It could be the plot of a science fiction movie, but it is a project that is closer to reality than we would have imagined: a company has the crazy idea of ”resurrecting” the woolly mammoth to curb the impact of climate change.
The biotech company Colossal Biosciences intends to reintroduce the woolly mammoth by creating hybrid mammoth-elephant species by 2027. These individuals will be reintroduced into the Pleistocene Park, a Russian-owned nature reserve in Siberia. This is intended to recreate the grasslands that flourished during the last ice age.
The company defines these hybrids as “vital defenders of the Earth” since, according to them, they will slow down the melting of arctic permafrost (they would prevent the emission of greenhouse gases trapped in that layer of soil) and turn overly wooded forests into grasslands. natural arctic. In this way, an ecosystem would be fostered that could maintain its own defenses against the increase in global temperature.
“We are starting a wave of restorative biology to eliminate extinct species, protect others in danger of extinction, and reintroduce degraded ecosystems. This is innovative. We are in control of a science that has the power to reverse and prevent biodiversity loss,” says tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm.
Put another way, what this company wants to do is “de-extinct” the genes of the woolly mammoth to create cold-resistant elephants with all the main phenotypic traits of this species that disappeared more than 4,000 years ago. In fact, the woolly mammoth shares 99.6 percent of its DNA with today’s Asian elephant.
The new species would be created to adapt to low temperatures. “This gives us the ability to reintroduce this critical species to a degraded ecosystem to combat the effects of climate change in a new and disruptive way,” adds Lamm.