Monday, September 25, 2006

mammoths in moth balls

today was Kelly’s birthday and you know what she asked for? season 3 of Northern Exposure on DVD. at first I couldn’t believe it; I thought she meant my birthday. I am very lucky.

did you ever see the episode where they find the wooly mammoth frozen in a glacier and then that one guy cuts it up into steaks? that was more than 10 years ago. (if you’re looking for quality, nuanced and up-to-date commentary on television then this might not be the blog for you. my apologies.) about 20 years ago a bulldozer was working on the Huntington reservoir dam on the mountain above my house and dug up a 10,000 year old mammoth skeleton. they cast a replica and assembled it in the Fairview Museum up the road. you can go stand or read a book in its big shadow; museum donations are voluntary.
x-mas with Kent & the Huntington Mammoth

apparently they’ve found specimens of very well-preserved mammoths out there in the ice. even baby ones. and some with leaves and grass still in their mouths; mammoths that died with their boots on. there is speculation about how thawing due to climate change is beginning to expose a lot of old mammoths. this has got some people thinking about how it might be prudent to clone some long extinct megafauna back into existence to try and make up for all the minutiae we’re presently wiping out.

Discovery Channel thought this over some and they have reduced it to eight steps.

suggested method is as follows:
1. remove soft tissue from one frozen mammoth
2. attempt to identify a complete strand of DNA
3. extract an egg from a female of the mammoth's closest living relative, the Asian elephant
4. irradiate that egg to destroy its existing DNA
5. take the mammoth DNA and insert it into the elephant egg
6. using in-vitro fertilisation, insert the egg into the female elephant
7. wait 22 months (the gestation period of an elephant)
8. raise and care for the baby mammoth

this is a little complicated, especially for the layperson. I think we could save ourselves and taxpayers a lot of trouble by skipping steps 2-7. we just get some of that mammoth hair (yeah, extract it, whatever, do whatever you have to do) and fasten it all over the baby Asian elephant. surely this will take practice and tenderness but not 22 months' worth. look, I know I’m no scientist; this should be no secret by now. but I am a human being and my ideas count too. anyway, I don’t think the scientists understand baby mammoths like hair replacement techs do.

1 comment:

The Mediocre Gatsby said...

Wow, it sounds like National Geographic have really been doing their research - and that that research included watching and/or reading Jurassic Park.

But yeah, I like your idea better.