Real-life Jurassic Park aims to bring woolly mammoths back to life

Virgin Radio

29 Jul 2022, 08:28

woolly mammoths

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In today’s ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ news, a company plans to bring extinct creatures back to life. However, before you start imagining disastrous Jurassic Park-style scenarios, the thinking behind reintroducing woolly mammoths to the world is that it will actually have a positive impact on climate change.

So, you don’t need to worry about dinosaurs roaming the streets biting people’s heads off, like in the most recent Jurassic Park film. Rather, the plan would be for woolly mammoths to be placed in the Arctic.

But why?

Well, it is believed that mammoths, like elephants, would be good at stomping down snow and knocking down trees, and in doing so creating large areas of grasslands, which in turn may help to preserve the permafrost. And why does the permafrost need to be preserved? Because underneath it, are massive amounts of greenhouse gases.

With the Arctic permafrost set to melt and release toxic gases in the near future, a company called Colossal plans to bring thousands of woolly mammoths back into the world. They would do so by putting mammoth genetics into Asian elephants.

Woolly mammoths have been extinct for about 4,000 years, but Colossal - founded by geneticist George Church and technology entrepreneur Ben Lamm - is in the midst of a £61 million project to reintroduce them.

Lamm explained to the Daily Star: “Preserving the permafrost is a critical thing for humankind."

He added: “If the permafrost melts, we're in trouble, because there's more carbon and more methane stored in there than anywhere else on the planet. It would be absolutely catastrophic.”

Colossal will spend up to 15 years creating mammoth embryos, which will be grown inside Asian elephants for 22 months, raised to maturity over an extra five to seven years, and then released close to the Arctic Circle.

Obviously there’s a lot more to the science of it, but that’s the plan in a nutshell. Happily, if we're comparing the plan to a film, it sounds more like Ice Age than Jurassic Park!

Lamm told LADbible: "We can really play a role in suppressing carbon and methane in the Arctic, that's our goal and that’s where I think we can leave the biggest impact."

He added that there is plenty more that humans need to do as well, saying: "We need to be looking at solar and alternative energy sources, we need to be moving to electric, there's a million other things that humanity needs to do.