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Biotech Science

Extinct Mammoth, Coming To a Zoo Near You 312

Posted by timothy
from the no-unauthorized-reproduction dept.
Techmeology writes "Professor Akira Iritani of Kyoto University plans to use recent developments in cloning technology to give life to the currently extinct woolly mammoth. Although earlier efforts in the 1990s were unsuccessful due to damage caused by extreme cold, Professor Iritani believes he can use a technique pioneered by Dr Wakayama (who successfully cloned a frozen mouse) to overcome this obstacle. This technique will enable Professor Iritani to identify viable cell nuclei, and transfer them to egg cells of an African elephant which will carry the mammoth for a 600 day pregnancy."
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Extinct Mammoth, Coming To a Zoo Near You

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  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday January 15, 2011 @08:33PM (#34893314)

    Pleistocene park, coming soon to a zoo near you. Doesn't quite have the same ring as "Jurassic" though.

    Still I am willing to bet that this creature, if created, will be called "Manny", after our Ice Age mammoth movie star... any takers?

    • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:08PM (#34893532)

      Meh.

      We wiped them out once, we can do it again. If you're descended from genes too slow to outrun and outwit a woolly mammoth, how the fuck did you get here in the first place?

      • by JustOK (667959)

        The RCMP will save us again. The M is for Mamouth, and of course the old saying "We always get our mamouth."

      • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @09:02AM (#34896172)

        Considering that elephants can run at 40 km/h, which is 100 meters in 9 seconds flat, 200 meters in 18 seconds and 400 meters in 36 seconds, and the world records for those distances are 9.58, 19.19 and 43.18 seconds respectively, I fail to see how the inability to outrun a mammoth has ever been a problem.

        Granted, we have no real knowledge of their actual speeds, so it could be 5 km/h but it could also be 60 km/h like a giraffe or 50 km/h like a white rhinoceros.

        Humans have never really had a need to outrun any of our prey animals. We have relied on intelligence, stamina and weapons to take them down, not speed and strength.

        But I'm guessing that just means you didn't descend from genes smart enough to outwit a cow.

  • jaunty tune (Score:5, Funny)

    by bhcompy (1877290) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @08:36PM (#34893350)
    I recall the time they found those fossilized mosquitoes and before long they
    were cloning DNA
    Now I'm being chased by some irate velociraptors
    Well believe me...This has been one lousy day

    Jurassic Park is frightening in the dark
    All the dinosaurs are running wild
    Someone shut the fence off in the rain
    I admit it's kind of eerie

    But this proves my chaos theory
    And I don't think I'll be coming back again
    Oh no

    I cannot approve of this attraction
    'Cause getting disemboweled always makes me kind of mad
    A huge Tyrannosaurus ate our lawyer
    Well I suppose that proves...they're really not all bad

    Jurassic Park is frightening in the dark
    All the dinosaurs are running wild
    Someone let T. Rex out of his pen
    I'm afraid those things will harm me
    'Cause they sure don't act like Barney
    And they think that I'm they're dinner not their friend
    Oh no

    Jurassic Park is frightening in the dark
    All the dinosaurs are running wild
    What a crummy weekend this has been
    Well this sure ain't no E-ticket
    Think I'll tell 'em where to stick it
    'Cause I'm never coming back this way again
    Oh no...Oh no
    • Re:jaunty tune (Score:5, Informative)

      by Camel Pilot (78781) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:24PM (#34893612) Homepage Journal

      Come on give Weird Al his due

      • by bhcompy (1877290)
        I should have. My fault. Thought it was implied, but I guess that the plebes might not have listened to this particular classic.
        • by rubycodez (864176)

          and for Jimmy Webb, who wrote MacArthur Park , performed by Richard Harris, of which Weird Al's song was a parody. It's a metaphorical description of the tragic end of a love affair.

        • I was going to come to your defense because of the specific /. crowd, but even Catholics cite their quotations in Sunday mass.
    • Re:jaunty tune (Score:5, Interesting)

      by skine (1524819) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:56PM (#34893768)

      It seems a little strange to me that so many sciency-types tend to like Jurassic Park. I mean, yes it does have dinosaurs and a girl who loves Unix.

      OTOH: "Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

      So, in the end, the scientists are blamed for the whole thing. Not the person who decided to make it a theme park. Not the person who disabled all of the security. Not even the person whose job it was to think: "What if all of our security goes?"

      The scientists.

      • Re:jaunty tune (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @10:38PM (#34894012)

        The book was a little different. The blame IMO was more on the way the rich old tycoon wanted to exploit the park for profit at any cost. The movie made him out to be a benevolent grandpa wanting to give every kiddie a stuffed sauropod.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @08:49PM (#34893422) Homepage
    And the Dodo. Not to mention the Florida giant beaver.

    I can do without the giant sloth, short nosed bear, dire wolves or the saber tooth tigers.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:03PM (#34893496) Journal

    So who will be the lucky lady to carry for the first Neandertal born in 25,000 years?

    • by pspahn (1175617)

      I'm curious what the mother elephant will think when a mammoth pops out. Would the creature be accepted?

      • Most likely. It would smell like the mother and would be an obvious newborn once the mother gets up after giving birth. I realize it's not really analagous but growing up on a cattle farm we had a number of times where a mother which lost a calf would take on a new calf (after a bit of encouragement), so even without it being considered it's own initially (which it is), the baby would be able to be mothered all the same.

        Of course, we are worrying about a mammoth which would be cared for better then many m
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        I would guess the answer would be in looking at how elephants treat their offspring when their offspring are born with birth defects.
    • So who will be the lucky lady to carry for the first Neandertal born in 25,000 years?

      Actually sounds like a good idea for a reality show, when Charlie Sheen gets whored out . . . two and a half Neanderthals!

      But, I guess, most women folk already have experience with living with Neanderthals.

    • by Gothmolly (148874)

      Your wife?

  • Okay, time to be pedantic [wikipedia.org]. And while the good professor is at it, why not breed some Neanderthals, sabre-toothed cats, or my personal favorite, the hugest of the post-Dinotopian behemoths, the Indricotherium [wikipedia.org]?
    • Re:Pleistocene Park (Score:4, Informative)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:11PM (#34893548) Journal

      This technique, I suspect, requires a pretty close relationship. You could probably manage it with Neandertals because they are very close to us, genetically, as mammoths are fairly closely related to modern elephants, but for other extinct animals where there are no close living relatives, I doubt you would be successful.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Maybe they could do it over the course of several generations, by splicing genes in gradually. With the first generation, they'd splice in some genes, and create offspring with the closest living relative (for instance, the Indricotherium's closest relative is probably the Rhinoceros). This would effectively create a new species that's a hybrid. With the next generation, they'd splice in more of the original genes, yielding yet another new species, which is closer to the original prehistoric one than bef

  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:04PM (#34893510) Journal

    'Cause they might be yummy!

    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:42PM (#34893708) Journal

      Some specimens [straightdope.com] were preserved well enough for people to try to take a bite. Most accounts of this are dubious at best but a few more credible accounts of having eaten mammoth flesh described it as being quite nasty. This is to be expected of a carcass that has been sitting frozen and half rotten in the Arctic since the last ice age. Now supposing that we found a few cell nuclei that looked good, the most likely outcome would be several hundred failed attempts if prior cloning experience is any indication. Genetic damage could in principle be corrected to a degree by hybridizing the broken strands with a very closely related species (in the case of dinosaurs it would be bird DNA; Ostriches to be specific, not frogs as was suggested in the Jurassic Park movies)

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Our ancestors certainly thought so - I'm pretty sure they ate them all.

  • YaBaDaBaDoo (Score:5, Funny)

    by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:07PM (#34893530) Journal
    Excellent. I could use a baby mammoth to help with the dishes.
  • Know what would be cool? Create a new park in northern Canada and release some mammoths there.

    They would, of course, need enough forage. But once they begin to thrive, bring back sabor tooth tigers to control the mammoth population.

    It would beat polar bear watching in Churchill all to hell.
    • Why not Mammoth, California [google.com]?
      • I expect that a wild self-sustaining population would require an immense amount of land. Like Nunavut [polarnet.ca]

        And I doubt that they would adapt to California politics and life style. Everyone know elephants are Republicans.
        • And I doubt that they would adapt to California politics and life style. Everyone know elephants are Republicans.

          Well, that 's the clean-cut kind of elephant. I'm not sure I've ever described a Republican as "wooly".

    • Know what would be cool? Create a new park in northern Canada and release some mammoths there. They would, of course, need enough forage. But once they begin to thrive, bring back sabor tooth tigers to control the mammoth population.

      Cool idea overall, but the sabre-toothed tiger part is unnecessary. The most effective predator of the woolly mammoth is still available.

      -=Steve=-

    • But once they begin to thrive, bring back sabor tooth tigers to control the mammoth population.

      Once they begin to thrive, open a hunting season on them.

      • Agreed. But they have to hunt on foot. And they can only use fire and spears with flint heads for weapons.

        You know. Old school.
  • by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Saturday January 15, 2011 @09:33PM (#34893658) Homepage Journal

    If my theory is right and there is an ingredient in Mammoth meat that makes our species sane!

  • We can safely clone an animal that has been extinct and frozen for thousands on years.

    Soon we will be able to put our heads in cryofreeze and become slow time travelers to the future.

  • Two all mammoth patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!

  • once the mammoth is revived, how do we keep Sarah Palin from shooting it?

  • This is what we in the REAL world like to call a 'bad idea'.

    Didn't anyone see Jurassic Park?

    • This is what we in the REAL world like to call a 'bad idea'. Didn't anyone see Jurassic Park?

      This is what we in the /. world like to call "+1 unintentional irony" -- you realize that Jurassic Park wasn't REAL, right?

    • Yeah, those gentle herbivores could really wreak havoc!

  • It would be like a baboon giving surrogate birth to a chimpanzee. Their gene pools are different enough to prevent gestation, even using an elephant ovum to contain the mammoth's DNA to allow mitochondrial DNA compatibility.
  • Modern cloning techniques don't have a fantastic success rate (~10% last time I checked; 30% from TFA). Even then, there doesn't seem to be an excess of surrogate mothers (African elephants, in this case.) Even harvesting the necessary eggs from the African elephants is tricky -- it's an invasive procedure, and operating on something the size of the elephant is no easy task.

    Even assuming that all goes well, cloned animals are known to suffer from compromised immune function and generally short lifespans.

  • by Bruha (412869) on Sunday January 16, 2011 @12:26AM (#34894590) Homepage Journal

    The major thing that comes to mind is that were bringing a creature back when it's native diseases now have 100k+ years of evolution on them. They'll have to keep it in a bubble.

    Then again it seems a dwarf species existed until around 1700BC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolly_mammoth [wikipedia.org]

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