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actual mammoths

We De-Extincted the Mammoth?

A Mammoth/Pokemon hybrid

It’s rare that we here at We Hunted the Mammoth get to write about actual mammoths, in part because they’ve been extinct for 4000 years.

But they may not be extinct much longer.

A team of wily genetic engineers at Harvard recently announced that it is only a couple of years away from recreating an actual mammoth using mammoth DNA someone dug out of a block of ice or wherever it is one goes to get mammoth DNA these days.

Well, ok, they’re not saying they can create an actual living mammoth with the trunk and the fur and the big tusks and the crushing of puny humans with its mammoth feet and so on. They think they’re a couple of years away from creating an embryo of a sort of half-mammoth/half-elephant mashup.

I’ll let The Guardian explain:

[T]he scientist leading the “de-extinction” effort said the Harvard team is just two years away from creating a hybrid embryo, in which mammoth traits would be programmed into an Asian elephant.

“Our aim is to produce a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo,” said Prof George Church. “Actually, it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits. We’re not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years.”

The creature, sometimes referred to as a “mammophant”, would be partly elephant, but with features such as small ears, subcutaneous fat, long shaggy hair and cold-adapted blood. The mammoth genes for these traits are spliced into the elephant DNA using the powerful gene-editing tool, Crispr.

Until now, the team have stopped at the cell stage, but are now moving towards creating embryos – although, they said that it would be many years before any serious attempt at producing a living creature.

The scientists plan to grow the lil mammophant in a cardboard box artificial womb rather than in an actual elephant because they don’t want to risk the life of a member of an endangered species.

All this is possible, the Guardian notes, due to some big advances in gene splicing technology.

De-extincting” the mammoth has become a realistic prospect because of revolutionary gene editing techniques that allow the precise selection and insertion of DNA from specimens frozen over millennia in Siberian ice.

Church helped develop the most widely used technique, known as Crispr/Cas9, that has transformed genetic engineering since it was first demonstrated in 2012. Derived from a defence system bacteria use to fend off viruses, it allows the “cut and paste” manipulation of strands of DNA with a precision not seen before.

So presumably at some point these scientists will be able to create a four-assed mammophant, a la South Park. 

Church claims that his Dr. Moreauesque experiments could be good for elephants and help to fight global warming.

Church, a guest speaker at the meeting, said the mammoth project had two goals: securing an alternative future for the endangered Asian elephant and helping to combat global warming. Woolly mammoths could help prevent tundra permafrost from melting and releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

“They keep the tundra from thawing by punching through snow and allowing cold air to come in,” said Church. “In the summer they knock down trees and help the grass grow.”

Yeah, I’m sure there are no other possible ways to poke holes in snow or knock down trees besides genetically engineering a hybrid species using the DNA of an extinct animal.

And Church is definitely not planning on breeding an army of genetically enhanced super-mammophants that he will use to take over the world.

Did I mention that he thinks that within a decade we’ll be able to reverse aging with genetic engineering?

In other words, if the world survives the Trump administration, we may all, within a few short years, be able to live forever, riding through the tundra on our mammophants, knocking down trees and hunting down any remaining ethicists who say that hey maybe we shouldn’t create new combo animals in the lab just because we can.

I, for one, welcome our new genetically engineered mammophant overlords.

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Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
4 years ago
Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
4 years ago

Seriously, though, if a working artificial womb comes out of this, that’ll be a major breakthrough on its own.

Pearl Clutcher
Pearl Clutcher
4 years ago

OUR ALL-MALE SCIENCEY SCIENCE-TEAM REVERSE-ENGINEERED THE MAMMOTH TO FEED YOU

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

maybe we shouldn’t create new combo animals in the lab just because we can.

Well yeah, but with that attitude we’d never have got orange carrots and seedless bananas.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Sure. It all sounds well and good until someone opens a Younger-Dryas Park and stuff like this starts to happen.

http://img2.tvtome.com/i/u/432e7dce9a8d4477c473e2b1fd9e07e1.gif

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
4 years ago

@Dali

Do you have any idea how long I’d been waiting for an opportunity to post that very comic ?

You win this time !

Bina
4 years ago

Dear hypothetical future mammophant: Could you please use your giant tusks to catapult all the MGTOW to a desert island…or better still, a rapidly shrinking ice floe in chilly seawater? Thanks.

Scildfreja Unnýðnes
Scildfreja Unnýðnes
4 years ago
Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack

Cross it with a pig and we can have piloswine!

http://i.imgur.com/yYSgc2w.png

Piloswine!

(Also I’ve been regretting uninstalling Skyrim–even more so now.)

Hu's On First
Hu's On First
4 years ago

Mamoswine is even more mammoth-like.

Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack

Also now I have this song stuck in my head because it’s the first song I ever think about when I hear/see the phrase “live forever”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTZT8WNoDr4

As always, put it on 2x speed for a punk-ass song.

Ray of Rays
Ray of Rays
4 years ago

Cross it with a pig and we can have piloswine!

Alas, science is many years away from learning how to teach animals Ancient Power…

comment image

Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack

Mamoswine is even more mammoth-like.

Yeah, but you have to add mandrill DNA to get that face. Three species is enough for now.

Rhuu
Rhuu
4 years ago

I’m always so happy to see MGDMT comics posted around. The artist is a swell person who works super duper hard on everything she does.

authorialAlchemy
authorialAlchemy
4 years ago

I’m really excited about this development! I was wondering if there were any good reasons to resurrect the mammoth, and “stopping permafrost from melting” is a great one!

Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
Sinkable John : Pansy Ass Pinko, Regicidal Beast-of-Burden
4 years ago

@Rhuu

Kelly Turnbull is the childhood hero I never had.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

please please please i want this so bad pleeeeeeeeeeaseeeeeeeee

Croquembouche of patriarchy
Croquembouche of patriarchy
4 years ago

I for one think they should start smaller – engineer the trunk, tusk and ear genes into mouse embryos. Because herds of mammomice roving their laboratory would be adorable.

Playonwords
Playonwords
4 years ago

I wanna Pymy Mammoth

wannawannaWANNA!

(yes, they did exist despite the tautology of the name)

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
4 years ago

Clearly I’m the only one whose takeaway from this was that the gene-splicing tool should instead be a particularly warm dating app. Judging by its name. I’m not sure how that would work, but I’m intrigued. Dates in saunas, in swimwear? Or dates at barbecues?

Hambeast (fan of diversity)
Hambeast (fan of diversity)
4 years ago

Playonwords – But there were pygmy mammoths before the extinction! They lived on the Channel Islands off of California and were only 5 1/2 feet tall at the shoulder. Not small enough to run around the lab, but small enough to keep on the ranch.

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
4 years ago

@Handsome: Punkle Stan: Jack

because it’s the first song I ever think about when I hear/see the phrase “live forever”

I don’t know if I’m more disappointed in you or myself, because I read this and immediately thought:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h1xO7RwTV4k

Hu's On First
Hu's On First
4 years ago

I always thought they should make tiny pet dolphins (about 3″ in length) that you could keep in an aquarium.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Agent of the FemiNest Collective; Keeper of a Hell Toupee
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Agent of the FemiNest Collective; Keeper of a Hell Toupee
4 years ago

Sounds like something the proponents of Paleozoic rewilding would love to invest in. Very enthusiasticly, in fact, given the critters that could be brought back with that technology.

https://www.google.com/amp/www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/12/24/recall-of-the-wild/amp?client=safari

PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
4 years ago

Well, I think “hell, I don’t want to live forever…”

https://youtu.be/_Jtpf8N5IDE

(Sorry…I love FM and Queen.)

Friendly Neighborhood Dragon Arthur
Friendly Neighborhood Dragon Arthur
4 years ago

But what if I’d rather have my majestic horse-gazelle hybrid instead? Imagine prancing along the beach on your most majestic horselle while you hear doves cry and have Erasure playing in the background?

It would be almost as good as having a unicorn!

Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack

I don’t know if I’m more disappointed in you or myself, because I read this and immediately thought:

I was born in ’92. I never saw Fame.

Iseult The Idle
Iseult The Idle
4 years ago

I think I’d rather have a zorse – a regular horse, but with zebra stripes.

I shall call him… Tigger.

LindsayIrene
4 years ago

Today is World Pangolin Day. I just thought you all should know.

comment image

comment image

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
4 years ago

I know I speak for all Kentuckians when I say that we stand with the Swedish people in the wake of the horrible terrorist attack they suffered last night. The Bowling Green Massacre taught us that terror knows no bounds, not even those of reality itself.

I’m planning a candlelight vigil for tomorrow.

Laugher at BIgots, Mincing Betaboy

What happened?

Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
Dalillama : Shepherd of Demonic Crocodiles.
4 years ago

@Croquembouche

I for one think they should start smaller – engineer the trunk, tusk and ear genes into mouse embryos. Because herds of mammomice roving their laboratory would be adorable.

Mimmoths!

Tov01
Tov01
4 years ago

@Policy of Madness

What did Trump do this time?

PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
4 years ago

Nothing happened.

Trump is making up massacres again.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

Sean Spicer also brought up a terrorist attack here in Atlanta last month… that never happened. It’s like they can’t stop doing it. Eventually, this has to turn into an ‘administration that cried terrorism’, right. Like, there will likely be an attack somewhere sometime in the next 4 years carried out by some Muslim/brown person, and we’re all gonna doubt it if we 1st hear about it from the White House

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
4 years ago

@Handsome :Punkle Stan: Jack
@Peevee the (Noice) Sarcastic

Yes, definitely disappointed in myself. Who lives forever, anyway?

Ledasmom
Ledasmom
4 years ago

Way I figure it, one mammophant-capable artificial uterus should be able to manage a whole buttload of human fetuses, so everyone wins.
NB: Not a doctor.

PsychoDan
PsychoDan
4 years ago

Apparently some guy went on Fox News to promote his specious documentary on immigrants and crime in Sweden the night Trump is referring to. It sounds like Trump was only half paying attention and assumed it was about something that had just happened. Because that’s all the research the President of the United States needs to do on current events before talking about them, right?

If War of the Worlds aired today Trump would try to nuke the aliens before anyone could stop him.

kale
kale
4 years ago

“The scientists plan to grow the lil mammophant in a cardboard box artificial womb rather than in an actual elephant because they don’t want to risk the life of a member of an endangered species.”
at the risk of sounding like one of them there feminism-nasees, must be nice to have someone acknowledge that pregnancy is a risk to your safety and you have a right to not have to be pregnant against your will

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Agent of the FemiNest Collective; Keeper of a Hell Toupee
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Agent of the FemiNest Collective; Keeper of a Hell Toupee
4 years ago

@Iseult The Idle,

I think I’d rather have a zorse – a regular horse, but with zebra stripes.

Actually you can get those now. Just breed a regular horse with a regular zebra, and TA-DAAA!!!!! Horse/zebra hybrid.

Unfortunately zebras have a very bad habit of getting meaner as they get older, which seems to be the main reason the ancient Africans didn’t domesticate them back in the day. Not sure if modern Africans are doing it now. Haven’t kept up with that lately.

numerobis
numerobis
4 years ago

Axecalibur: there *was* a terrorist campaign in Atlanta involving multiple bombings by a religious extremist, targeting our western way of life. A Christian one. Targeting abortion and gays. And it was 20 years ago.

Mark
Mark
4 years ago

Allow to interject a Douglass Adams meme, “They should bring back the Neanderthals, since the CroMagnon thing hasn’t worked out that well.”

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
4 years ago

Reading all of these comments speculating on possible animal hybrids, made me think of the 1986 remake of the 1950s horror movie, “The Fly.”. In the finale, the scientist, Brundle, becomes a hybrid of himself, a housefly, and the telepod used to create the transformation. This is not what he had in mind for himself, naturally, and it’s pretty grotesque.

The last 7 minutes or so from this flick, can be found on You Tube. Maybe I’m a wimp, but this movie really unsettled me when I saw it ages ago. I think it’s better than the 1950s original.

LeftWingFox
LeftWingFox
4 years ago

Unless there’s been some breakthrough work on the subject, “Artificial womb” sounds like a hand-wave on par with cheap fusion power and uploading our consciousness to a computer.

The uterus is not exactly a stand-alone organ…

msexceptiontotherule
msexceptiontotherule
4 years ago

@Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Agent of the FemiNest Collective; Keeper of a Hell Toupee

When you say that zebras get meaner with age (or have the tendency to)…How does this manifest? Do horses get nicer with age or are they pretty much in the middle between nice and mean with random outliers way out in either direction?

Now I’m wondering if there was a moment in human history where someone said…”It happened again! Damn zebra was fine the first few years and now it’s a temperamental bitey monster! We never deal with that with horses!”

Fabe
Fabe
4 years ago

Unfortunately zebras have a very bad habit of getting meaner as they get older, which seems to be the main reason the ancient Africans didn’t domesticate them back in the day. Not sure if modern Africans are doing it now. Haven’t kept up with that lately.

any one else thinking how awesome mounted Zulu warriors would have been?

Moocow
4 years ago

@LindseyIrene

Woah, wild Sandslash appeared!

So cute!

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Fabe
I am now!

PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
PeeVee the (Noice) Sarcastic
4 years ago

Weatherwax:

Irene Cara does. 😉

Everyone else:

#NeverRememberBowlingGreenAtlantaSweden