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  1. #1

    Default Recreating Woolly Mammoths: Good, Bad, or Other?

    One of many articles available on the story: http://news.discovery.com/animals/wo...ed-111205.html

    Within 5 years, a woolly mammoth will likely be cloned, according to scientists who have just recovered well-preserved bone marrow in a mammoth thigh bone. Japan's Kyodo News first reported the find.

    ...

    Grigoriev and his team, along with Japan's Kinki University, have announced that they will launch a joint research project next year aimed at recreating the enormous mammal, which went extinct around 10,000 years ago.
    They've been openly talking about this since 2005 and it's looking more and more like it is going to happen. They've solicited zoos for reproductive tissue from dead elephants to fill in the missing links for the cloning process. They're even working on recreating the species' habitat.

    What do you think about this? Is this progress? Is this dangerous? Is this ethical? Is this inevitable?
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #2
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Cool! If it actually works, that is. Standard caveats with cloned animals apply of course, and then a few others from the obviously suboptimal storage of the mammoth genetic material. But would be cool.
    -end of thread-

  3. #3
    morose bourgeoisie
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    I think they'll make a hairy franken-elephant.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    One of many articles available on the story: http://news.discovery.com/animals/wo...ed-111205.html



    They've been openly talking about this since 2005 and it's looking more and more like it is going to happen. They've solicited zoos for reproductive tissue from dead elephants to fill in the missing links for the cloning process. They're even working on recreating the species' habitat.
    Interesting find!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    What do you think about this?
    I think scientists should focus more effort on projects that will improve human life, rather than bastardize the lives of animals long since deceased.

    Yes, it would be novel as hell to see a wooly mammoth here on Earth, but it would be a crime to every animal broguht forth from that cloning project and those born out of it as progeny.

    Is there a chance that having a means to "bring back" extinct life forms (animals and hopefully plants/insects/fungi too) ala DNA manipulation/cloning/etc. will identify new therapies for extant life forms? Yes. But the potential risks could very well outweigh the potential benefits just the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Is this progress?
    Depnds on the context, right?

    Progress for cloning technology? = YES
    Progress for DNA research? = YES
    Progress for New Therapies? = MAYBE
    Progress for Mankind? = TBD
    Progress for the Greater Good? = TBD

    My thoughts on human nature are at times not idealistic.
    This is one of those situations where I can't help but grimace when imagining its outcomes...

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Is this dangerous?
    Again, a context issue.

    Dangerous for the keepers of the mammoths? = YES!!!
    Dangerous that hybridized mammoth/pachyderm DNA results in toxic genetic mutations that endanger elephant populations? = TBD
    Dangerous for humans when our DNA is egregiously altered to our own detriment? = TBD

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Is this ethical?
    I'm no expert on ethics.

    I will say this though.

    It seems damn irrepsponsible to re-create a species as massive and magnificent as the wooly mammoth, when our little industrialized world is incapable of maintaining sufficient habitat (let alone habitat without poachers, man-made dangers, etc.)

    If we could create a massive mammoth park out of the bulk of unused land in a state such as Montana or North Dakota, then I'm more OK with it.
    Creatures that size need sufficient terrain to flourish and prosper.
    Breeding them out of the past and stuffing them in zoo exhibits is a shitty and terrible thing to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Is this inevitable?
    YES.



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  5. #5
    morose bourgeoisie
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    I agree with the contents of the preceding post^^

    The only benefit I can see, is that we will have progressed the technology for the reproduction of extinct species, and at the rate we're going now, tigers, polar bears, and many others that I can't name, will die out. At least we could preserve such animals' DNA and use it in the future. Of course, there won't be any room anymore, so the whole exercise may be futile.
    Quick! Somebody write a novel!

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    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    I think it's great.

    Just remember blah blah something about chaos.
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

    Quinlan's Creations

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    I'm no expert on ethics.

    I will say this though.

    It seems damn irrepsponsible to re-create a species as massive and magnificent as the wooly mammoth, when our little industrialized world is incapable of maintaining sufficient habitat (let alone habitat without poachers, man-made dangers, etc.)

    If we could create a massive mammoth park out of the bulk of unused land in a state such as Montana or North Dakota, then I'm more OK with it.
    Creatures that size need sufficient terrain to flourish and prosper.
    Breeding them out of the past and stuffing them in zoo exhibits is a shitty and terrible thing to do.
    Well, the habitat is being created in a tundra in Russia. I think they're solid on the free space.

    As for the ethical issue... I saw an interesting argument made by a scientist, which had not occurred to me, in favor of resurrecting the species. He maintains that unlike other species (dinosaurs and the like) that were believed to have been wiped out by mother nature, woolly mammoths are believed to have been wiped out by early humans (over-hunting), and as such --reviving their population would be a judicious restoration errr "righting a wrong," so to speak.

    The reasoning is questionable, but provocative.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  8. #8
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    I once read a Sci-fi novel which had grazing mammoths, but it was 10,000 years in the future.

    I'm sort of an E.O. Wilson fan. One thing they do is determine rates of species loss. According to him we are in the midst of a great extinction similar to previous ones in the history of Earth. For example, the total loss of the dinosaurs one of the more well know extinctions. There were others. We are in one now which is being caused by us. Species are rapidly becoming extinct.

    We come from apes which evolved on the African savannah. We are attempting to make the world like Africa savannah. We cut down trees and make lawns and agriculture. We are making the whole world into our habitat. This doesn't come from me. I'm paraphrasing E.O.Wilson again.

    Further, exploitation of fossil fuels will end one day. It produces greenhouse effects. IMHO the most important research should be alternative energies and alternative economies.

    We are doing pretty well. We just reached the 7 billion mark. We have some crisis coming within a century. Instead of Mammoths returning, I'm more for humans not going extinct. I'm also for us living in a world of biodiversity, rather than living in some kind "Mad Max Thunderdome" or "Waterworld" diminished kind of environment.

    In addition, we probably need to learn how to terraform other worlds and expand into space. That is long term.

    In the short term, we need new economies and full medical care for everyone on Earth. We need much, much, much better education as well. And we need to develop technologically, but in a more ecologically friendly way.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BAJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Well, the habitat is being created in a tundra in Russia. I think they're solid on the free space.

    As for the ethical issue... I saw an interesting argument made by a scientist, which had not occurred to me, in favor of resurrecting the species. He maintains that unlike other species (dinosaurs and the like) that were believed to have been wiped out by mother nature, woolly mammoths are believed to have been wiped out by early humans (over-hunting), and as such --reviving their population would be a judicious restoration errr "righting a wrong," so to speak.

    The reasoning is questionable, but provocative.
    I was typing when you were typing.

    I think we did kill the Mammoths.

    This may be a good project for Russia. I believe they already have medical care.

  10. #10
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Well, the habitat is being created in a tundra in Russia. I think they're solid on the free space.
    That's but one aspect of this issue.
    The entirety is far greater than habitat.

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    As for the ethical issue... I saw an interesting argument made by a scientist, which had not occurred to me, in favor of resurrecting the species. He maintains that unlike other species (dinosaurs and the like) that were believed to have been wiped out by mother nature, woolly mammoths are believed to have been wiped out by early humans (over-hunting), and as such --reviving their population would be a judicious restoration errr "righting a wrong," so to speak.
    OK then, by that arguemnt, EVERY SPECIES EVER wiped out by mankind should be restored by virtue of cloning/DNA sequencing/recombinant DNA technology/etc.

    It's not a judicious restoration at all, it's (partial) restoration of a SINGLE extinct species.

    Furthermore, THEY WON'T BE TRUE MAMMOTHS. The DNA "gaps" are being filled in with ELEPHANT DNA.
    So, any creatures borne out of this experiment are AT BEST HYBRID MAMMOTHS.

    That being the case, there is NO "judicious restoration" because you did not RESOTRE the ORIGINAL SPECIES, but merely brought something close to its semblance back into the present day.

    It's an idealistic and narrow minded take on figuratively righting the (countless) wrongs mankind as a species has caused on this planet is a VERY SHORT amount of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    The reasoning is questionable, but provocative.
    My vote for the reasoning discussed above is on "questionable."

    I'll save a vote of "provocative" for more complete and better developed arguments.

    Not hating, just sayin', IMHO, such technology is hardly considered past the goal of the experiment at hand.

    "WOW! We fuckin' cloned mammoths!!!"

    OK, great. Now what are you going to do with them?
    Did anything BAD happen as a result of this?
    Is this technology going to be mis-applied to many other areas?
    More often than not, we only find out the answers to such questions WHEN IT IS TOO LATE.
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