The company is called quite aptly called Colossal, and they’ve already got their hands on $15 million (£10,813,125) in funding to combat ‘the colossal problem of extinction’, according to the New York Times.
The woolly mammoth hasn’t roamed around our planet for around 10,000 years because of a variety of reasons, including our ancestors hunting them extensively, as well as changes to the world’s climate.
So, why exactly would we want to bring them back, other than it might be a bit of a laugh to see what the other creatures of the world think of them?
That much remains fairly unclear, but the scientists involved with the project certainly seem to be quite excited about it.
Harvard boffin and DNA sequencing innovator George Church is definitely buzzing to bring back the prehistoric behemoth.
He said: “This is a major milestone for us.
“It’s going to make all the difference in the world.”
Colossal intends to support the research performed by Church and his cronies at their lab, but will also conduct experiments at laboratories in Boston and Dallas, too.
They plan to start by editing the DNA of elephants – a relative of the mammoth – to more closely resemble their prehistoric precursor.
After that, they’ll try to create embryos of ‘mammoth-like’ elephants.
They’re hoping to have this done within a few years.
Then, once all that is done, they hope to be able to release hundreds of mammoths into the wild.
Church told Stat News: “In principle, one could make 100,000 at once over two years.
“I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to do, but it’s not necessarily a technical barrier, it’s more financial and wilful.”
Obviously, there is quite a large ethical question that surrounds bringing an extinct animal back into the world.
Hank Greely, from the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University, explained: “I’ve got mixed feelings.
“Part of me hates the hype in this.
“But I do think de-extinction is an interesting idea and may well be a useful and worthwhile thing to do.
“It’s not the answer [to problems like climate change]. It’s not high on my priority list. But it’s cool. And you know, humans do a lot of things just because they’re cool.”
If only there was a wildly successful film series that we could use to imagine the potential consequences of bringing extinct prehistoric creatures back to life ‘because they’re cool’.
Philosopher David DeGrazia has also suggested that this proposed experiment could go against the rights of animals, specifically the elephants that they’ll be using.
He said: “Elephants are not just sentient creatures. They’re really smart, they are really self-aware and emotionally complex.
“I don’t think we should involve them in experiments that are not in their best interest.”
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