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(Mother Nature Network)   Bringing a woolly mammoth back from extinction is all fun and games until it's time to figure out who is in charge of cleaning up its poop   (mnn.com) divider line 50
    More: Obvious, Ancient DNA, George Church, University of New South Wales  
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6360 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Mar 2013 at 8:25 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-19 02:53:43 AM  
<i>no one has ever been able to harvest eggs from an elephant </i>  -  "Hold her still Bob, I'm goin' in..."
 
2013-03-19 08:25:01 AM  
Well it would have to be kept in captivity.  Its evolutionary niche evaporated many years ago, I doubt it would thrive in the wild.  It may not even survive in captivity, who knows what infectious diseases might be able to take something like that down.
 
2013-03-19 08:28:03 AM  
Yeah, because an animal that was adapted to living during the ice ages would do really well in the wild on a planet that is much hotter than it was originally used to, and getting warmer.
 
2013-03-19 08:28:18 AM  
"Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?"

What would be do them?

That's some quality copywriting there Lou.
 
2013-03-19 08:28:37 AM  
Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?


What do?!
 
2013-03-19 08:29:06 AM  
FTA: "Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?"

Huh?
 
2013-03-19 08:30:07 AM  

WordsnCollision: FTA: "Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?"

Huh?


Shakes tiny fist, goes for coffee.
 
2013-03-19 08:30:23 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: Yeah, because an animal that was adapted to living during the ice ages would do really well in the wild on a planet that is much hotter than it was originally used to, and getting warmer.


I think we should just seed antarctica with taiga grasses and turn it into pleistocene park. Fill it with wooly mammoths, cave bears, wooly rhinos, aurochs, and an apex predator or two.(aside from the bears).
 
2013-03-19 08:30:49 AM  

nekom: Well it would have to be kept in captivity.  Its evolutionary niche evaporated many years ago, I doubt it would thrive in the wild.  It may not even survive in captivity, who knows what infectious diseases might be able to take something like that down.


How am I going to make that into a reality series? I say let them loose in Denver and load the cameras.
 
2013-03-19 08:32:06 AM  
 And what would we do them?

what would we do them indeed
 
2013-03-19 08:34:50 AM  
We would do them in the morning, we would do them in the night, we would do them when we want to do them.
 
2013-03-19 08:36:15 AM  

Raging Thespian: We would do them in the morning, we would do them in the night, we would do them when we want to do them.


Yo-diddle-la-HEE-hooo
EX IIIT LIIIIGHT

dangit
 
2013-03-19 08:36:26 AM  

Voiceofreason01: And what would we do them?

what would we do them indeed


Get an island of course. And make a park so people can visit it. Call it the Pliocene Park. And put Newman in charge of the security systems,

What could go wrong?
 
2013-03-19 08:38:14 AM  

WordsnCollision: FTA: "Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?"

Huh?


Eat them, probably.

I'm eagerly anticipating moa drumsticks.

/I'm next in line right after Louis Wu.
 
2013-03-19 08:38:15 AM  

neongoats: "Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?"



Kill it and find out what woolly mammoth steaks taste like.

/Tell me you aren't the least bit curious.
 
2013-03-19 08:38:58 AM  

neongoats: That's some quality copywriting editing there Lou.


Haven't seen a decent Rotsky lately.
 
2013-03-19 08:41:07 AM  

way south: neongoats: "Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?"


Kill it and find out what woolly mammoth steaks taste like.

/Tell me you aren't the least bit curious.


Nah, presuming they are similarly as smart as Asian elephants(closest still living relative) I would feel too bad about eating one to want to eat it. Be like eating a chimp, or a dolphin or an elephant, or a neanderthal, too close to sentience, heh.

I'm down with the kentucky friend Moa mentioned earlier though.
 
2013-03-19 08:42:16 AM  
Bringing back an extinct animal sounds horrendously lonely and depressing. Let it stay dead.
 
2013-03-19 08:43:56 AM  

Louisiana_Sitar_Club: Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?


What do?!


How are mammoth form?
 
2013-03-19 08:45:15 AM  
I, for one, would like to see T-Rex de-extinctified. Then I want there to be a hunting season.

See America, I DO need an RPG  for hunting.
 
2013-03-19 08:46:19 AM  
We can lock it in a big cage at a zoo.

Concrete floors with lots of Purina Mammoth Chow pellets for food.     He'll love it, and we'll make money off of it.

...anything for money
 
2013-03-19 08:46:46 AM  
Hunting regs for mammoth will require a spear of at least 20mm diameter and a length of at least 1.5 meters, made from oak or ash with a either a lapped flint or fire-hardened point. Chew-cured deerhide outerwear is optional.

i1-news.softpedia-static.com
 
2013-03-19 08:46:59 AM  
1) Invasive species debate. It's bad enough, the efforts needed to control species that invade from other regions.. think of species invading from other times.
2) Recreating an entire species just to permanently confine it's entire population to enclosures like zoos and the like? Or worse hunting reserves for hunters willing to drop big money for a unique trophy. I am suprised PETA isn't already preparing the campaign against that possibility
3) Food? Really? With Europe already gasping at the idea of eating foods with engineered DNA? Would anyone really think there will not be a big push back on this? Also see and apply food idea to item 2.
 
2013-03-19 08:47:29 AM  
Assuming we've got the technology to actually do this, may as well tinker with the genetics a bit a maybe make a short-haired mammoth so it's not so musky and hot.  And maybe make it twice the size with a super tough hide and maybe six tusks instead of just two.  And make them super aggressive too and then maybe make an amusement park or something or take them to war. The possibilities are endless.
 
2013-03-19 08:47:32 AM  
Sounds like one expensive pet.
 
2013-03-19 08:53:18 AM  

neongoats: "Should we bring back these species? And what would we do them?"

What would be do them?

That's some quality copywriting there Lou.


Clearly it's missing a comma.

" And what, would we do them?"

Er,  you can do them.  I don't go that way myself.
 
2013-03-19 08:55:52 AM  
Nothing could possibli go wrong!
 
2013-03-19 08:57:08 AM  
Is it just me or are thylacines incredibly freakin creepy? The name, the video footage of that one yawning with the gaint freakin jaws... They were also from Australia so they were probably poisonous. They just give me a serious case of the yips.
 
2013-03-19 08:57:40 AM  
imageshack.us

/oblig.
 
2013-03-19 09:00:26 AM  
Reconstructing a Megalonyx ground sloth at work now. These ankles and feet would be much easier if I could just put a bullet in the critter's head and chuck it in the beetle colony for a few weeks.

Seriously, I want ground sloths.
 
2013-03-19 09:02:16 AM  

way south: Kill it and find out what woolly mammoth steaks taste like.


The primal/paleo eaters would probably be the first in line.
 
2013-03-19 09:29:58 AM  
will they bring back their gut bacteria so they can eat?
 
2013-03-19 09:37:15 AM  
qoana.com
 
2013-03-19 09:44:31 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: Yeah, because an animal that was adapted to living during the ice ages would do really well in the wild on a planet that is much hotter than it was originally used to, and getting warmer.


Actually, mammoths and wooly rhinos WOULD do really well now. All the warming since the last ice age has opened up practically the entire circumpolar region to them. At the last glacial maximum ice covered most of North America down to about the present day Canadian-US border, restricting Pleistocene megafauna to a relatively narrow band of habitat across what is now the US. These days, though, that band of sub-arctic habitat extends from the Bering Sea in the west all across northern Alaska and Canada to Greenland...probably twice the area available 20,000 years ago.

The area in question is extremely thinly populated by humans, and the mammoths would be free to pretty much wander at will. Moreover, the first Ice Age "de-extinctified" megafauna, the Muskox, thrived when it was transplanted back to Alaska after being hunted to extinction by men with guns. And finally, the far north was the last refuge of the mammoths, which survived in isolated (from humans) pockets in the circumpolar regions until about 4,000 years ago, when they were finally hunted out.
 
2013-03-19 09:49:13 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: Yeah, because an animal that was adapted to living during the ice ages would do really well in the wild on a planet that is much hotter than it was originally used to, and getting warmer.


The funniest thing about this post is that I bet you think you know a lot about science and biology.
 
2013-03-19 10:12:14 AM  

"No animal, let alone a frog, has been known to do this - change one organ in the body into another," Archer said.



1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-03-19 10:31:14 AM  
Hans Voralberg would have approved.
 
2013-03-19 10:33:15 AM  
<i>a challenging prospect, as no one has ever been able to harvest eggs from an elephant </i>

img.21food.com
 
2013-03-19 10:48:00 AM  
 
2013-03-19 10:56:05 AM  
They totally need to bring them back. Polar bears need a different food source now that retreating sea ice is making it harder to hunt seals.
 
2013-03-19 11:43:06 AM  
the headline was amusing
 
2013-03-19 12:27:14 PM  
I expect there is an avid and well-to-do market of gardeners and organic farmers just waiting for mammoth manure. Not to mention mammoth meat, wool and ivory. The bones will make great fertilizer, the ligaments might be useful for bow strings or something.

In other words, you can make a mammoth killing raising the damn things. It's not a romantic or weird science plan. It's a business plan.

The biggest risk for bringing species back from extinction is the problem of ensuring they have appropriate habitat, but in the case of mammoths, I expect there is plenty of mixed forest at the edge of the tundra. I saw a map recently of the greening which is occurring due to global warming. It is massive. There would be a lot of land where mammoths could live in their native Siberia and some in Alaska and Canada. There may even be some room for them in Greenland soon.

Mammoth herding might give the Inuit and Siberians something to do and give the elephants some slack from poachers.
 
2013-03-19 12:38:55 PM  

Russ1642: They totally need to bring them back. Polar bears need a different food source now that retreating sea ice is making it harder to hunt seals.


Polar bears are solitary hunters. They probably would not be able to kill mammoths although they might scavenge dead mammoths or the odd baby mammoth from time to time.

Our wolves are too small to hunt mammoths I would think. The dire wolf might do the job--they were about four times the size of modern wolves if not larger. In the Ice Age, everything was larger at the fringes of the ice sheets because polar animals grow larger as an adaptation to the cold--volume increase as the cube of length while area increases as the square, thus a bigger animal is more firmly packed and less sensitive to temperature.

I don't think bringing back the dire wolf would be a good idea if its range over-lapped with humans. They would be horror movie-type predators.

But the mammoth is not a bad idea because its range overlapped largely with extinct humans who were adapted to the ice age habitats and to hunting. The Neanderthal was not only robust (big bones, stocky build, large body and brain case) but had larger eyes. Recent articles suggest that it was so well adapted to hunting that it lacked space in its larger brain for the human social skills that made us a successful successor to them.

If we used those slick brains of ours a bit better, we could replace the predators of mammoths and thus contribute to their successful re-establishment.

Of course, success with the mammoth would lead to demand for the recreation of more dangerous large mammals by hunters and safari park owners. This might result in the loss of a lot of farmland to exotic animal refugees for the entertainment of the very rich and stupid and thus be a Bad Thing, like the invention of golf.
 
2013-03-19 12:40:29 PM  

brantgoose: I expect there is an avid and well-to-do market of gardeners and organic farmers just waiting for mammoth manure. Not to mention mammoth meat, wool and ivory. The bones will make great fertilizer, the ligaments might be useful for bow strings or something.


I'll be first in line for mammoth jerkey.
 
2013-03-19 12:51:16 PM  

brilett: will they bring back their gut bacteria so they can eat?


They might not have to do this. The gut bacteria might still be around. Also, bacteria evolve rapidly. There's a good chance that many of the species in the gut of browsing mammals and for that matter, the permafrost, are the same species that mammoths hosted.

Good thinking, though. We'd need to think of similar problems and solve them before we could bring back many species.

The dodo, for example, was driven into extinction by egg loss more than anything. It's native island(s) are infested not only with humans, but cats, dogs, rats, etc.

It would be safe enough in zoos or private collections, but you'd have to cleanse its habitat of invasive species to re-establish it. Also, it ate the nuts of trees which, although they may survive, would need to be planted on a larger scale, cutting into land for human use. Some species of plants have managed to survive although the animals that originally spread their seeds are extinct. Several large tropical fruits rely on elephants, rhinos, and originally, even dinosaurs to spread their seeds and fertilize them.

Interspecies relationships can be so complex a web that the results of adding or subtracting keystone species is chaotic.

We'd need a lot of good ecologists to work out the rebuilding of habitats as well as the retro-engineering of species.

But that could be a good thing. A lot of native peoples need the work and as machines and technological progress wipes out entire classes (such as peasants and highly-paid skilled labour), we need to keep creating well-paid, pleasant jobs for the masses or else we will be wiped out in our turn by the upper classes.

Just a couple of centuries ago, many of today's developed nations were 95% peasants. Now, even if you count factory workers in canneries, etc., many of these are down to 2-6% or so. France still was 50% peasant in the 1920s and 30s. Despite the best attempts of the European Government, the peasantry are a dying class, their subsidies taken over by the mafia and the rural conservative.

Personally I would prefer dinosaurs to Senator Imhofe-Hotep or Viscount Christly Monckton.
 
2013-03-19 06:49:59 PM  

HMS_Blinkin: Yeah, because an animal that was adapted to living during the ice ages would do really well in the wild on a planet that is much hotter than it was originally used to, and getting warmer.


So shave it.
 
2013-03-19 09:30:24 PM  
I would like a franchise on mammoth poop. Who wouldn't want a souvenir? World wide market. Make a killing.
 
2013-03-19 10:32:13 PM  

brilett: will they bring back their gut bacteria so they can eat?


If it works the way I think it does, mammoth DNA is essentially injected into an elephants egg in vitro, which would then be carried to term in an elephant cow.

This describes the development of gut flora in human infants, I'd imagine it works pretty much the same for any mammal. From the differences in flora between caesarian vs natural birth and breast feeding vs formula, all providing viable gut flora in people, I'd imagine that a mammoth calf would be able to acquire viable gut flora from an elephant mother and its environment.

/So yes, I am kind of generally speculating and talking out of my ass; I'd genuinely like to know more from anyone farker who knows what they're talking about on the subject.
 
2013-03-20 12:27:01 AM  

iron de havilland: brilett: will they bring back their gut bacteria so they can eat?

If it works the way I think it does, mammoth DNA is essentially injected into an elephants egg in vitro, which would then be carried to term in an elephant cow.

This describes the development of gut flora in human infants, I'd imagine it works pretty much the same for any mammal. From the differences in flora between caesarian vs natural birth and breast feeding vs formula, all providing viable gut flora in people, I'd imagine that a mammoth calf would be able to acquire viable gut flora from an elephant mother and its environment.

/So yes, I am kind of generally speculating and talking out of my ass; I'd genuinely like to know more from anyone farker who knows what they're talking about on the subject.


I'm with you on this. They are really really really closely related to Asian elephants. I'm pretty confident they will acquire whatever gut flora necessary. Elephants still eat similar enough diets.
 
2013-03-20 03:49:46 PM  
As a mastadon-american, I am firmly against bringing back mammoths.
 
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