Mammoth Resurrection: 11 Hurdles to Bringing Back an Ice Age Beast

Jul 3, 2017

By Laura Geggel

The road to bringing back the mammoth — a giant that went extinct at the end of the last ice age — is filled with barriers.

The questions are almost never ending: Will scientists find ancient, uncontaminated mammoth DNA? How will they create new mammoths? If a mammoth calf is born, how will it learn how to behave without a parent or herd to guide it?

Beth Shapiro, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, discusses these queries in “How to Clone A Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction” (Princeton University Press, 2015). Here are 11 of the many challenges she considers, including those that are scientific, ethical and environmental.

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