Scientists Believe They Can Bring the Wooly Mammoth Back

Scientists Believe They Can Bring the Wooly Mammoth Back

Bella DeNicholas, Editor and Reporter

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Scientists are using DNA to “genetically resurrect” the wooly mammoth, and extinct species. This idea is similar to the idea behind the Jurassic Park films. Harvard University genetics professor George Church hopes the company doing this can “usher in an era when mammoths ‘walk the arctic again.’” To be sure of correctly bringing back the wooly mammoths, scientists proposed the idea that they could create a hybrid. This would be created using a gene-editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9 to take pieces of recovered DNA from frozen mammoth specimens into an Asian Elephant. The Asian Elephant is a wooly mammoth’s closest known relative. The resulting animal in this – known as a “mammophant” – would look, and behave, like a wooly mammoth. Scientists are still working on it, but they believe they can bring the mammoth back, though a six year timeline is exceptionally short. 


Some Say Reintroducing the Mammoth Could Help Reverse Climate Change – 


Church and other believers believe that resurrecting the mammoth would “plug a hole in the ecosystem left by their decline about 10,000 years ago.” When mammoths were alive they scraped away layers of snow so that cold air could reach the soil. This was in order to maintain the permafrost. After mammoths disappeared, the snow melted resulting in the release of greenhouse gasses. George Church along with others believe bringing the mammoth back would mean potentially fixing this. 


Bringing Back Endangered Species –


If it does become possible to bring back the wooly mammoth, why not bring back endangered species? The possibility of the wooly mammoth returning could help endangered species like the white rhino and giant panda, maybe more animals. 


Mammoths Helping Climate Change, But Might Upset Ecosystems –


Ecosystems are very delicate, when bringing back species scientists must be careful. When mammoths became extinct, they left a hole in their ecosystem. Over the hundreds of years, the surviving plants and animals have adapted, almost imperfectly. Trying to bring back a new species could disrupt this, and who knows if mammoths could adapt to the new. 


All in all, bringing back the mammoth would be a great achievement for scientists, but the costs of it are unknown.