Wooly Mammoths, coming to a world near you?

Zac Schon, Opinions Editor

Three drunks sat at the bar on a Tuesday night arguing over what animal they wished still roamed the planet. The first man wished for a stegosaurus, the second man wished for a raptor for some sadistic reason, and the third wished for a wooly mammoth. However no punch line followed this ever so fruitful conversation as I enlightened them over the recent ambitious quest of researchers at Kyoto University who plan to resurrect the long lost cousin to the modern day elephant. Just as I predicted, this comment elicited a set of dangling jaws with the ever so poetic words of “whoa” emanating in unison that sounded roughly like a choir of singing cherubs.

To be exact, researchers are looking to clone a wooly mammoth from a preserved specimen’s DNA which will be used in an elephant’s egg. It’s at this point the embryo will be inserted into the elephant to produce a baby wooly mammoth. In theory the elephant will give birth to a wooly mammoth which by my calculations would be pretty sweet.

Just to make things even better, the researchers are planning to do this within the next five years. For those who need five years put into rational terms, we are talking roughly the time it takes to get a bachelor’s degree or pay off a car loan.

It quickly drew to mind many issues that are still a problem in the world that should probably be addressed before cloning the mammoth; food shortages in any given developing country, cures for cancers, or development of clean energy. If one would even want to reduce this type of science to more productive use of time for the future of animals in general, one could ask why not save the chimps and gorillas? Why not clone more pandas? How about develop fish that won’t die out from the ocean’s rising temperatures?

While all of these things are better uses of great minds than cloning a mammoth, there has to be something said for freak show science.

First it gets people interested in science. Most people in this country are more concerned about what’s on TV tonight and about paying bills. When they find out animals such as the mammoth are being cloned and will be ready for earth again in five years, a spark of interest should be lit if they even believe these giant beasts even existed.

Second of all, who is to say what is practical science? Some of the most important works in all of science had no practical use immediately. Einstein didn’t know his works would someday be used for practical things like integrated circuitry which is used in every sort of electronic item. Maybe one day there will be some sort of practical use for cloned mammoths.

Last but not least, cloning extinct creatures is quite frankly an awesome thing. Sure nature had it in for these beasts along with every other species that either died out or speciated into something smaller and by comparison, something less awesome. But to see something that was once lost for eternity with no possible return, well that is something I think we can all agree is awesome.