Scientists Want to Bring Back Woolly Mammoths

Scientists Want to Bring Back Woolly Mammoths

( – It’s been said truth is stranger than fiction. What if both merged one day? That situation came one step closer with the recent announcement a group of scientists is about to embark on an ambitious Jurassic Park-like project.

On September 13, biotech startup Colossal Laboratories and Biosciences announced it had raised millions of dollars to resurrect woolly mammoths, a species of warm-blooded mammals resembling elephants that last roamed the earth regularly about 10,000 years ago. Scientists believe a combination of climate change and human hunters drove the creatures to extinction.

Colossal co-founder George Church, Ph.D., is a professor at Harvard University and MIT and is globally recognized as a leader in genomics. For the last several years, he has focused his research on engineering a hybrid embryo carrying the genetic traits of a mammoth and an Asian elephant. The process involves using a powerful gene-editing device called CRISPR to splice DNA samples from both species.

Church’s partner, Ben Lamm, is a serial technology and software entrepreneur. The two men hope to resurrect mammoths as part of an endeavor to combat the effects of climate change. According to Colossal, the Arctic region’s Mammoth Steppe was once the planet’s biggest ecosystem. They believe mammoths played a huge role in maintaining the health of that vast landmass, which they theorize helped control Earth’s climate.

Lamm says the re-wilding of the new mammoths, or “mammophants,” as some people call them, is at least 15 years in the future. However, he related his investors are in no rush.

The potential implications of such an experiment stagger the mind. Imagine the possibility of re-engineering extinct creatures, not just to combat climate change, but for any purpose we deem worthwhile?

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