Woolly Mammoths Coming Back to Reality — Jurassic Park Comes to Life

A sketch of what a woolly mammoth would look like by Erwin Christman.

Science has done some amazing things, but cloning is one that is ever ripe for controversy.  Now, Dr. Akira Iritani of Kyoto University in Japan is poised to introduce Earth to one of its old friends.  He says that by 2016, scientists will be able to clone a wooly mammoth, a 5,000 year-old prehistoric mammal by using tissue samples preserved in ice.  The tissues would be awoken in a laboratory in the same fashion as a previous experiment that was able to clone a mouse that had been frozen for hundreds of years.  At that point, scientists would then implant the eggs into an African elephant, theoretically producing a real, live woolly mammoth in this day and age.

Everyone remembers the classic movie based on a Michael Crichton novel “Jurassic Park” where scientists used perfectly preserved DNA from dinosaurs to create a theme park of prehistoric creatures that eventually set out on an agenda of their own.  There are plenty of schools of thought out there that bringing a beast like this back into the world could severely damage existing ecosystems.  Of course, scientists don’t think so because they hold that they will keep the cloned creatures in controlled settings.  Sound like a familiar plot?  And how long before “Jurassic Park” is reality?  Will we one day see cloned dinosaurs roaming Earth’s peaceful pastures again?  And can they be kept in check?

Or will life find a way?