Park,” Mr. Greely said. “We are talking Pleistocene Park, 100,000 or 200,000 years ago.” And, he added, “there are an awful lot of cool things that died within the past 200,000 years .” [New York Times]

Ugh. Tell 'em, Jeff Goldblum.

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