Colossal Will Recreate Woolly Mammoth’s in 4-6 Years to Preserve Permafrost

Colossal has $15 million in funding and has started a de-extinction project to resurrect the Woolly Mammoth – or more specifically a cold-resistant elephant with all of the core biological traits of the Woolly Mammoth. It will walk like a Woolly Mammoth, look like one, sound like one, but most importantly it will be able to inhabit the same ecosystem previously abandoned by the Mammoth’s extinction.

The Mammoth’s massive size, thunderous gait and vast migrations patterns were active benefactors in preserving the health of the Arctic region. The Mammoth Steppe was once the world’s largest ecosystem – spanning from France to Canada and the Arctic Islands to China. It was home to millions of large herbivores. And these animals were key to protecting an ecosystem so vast, it affected, if not almost controlled, the climate.

Re-establishing an ecosystem filled with grasslands will help to create a cycle that prevents the thaw and release of stored greenhouse gases within the arctic permafrost. With Mammoths grazing the grasslands and roaming comfortably during the winters, they scrape away layers of snow, so that the cold air can reach the soil. This also allows grasslands to thrive and since they’re lighter than forestry, the snow won’t melt as quickly. Making way for another benefit – a surface that reflects the Sun’s radiation.

They lived all the way up until 1650 B.C. – a relatively short period of time in biological and geological terms. The evidence is clear that humans lived among Woolly Mammoths and considered them a big part of their subsistence and habitat. Most of this evidence comes from caves across today’s countries of England, Spain and France.

Asian elephants and Mammoths share 99.6% of their DNA. This is still an enormous challenge to overcome – more possible today than ever with modern genetic engineering knowledge and technology. And the scientists at Colossal are leading the globe in research and progress into bringing the Mammoth back – closing this .4% of genome similarity through the use of CRISPR genome editing.

Mammoth remains have been preserved remarkably well, even across millennia. Many Mammoths who died never fully decayed. Tissue samples collected contain intact DNA, undigested food in Mammoth stomachs, fur, tusks and more.

CRISPR gene editing technology will be used to genetically reengineer Asian elephants to be more like mammoths. Billionaire Thomas Tull, best known for founding a film production company that backed the “Batman” movies and “Inception,” and Silicon Valley venture capital firms Breyer Capital and Draper Associates are among the backers.

The mammoth was very good at knocking down trees they can knock down a tree in about 15 seconds.

They have already returned a number of cold-adapted animals horses, musk ox and the Bison.

There were only a couple of hundred bison in the in the world and now their numbers are back up to half a million worldwide.

What would the impact of woolly mammoths be ?

They will keep the temperature of the ground very low. These animals will stomp on the snow in the winter so the 20 degrees centigrade summer temperatures can equilibrate the minus 40 degree temperature in the wind in the winter but not if you have a big thick insulating layer of snow so these herbivores will do that.

This will help trap a lot of carbon.

In 2015, the complete woolly mammoth genome was sequenced.

SOURCES -Colossal, George Church
Written by Brian Wang,

42 thoughts on “Colossal Will Recreate Woolly Mammoth’s in 4-6 Years to Preserve Permafrost”

  1. From what I read they ended up on an arctic Island: Wrangle Island. Local sea rise, and a large tsunami's over their arctic range was understood to be a factor. it explains why they washed up in the thousands in small valleys, fresh food still in their frozen stomachs, as attested by researchers. From bone and tissue studies it was found that Genetic diversity declined with later generations becoming sickly and mall adapted.

    That being said, I have been told by a young family member nearby, currently in the process of pulling my leg, that some of them survived and now have a contract with Pixar where they star in documentaries. True story.

  2. Yes, but the fan pattern is intercontinental + bottom of ocean in places which, in the relevant era had different types of erosion (glacial, non-glacial, oceanic) all dated to the same time period. That is one hell of a benign geological process. (You'll come across the argument eventually, with details, just keep reading and tell us if that squares with a consistent picture, or multiple pictures, that does not involve an impact). Kind regards.

  3. Pretty interesting reading about the Carolina Bays. I'd never heard of them before. Still, it seems that the origin of them was not impact ejecta, but rather more benign geological processes.

  4. Let's grow way more than we need. Cro-magon man said they were delicious.

    Kidding, of course. Personally, I don't believe sentience/self-awareness/consciousness is a binary value, but that it graphs on a smooth rising line from bacteria up to us. Elephants, porpoises, orcas, the great primates, and possibly a few others, are high enough on that scale that we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

    No, I am not some hippie liberal PETA person. I've just given it a lot of thought and some research over a long time.

    Digressing, I believe I read Joshua trees are slowly dying out because some large animal, probably a giant ground sloth, that they used to exist with in a symbiotic relationship, went extinct about 12,000 years ago. Possibly because they would have been easy prey for humans (an invasive species). Maybe we can find some way to cobble up something close to them as well. We may lack frozen tissue samples but there are still sloths that might be bred/engineered to do the job.

  5. It's suspected that the younger dryas die off was caused by a cosmic impacts in what is now northern Canada, and Greenland. Ejecta from the impact may have caused the "carolina bays" which are shallow oval depressions, the major axis of which point towards the area of the impact.

  6. Lone Ranger: "Tonto, we are surrounded by Indians! What are we going to do?"
    Tonto: "What you mean 'we', Kimo Sabe?"

  7. The extension of the program is obvious.

    Kiwi -> Moa
    Wombat -> Diprotodon
    Komodo -> Megalania
    Cockatoo -> Terror Bird -> Tyrannosaur

  8. That wasn't "us". That was some completely different humans thousands of years ago. Nobody on this forum (except, maybe, Goatguy?) was around back then.

  9. Not to mention she'll probably be busy with her multi-million-dollar career as world champion boxer, wrestler, weight-lifter and every other sport where someone who is twice as strong as a homo-sapiens will find they can effortlessly win.

  10. Do some research on the "Younger Dryas" which essentially whipped out all of the Mega Fauna in the northern Hemisphere.

  11. There are other existing mammals that can be introduced and rapidly increased in numbers. This will allow the estimated 50 years for the elephants to ramp up in numbers.

  12. I'm a longtime strong advocate of research that brings back the mammoth and restores at least some of the mammoth steppe, though the idea that it will somehow change the climate in any appreciable way sounds to me more like an attempt to employ the current mania of climate to what is an interesting conservation/restoration project regardless of what the climate is or isn't doing, or how we may or may not affect it; keeping in mind that climate is incredibly complex and mammoth's and their habitat are only a small part of that system. Mammoths, woolly and otherwise, seem to have survived for millions of years during which time there were periods warmer and colder than current climates. I would imagine that like their living relatives mammoths were far more adaptable than the stereotypic versions we tend to believe, and had to be to have endured over such long time frames and over a wide ranging habitat whether we called it a steppe or not. Whatever version they end up with, I simply hope we end up with a creature we can ride, like a modern elephant; trundling across the tundra on a mammoth would be just a dandy way to see it the way I've always dreamed. Cheerio.

  13. Genetic engineering is effectively an information technology. If it becomes easy to write/edit genes, reliably place them in an embryo, any species can be more or less resurrected, or made to our use.

    What would really speed things up is the capability to simulate the outcome a created genome will give. Genetic programs will need debugging, just like Fortran. I can remember some long waits for programs to execute on the old IBM 360/70, but the old fashion way for genetics is years, or even decades.

  14. It's hard to believe mammoth hunting was a thing before firearms. In Africa traditional hunting is done by people sneaking up on elephants in the rain forest, wounding them with a large bladed spear, and following the blood trail hoping the prey will die of blood loss.

    Sneaking up on them on the steppe would be much more difficult. You'd have to approach highly mobile animals from down wind on foot. You'd have to do it slowly to be quiet enough. You'd have to do it at night, or you'd be seen.

    It would take so long, you'd likely freeze to death, or die of hunger before you killed one. In the summer, you'd have to take meat to a ice cave or something to try to preserve it. No, you wouldn't be digging holes in the permafrost after the kill. It would take too long.

    So what killed them out in northern Siberia in 1600 BC? Did someone want the steppes they occupied for musk oxen pasture? There was plenty of arable land further south that yielded better graze. .

  15. The big issue I see is that Elephants are highly intelligent, social animals. There's going to be a lot of cultural information about how to live on the tundra that you can't replicate by sequencing a dead woolly mammoth.

    Basically you'll have feral mammoths, that have no idea what they're supposed to be doing. Going to be challenging to properly acculturate them.

    Not an issue with more intellectually primitive species that are almost entirely driven by instinct.

    Perhaps they can be raised by existing wild elephants, and then transplanted to the tundra when mature? Better than nothing, I suppose.

  16. On a serious note, modern humans aka "Africans" in this context, went thru narrow genetic pass ~70,000 years ago, and are greatly INBRED by all normal standards. Our differences are superficial sexual display mostly, but alarmingly also look like self domestication. We need Neandert(h)al help!

Comments are closed.