HomeNewsHarvard Scientists Get $15M to Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth and People are Not Convinced

Harvard Scientists Get $15M to Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth and People are Not Convinced

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Jean-Marc ZAORSKI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Scientific advancements in genetics have been progressing at a rapid pace over the past few decades. In 1996, a team from the Roslin Institute in Scottland successfully cloned the first mammal, Dolly the Sheep, from a single adult cell. And in February, scientists extracted a complete DNA sequence from the tooth of a Woolly Mammoth. The sample roamed the earth over a million years ago. So now, Harvard Scientists want to use that DNA to clone the prehistoric creature.

George Church, a geneticist from Harvard’s Medical School, is heading the project. His work is being made possible with a $15 million backing from Collassol Laboratories. Scientists believe that reintroducing the Woolly Mammoth to the Arctic Tundra could restore the ecosystem and, in turn, reverse climate change.

But the 21st century Mammoth won’t be an identical match to the hairy elephant of the ice age. The DNA sequence on hand is too damaged. Instead, scientists plan to engineer a hybrid version that will look just like its not-so-distant relative. And if all goes as planned, Harvard will have calves within six years.

People are Not Convinced That Resurrecting The Woolly Mammoth is a Great Idea

But as groundbreaking and useful as the project may seem, it’s not without its ethical and worrisome dilemmas. Replicating a six metric ton creature that lived on Earth when the planet was in an entirely different state of being certainly sounds like the plot of an apocalyptic movie. Or, as one person pointed out—it sounds like a Michael Crichton book.

“Like we already know how this ends right?” one person Tweeted. And it does make you wonder. What happens when giant prehistoric creatures roam a modern-day planet. Could it lead to the same outcome as Jurrasic Park?

And as another person pointed out, how will the woolly mammoth learn to be a woolly mammoth?

“This is a really bad idea: once we’ve grown a baby woolly mammoth there won’t be any adults to teach it whatever the hell it is mammoths used to do.” Most species rely on parents to teach them how to behave and survive.

In this case, the mammoth would just jump a few thousand millennia in the future and be on its own. But on the bright side, maybe the experiment will help us solve the chicken or the egg conundrum.

And lastly, one user made a very wise prediction. And it speaks for itself.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Right?