The Woolly Mammoth: Once Japan Has One Everyone Will Want One
Japan, a country famous for miniaturization, reverses the trend with the promise of a cloned woolly mammoth. This is big news. As many of you may recall, Japan is also the country that brought us Godzilla and Mothra, two monsters that ultimately battled each other—Mothra in the white hat, Godzilla in black.
Thanks to DNA technology and information gleaned from repeated viewings of all three Jurassic Park movies, Dr. Akira Iritani has gargantuan “plans to insert the nuclei of mammoth cells into a modern elephant’s egg cell, creating a woolly mammoth embryo that will be brought to term by an elephant mother,” as reported by DigitalTrends.com. For the sake of the elephant, I hope those tusks are a post-natal feature of mammoths.
Dr. Iritani must have enjoyed late-night screenings of Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Jurassic Park 3; if he slept through the endings, he has no idea what he’s getting himself (and the world!) into. And, Dr. I., in Michael Crichton’s book, John Hammond (the man behind the island and its dinosaur denizens) did not get off as easily as he did in the movie version of Jurassic Park. I’m just sayin’.
Woolly mammoths went missing, as in extinct, approximately 5,000 years ago. That’s earlier than the earth was created, in some people’s opinion. Dr. Iritani thinks he can deliver one in five years. Most of us have learned that just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. One would think that scientists would know this better than anyone else. Or at least guess that they would.
What is the purpose of this enormous undertaking? Dr. Iritani says, “After the mammoth is born, we will examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors.” Ecology? Okay. But wouldn’t an ancient species brought into a modern world have, um, adjustment problems? After all, woolly mammoths didn’t exactly sit around watching Technicolor movies on their flat-screen TVs. Well, perhaps it might be important to understand “why the species became extinct,” but isn’t anyone else suspicious of the mysterious “other factors”?Continued on the next page