Claim: Woolly Mammoth Resurrection will Defuse the Climate Methane Bomb

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Vast hairy beasts tramping the Arctic Tundra will help save the world.

Scientists Hope Mammoth ‘De-extinction’ Will Save Earth

Kashmira Gander

1 day ago

Scientists fear that the absence of large mammals pressing down and scraping back thick layers of winter snow in the region prevents the cold from penetrating the soil. Combined with warmer summers, the Arctic permafrost is melting. As a result, the frozen soil, packed with leaves and other organic materials that haven’t decayed, will become exposed, releasing carbon into the atmosphere in the form of the greenhouse gasses carbon dioxide and methane.

The scientists are keen not to impregnate an elephant in case something goes wrong. But one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the project has been creating sufficient blood vessels in artificial womb tissue to provide support for a growing embryo.

Prof Church helped develop the most widely used technique, known as Crispr 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 scientists to snip away parts of the genetic code and replace it with new DNA.

Prof Church, who spoke about Crispr 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.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/scientists-hope-mammoth-de-extinction-will-save-earth/ar-AAwAbsb

The scientists plan to genetically edit out the tusks, to deter ivory poachers.

I can’t help thinking a walking mountain of fresh meat wandering the frozen Arctic might attract hunters for reasons other than their ivory.

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Can they genetically edit out the methane farts?

beng135

Yes — genes tailored to mimic Beano.

Richard of NZ

Sounds Dandy.

Barbara Skolaut

Beat me to it. 😉

Caligula Jones

Don’t know if I should congratulate myself for immediately thinking of this one when I read this.
Yes, the same people who are terrified of millions of domestic cows farting methane are seemingly ok with millions of wild animals doing likewise, as if Gaia will be able to tell the difference (and I have no doubt there is a paper, somewhere, that does exactly this).

C.J.

Don’t know if I should congratulate myself for immediately thinking of this one when I read this.

ditto…
Pondering “Mammoth Farts” …

Felix

This Asian elephant ate too many moolies!

AGW is not Science

Beat me to it, too. I mean, they honestly think these things won’t fart?!
And they call themselves “scientists.” It’s truly pathetic. If they manage to pull off such a cockamamy scheme, may they be the first humans trampled to death by their own creations. Perhaps with Jeff Goldblum screaming “Now you’re John Hammond” at them over their cries, just for a little poetic justice.

Caligula Jones

I’d love to see living mammoths, not to mention saber-toothed cats, etc.
I’m just glad that I don’t have to run for my life to make the subway every day…

RockyRoad

Perhaps climate scientists (using the term loosely) believe an elephant’s size is due to its inability to fart.

Re-creating mammoths, if they really can do it, sounds interesting. It certainly could reinvigorate zoo attendance, at least for a while. But, DNA editing away the tusks does not seem like a good idea to me.

joe - the non climate scientist

Gotta wonder about the claim that the methane bomb will create such a powerful positive feedback that will send the earth into a AGW death spiral – When it didnt happen during any of the prior and much warmer periods.
Unless of course the methane is programmed to become the dreaded methane bomb if the warming is caused by man[n].

JJB MKI

Zombie science – each time it’s debunked it seems to rise again from the dead..

Ed Zuiderwijk

Indeed, and like the Mammoth it will go extinct.

Hivemind

More like a gigantic game of whack-a-mole. No sooner have you knocked one absurd theory on its head, than another one pops up…

AGW is not Science

Yes it’s truly amazing how any “inconvenient” history, like all the previous Holocene warm periods, each warmer than those which followed, and all warmer than the current, somehow not managing to cause the dreaded “climate catastrophe,” is willfully ignored as they continue to hope nobody is “fact checking.”

higley7

As the half-life of methane and CO2 in the atmosphere are both close to 5 years, both are quite dynamic. The IPCC dimwits at the IPCC and NOAA try to pretend that their half-lives are 200—1000 years, which is just a LIE.
Methane farts are just methane farts and have no effect on anything but one’s nose.
But, I wonder how many mammoths they envision to have enough to stomp and clear enough of the tundra to get the effect they want.
The idiots also ignore the fact that, when the tundra does melt, the life in it wakes up and it becomes a net carbon sink, the exact opposite of what they conveniently and baselessly assume.

Sara

The idiots also ignore the fact that there are pockets of frozen methane buried in the tundra, and as it warms, they sublime (just like dry ice) and explode, leaving behind gigantic holes. This also happens off the Atlantic coast, in the “Bermuda Triangle”, so it’s not something new.
The idiots don’t seem to have a lot of real good information about a lot of things.

JON R SALMI

higley7 – When I first started looking into the global warming issue about 10-11 years ago there soon seemed to be a bidding war going on as warmists kept upping the ante on the residence time of CO2, past 25, 50, 100 and up to 200-years. Then it died down, I thought because it was getting out-of-hand in terms of being able to be mitigated. Any mitigation solution proposed then or now would certainly violate the precautionary principle. Why this silliness is coming back now is anybody’s guess. Maybe they have been down that warmist rabbit-hole too long and their logic and proportion is, as Grace Slick said, sloppy dead. At any rate I accepted Monckton’s Math years ago.

James Polulos

It seems to me that the ‘elephant in the room’ is the existence of all that biomass encased in permafrost in the first place. Would not an abundance of atmospheric CO2 and a warm climate be required to produce that biomass.

Roger Ayotte

One way to justify funding is to claim yu are saving the world. Common practice today.

Yeah, that’s why they can edit out the snow scrapers and still get the snow scraped.

kaliforniakook

AGF – I was looking for someone who caught that so I wouldn’t have to say it.

JJB MKI

From the link: “From there, scientists will study the expression of Woolly Mammoth mutations to test predictions about gene function”.
This is obviously the real point of the research, with the usual climate rent-seeking tacked on for a funding boost. These biologists seem to be jumping the mammoth here, but I’m no longer sure if the stupidity or cynicism of the green blob when it comes to doling out taxpayers’ money knows any bounds..

Jer0me

Ha ha! Jumping the Mammoth, I love it!

ozspeaksup

any excuse to try n use CRISPR will be tried, regardless of harm or damage to the poor critters so tampered with

kb

How many mammoths does it take to have a significant effect on that much land area?
How many years from gestation to mammoth maturity?
How many mammoth generations will that take?
Right.

Sweet Old Bob

And ….. how many bears does it take to eat a mammoth ?

Gums

Good hit.
Now those bears won’t have to swim 100 miles to snack on seal!
Gums imagines….

And without tusks, the mammoths would be easy prey for both bears and wolves.

Felix

Without tusks, the mammoths won’t be able to shovel the snow aside to get at vegetation beneath it.

Latitude

“The scientists are keen not to impregnate an elephant in case something goes wrong”
…what could go more wrong?

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

I don’t suppose the elephants are going to be all that keen either and it’s probably illegal. Or should be.

MarkW

As long as she doesn’t back up while being impregnated.

DonM

Rob

Haven’t we seen this movie before?

Ve2

I think that might be against the law.

Jurassic Park morphs into late Pleistocene / Holocene Park.
These characters need to spend some time carving icebergs into mammoths.

Curious George

The Woolly Mammoth disappeared some 4,500 years ago, and the climate has been a mess ever since.

AGW is not Science

LMFAO – this may be the perfect matching of wind turbine power with demand – when the turbines aren’t spinning, no need for the “air dancers” to scare the eagles away so they aren’t turned into crow food. Oh, and the wind turbines produce so little electricity that the electricity consumed to inflate the “air dancers” will probably eat up all they generate anyway. Win-win! No need to even connect the stupid things to the grid!

Sheri

I didn’t see any demonstration in the field. So this is a thought experiment—or lack-of-thought experiment.
Are there air dancers to frighten the idiots that put in the turbines in the first place? THAT would be the way to go. Giant air dancing turbines outside their homes that pop up and blink red lights all night long. Yes, that could be useful.

MarkW

I’m going to question the ability of a camera, using that hemispherical lens, to actually spot birds soon enough so that the “air dancer” can be inflated in time to “divert” the bird.

Felix

And what about the bats?

J.H.

LOL… Insanity indeed…. If a huge freaking spinning wind Turbine isn’t scaring an eagle…. a tiny “air dancer” a tenth of its size certainly won’t.
The mind boggles at their inanity.

Susan Howard

How is this supposed to help the endangered Asian elephant? Using them in hybrid breeding programs doesn’t sound helpful to me.

dmacleo

massive beasts farting all the time….yeah they like to think cows create methane issues…try mammoth

AGW is not Science

Mammoths would definitely cut some MAMMOTH farts! ;-D

Rick C PE

Not to worry, there isn’t enough suitable Mammoth food in the tundra to support them anyway.

Steve Case

Oh yes, the “Methane Bomb”. The “Popular Press” likes to tell us that methane is a greenhouse gas with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) that is 86 times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat, but they never tell us how much methane will actually warm the planet. The reason for that is the GWP is B.S., you know, carefully worded non-sense. In the real world, Business As Usual (BAU) methane could run-up world temperatures as much as an insignificant and unmeasurable 0.05° deg by 2100. If someone wants to claim it’s more than that please show your work.

MarkW

Methane breaks down into CO2 and water relatively rapidly. The warmer it gets, the faster the methane will break down.

R Shearer

Technically, that’s oxidation.

MarkW

What’s a little oxidation between friends?

Felix

A CH4 molecule rusts into a CO2 and two H2O molecules, courtesy of two O2 molecules.

Pop Piasa

Won’t these big guys need tusks to stave off the Polar Bears? Maybe just genetically engineer them to be made of graphite instead of ivory so they don’t carve well.
/sarc factor 7 – Mr Data, engage warped drive.

Jer0me

These people are quite insane. I think I’ll call it CO2 Derangement Syndrome (CDS) ™ in honour of the more famous TDS.

Andre Den Tandt

Tell me what I am missing: if snow is compressed, its insulating capacity is reduced. These mammoths would then INCREASE the amount of cold that enters the ground, The article claims the opposite.

AGW is not Science

They’re saying that is “desirable,” since the colder ground would experience less “melting” and would, therefore, release less methane that is supposedly held “captive” in the frozen ground.

MarkW

The mammoths are allegedly going to scrape the snow off the ground so that they can eat the grass.
Which will then allow the cold air to contact the ground cooling the ground.
On the other hand, wouldn’t removing all that snow expose the ground to sun shine, which would then warm up the ground?

Karlos51

oh shush with your logic stuff.. they’re bringing back Eden© so everything will be perfect and wonderful again

rocketscientist

Didn’t the The original Star Trek cover some morality episode about “Eden” where Spock sang his song.
As I recall it did’t work out so well for those deluded hippies either.

Steve Zell

Jurassic Park in Siberia to stamp out global warming.
But if someone injects woolly mammoth DNA into an elephant egg, how does anyone know what will result? Can a female elephant carry it to term and give birth to it? Would it be fertile, or would it be sterile like the result of interbreeding between a horse and a donkey? Would it have enough hair to survive in Siberia, or would it be nearly hairless like an elephant, which needs a warm climate?
Furthermore, does anyone really know why the woolly mammoths died out in the first place? Maybe because their habitat got too cold to support the vegetation needed to feed them? What would a hybrid mammoth/elephant eat in the winter in Siberia?

texasjimbrock

Maybe the plan is to introduce them into Siberia so that in wintertime they will move south and disrupt the economy of Russia.

Steve Zell May 3, 2018 at 8:24 am
Jurassic Park in Siberia to stamp out global warming.
But if someone injects woolly mammoth DNA into an elephant egg, how does anyone know what will result? Can a female elephant carry it to term and give birth to it? Would it be fertile, or would it be sterile like the result of interbreeding between a horse and a donkey? Would it have enough hair to survive in Siberia, or would it be nearly hairless like an elephant, which needs a warm climate?

That’s not what they’re talking about. What’s planned is to take the elephant genome and edit mammoth genes in place of the various elephant genes. Hopefully if you do it correctly the genome in the egg would be mammoth with all the normal support systems of the elephant, with a bit of luck it would be able to develop and produce a living mammoth. Lots of things could go wrong but an interesting experiment.

Felix

They propose to replace only a tiny part of the Asian elephant genome with mammoth genes. It will still for all intents and purposes be an Asian elephant, if the process works.

rocketscientist

Do they know which genes control which physiological developments? I may be mistaken, but I don’t think we’er quite able to determine which genes in a mammoth’s genome account for long hair and big curling tusks (numerous other differences as well) that would replace which gene sequence in an Asian elephant. At best they would create some hybrid, but it may not be sterile as research has shown that inter-species breeding has occurred in the past.
As a first step, why not simply take an African elephant genome, snip out the unwanted parts, replace them with the corresponding genomic sequences from an Asian elephant, then implant it into an African elephant host female? If they know what they are doing in about 22 months an Asian elephant should be born.

Felix

The researchers, if they merit that status, seem unwilling to risk the life of a female elephant of any species.
But, IMO, inserting only 44 mammoth genes into a ~25,000-gene Asian elephant genome ought not to put the surrogate mom at risk.
https://sciencelife.uchospitals.edu/2015/07/02/the-genes-that-make-a-woolly-mammoth-a-woolly-mammoth/
The longer hair and curvier tusks of a woolly mammoth probably wouldn’t require new genes, ie protein-coding sequences. Rather, those traits would more likely be due to control sequences, which start and stop the protein-making and development processes.
For instance, humans and chimps have the same number of hair follicles per square inch of body, but our hairs grow short and theirs long. There might also be differences in our hair protein genes, but IMO probably not significant. Similarly, the differences in our teeth are also due to control sequences. We both have 32 teeth, with characteristic great ape molar shape. But their canines are much bigger, the better to fight with.

Andre Den Tandt

Tell me what I am missing: if snow is compressed, its insulating capacity is reduced. These mammoths would then INCREASE the amount of cold that enters the ground, The article claims the opposite.
On re-reading the article, I am now not so sure.

Steve Keohane

Mammoths were herbivores, they lived where plants were growing, not some arctic wasteland.

Keith J

This is true. Mammoths survived through SEASONS, being able to uncover grass buried in snow.
Loss of habitat caused their demise, this was most likely desertification. I blame the 2555 BC Ford Excusion.

Aaron Edwards

“Edit out the tusks”…what a self righteous goof ball. There is a reason nature wanted the Mammoth to have these tusks, balance, digging up the ground for food, defense. “To protect them from hunters”, what a pile. There is also a reason nature let them go extinct. Massive herds roaming across Canada and Siberia will never happen.

tty

As for mammoth farting, mammoths and other elephants aren’t ruminants and so produce much less methane (though not zero).
As for the tundra being different during this interglacial because there are no large grazing animals, it is a quite old idea and indeed very likely true.
Of course it would take a lot of mammoths and probably several centuries to change that.
And nature didn’t “let them go extinct”. They were exterminated. But I agree that “editing out the tusks” would probably doom any resurrected mammoths. Quite apart from defense against predators the wear pattern on mammoth tusks show that they were used to scrape away snow to get at the plants underneath.

Latitude

not only is it very likely untrue……no one seems to have any comprehension how big that area is…and how few animals there were

Sheri

Your “exterminated” is Darwin’s survival of the fittest, and it wasn’t the mammoths.

Caribous migrating north into the North American tundra shrink in size . That’s why there are no large herbivores grazing on the tundra..

Paul Blase

Interestingly enough, natural selection, in the form of poachers, is currently selecting for African elephants without tusks!

Felix

And for male lions without manes.

J Mac

Can ‘Crispr’ edit out virtue signalling environMental genetic stupidity?
It could save the planet!

Mumbles McGuirck

But if you edit that out of the liberal genome there will be nothing left!

J Mac

Good point! Hmmm – that might explain the ‘Kardashians’…. and Lindsay Lohan!

michael hart

And then they woke up.

Crispin in Waterloo

” As a result, the frozen soil, packed with leaves and other organic materials that haven’t decayed, will become exposed, releasing carbon into the atmosphere in the form of the greenhouse gasses carbon dioxide and methane.”
Hang on – where did this vegetation come from? Why is it now frozen? Obviously it wasn’t before, so it must be a heck of a lot colder now than it was when it grew there.
There is something fundamentally weird about trying to preserve biomass that grew when it was much warmer, using arguments that it must never be as warm ever again because that old vegetation could rot into methane, and no biomass could ever grow in its stead.
Turning the tundra into grassy woodlands would be a boon to humanity, animals, the climate and the atmosphere. What’s not to like? The alarming loss of parasitic careers?

Indeed Crispin. It is a jaw-droppingly, mind-bogglingly stupid argument revealing a depth of ignorance of the physical world which is properly difficult to credit.

Sara

Well, there are some species of plants in the Siberian tundra that went extinct 10,000 years ago, but have been revived. The Siberian pink is one of them.

Felix

https://www.livescience.com/18559-ancient-plants-resurrected-siberian-permafrost.html
Animals would be tougher:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De-extinction
To recreate the woolly mammoth would require the same process as with the Pyrenean ibex, but using ancient DNA rather than genetic material taken from a living animal. They still wouldn’t be purely mammoth, since their mtDNA would be from an Asian elephant, but close enough.
First you’d have to stitch together a complete mammoth genome from the fragments that we have, so something would surely be missing or go wrong. Also, mammoths had 58 chromosomes, while African and Asian elephants have 56. This isn’t an insurmountable obstacle.
All horses have 64 chromosomes, except for the Ice Age Prezewalski’s, which has 66. Similarly, all great apes except humans have 48 chromosomes, but in us, two smaller standard ape chromosomes are fused into our larger Number Two, so that we have only 46.

AGW is not Science

“What’s not to like? The alarming loss of parasitic careers?”
BINGO!

tty

As for the “methane bomb”, some temperatures from the supposed “bomb area” in NE Siberia during the previous interglacial:
Oyogos Yar: 9 degrees wamer than now
Bol’shoy Lyakhovsky Island: 10 degrees warmer than now
Bolshaya Rassokha: 8 degrees warmer than now
Yelon: 5 degrees warmer than now
Bolshoii Khomus-Yuryakh: 6 degrees warmer than now
Bolshaya Kuobakh-Baga: 12 degrees warmer than now
El’gygytgyn Lake: 10 degrees warmer than now
All in Celsius degrees. And nothing whatsoever happened to the amount of methane in the atmosphere.

Felix

Also despite all that Eemian warmth, the megafauna survived. What was different in the cooler Holocene was humans.

Ed Zuiderwijk

There is no such thing as a ‘methane climate change timebomb’. Ventilating ruminants have no effect on the energy balance of the planet whatsoever. The porkies that we are being told about the magic properties of that atmospheric trace element are based on illusions produced by fundamentally flawed climate models.

AGW is not Science

Yup – just like the non-existent magical properties of CO2.

ResourceGuy

They must have good bones to be able to tamp down the Siberian lava traps and alternatively they must have web feet for the marsh lands.

Sara

I will never understand this Jurassic Park idiocy. The mammoth died out a VERY long time ago, over 4,000 years ago. They are related to elephants but they are NOT the same critters.
Elephants and mammoths diverged between five and three million years ago to form three genera in the family: Loxodonta, the African elephants; Elephas, the Asian elephant; and Mammuthus, which includes the several vanished species of mammoths.
This is ridiculous!!! I hope these people who are fiddling around with Mother Nature are using money they won in the lottery. If not, they should be ashamed of themselves. Why not clone Ramses II while your’e at it? Or Secretariat? Survival is a byproduct of an animal’s ability to adapt to a changing environment. Mammoths Are extinct, and no, they didn’t have a whole lot to do with scraping the tundra. It’s more likely they fertilized it all over the place.
There’s a REASON they’re gone. Let them go in peace.
What’s next? Pterodactyls and T. Rex?

texasjimbrock

hmm. How in Hell will they scrape away the surface if they have no tusks?

Sara

How will they survive if there’s not enough food for them to eat? If an elephant consumes as much as 600 pounds of fodder, including grasses, small trees and bushes, per day, where is the food going to come from that these critters are supposed to live on ? They are almost as large as modern elephants, require the same caloric content, as well as water (up to 80 gallons per day) and need a wide range to forage.
I hope sincerely that this idiocy fails and fails badly, for the sake of any prospective mammoths or mammoth elephant crosses. There is no reason to inflict this twaddle on them.
Oh, yeah, I almost left out that thing about how wealthy people will want a mammoth for themselves. Count on it.

Original Mike M

The charlatans have this on auto pilot. They claim that a reduction of snow/ice in some Arctic places is endangering the planet but then also claim that allowing it to remain in other Arctic places is endangering the planet. Not only does global warming cause more and less snow/ice – we’re double doomed because it’s doing it in the wrong places!

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

Every time you think peak stupidity has been reached the eco-enthusiasts manage to surpass themselves with astonishing ease.

Peter Morris

It’s almost like no one understands science fiction any more.
There’s a reason we call it the “Law” of Unintended Consequences.

texasjimbrock

hmm. How in Hell will they scrape away the surface if they have no tusks?

Peta of Newark

Cows don’t fart.
They may belch but only significantly when force fed an unsuitable diet. Namely, a diet high in cellulosic stalks and seed-heads (aka ‘fibre’)
Normally when out in the wild they would selectively harvest/eat only the leaves of the grass plants – the leaves being the sugar factories of plants.
The stalky indigestible parts would be trampled down into the soil (creating the organic matter they are so concerned about.
A layer of snow or ice is generally regarded by farmers, growers and horticulturists to have significant (soil) insulating properties.
Should a frost be predicted in a vineyard at a susceptible time, growers are actually advised to spray the plants with water to create a layer of ice on sensitive buds which actually prevents frost damage. (Enquiring minds want to know where the GHGE stands on this)
People fart.
That they find it either hilariously funny or regard it as normal is (just one more) milestone down the road predicted by Ehrlich.
Human farting represents the uncontrolled anaerobic decomposition of otherwise indigestible and unsuitable foodstuff.
Done by some very angry and desperately unpleasant unpleasant bacteria that would normally be found in sewers, septic tanks and wet/stinking compost heaps. An absolute bonfire of free-radical reactions.
And medical science wonders where and/all of the autoimmune disorders and cancers come from.
Simply incredible.
Methane in the atmosphere is akin to the VOCs produced by plants.
Why do they do that?
Possibly the VOCs and methane alike are ‘sacrificial lambs’ sent up by the plants to mop up ground-level ozone – the most biologically destructive stuff known to man or nature.
(and mammoths probably. bless them. such sweeties)
What exactly would be wrong with resurrecting the (millions of) buffalo……………

Bryan A

I liked this little tidbit at the end of the Newsweek Article

As part of this research, the Professor Church’s lab also hopes to synthesize in vitro a strain of herpes that affects Asian elephants, with the possibility of creating a treatment or vaccine.

Giving the Asian Elephant a Venereal Disease at pre-birth will certainly have no ill effect on the species and won’t lead to their eventual demise due to disease passed through breeding

Bryan A May 3, 2018 at 9:55 am
I liked this little tidbit at the end of the Newsweek Article
As part of this research, the Professor Church’s lab also hopes to synthesize in vitro a strain of herpes that affects Asian elephants, with the possibility of creating a treatment or vaccine.
Giving the Asian Elephant a Venereal Disease at pre-birth will certainly have no ill effect on the species and won’t lead to their eventual demise due to disease passed through breeding

EEHV is not a venereal disease but it is a fatal disease among Asian elephants and Church’s group is attempting to develop a vaccine for it. Like the herpes virus that causes chickenpox it is spread via mucous aerosols.

Coming soon to your local restaurant, the Siberian Mammoth Burger., totally Mehane free.

Craig Moore
ResourceGuy

Okay we have reached the point now where the GDP of green stupid is large enough to be counted and reported alongside other nations.

Reziac

Well, it’s pretty clear these same …scientists… have:
1) no clue of the vastness of the Arctic, or just how many mammoths and their stompy footprints would be required (Hint: enough to completely denude the region)
2) no clue what being thoroughly winter-scraped of insulation against -60F temps and the ground being “stomped down” does to vegetation. (Hint: instant desert.)
Methinks the publish-or-perish crowd have jumped the shark. Or in this case, have ridden the mammoth.

Alan Tomalty

METHANE SCARE DEBUNKED
https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/natural-methane-time-bomb-unlikely-wreak-climate-havoc
It is impossible for methane trapped beneath the permafrost to escape if permafrost melts because the microbes eat it up as soon as it starts to melt.
“The researchers believe that soil and marine bacteria that feed on frozen fossil methane as it melts may explain its limited release, by preventing the methane from ever reaching the atmosphere.”

John harmsworth

There are other herbivores in the Arctic. One assumes that if there is now a surplus of food there due to the extinction of mammoths these other herbivore populations would have expanded to eat it. Reindeer and muskoxen are present in limited numbers.
Nobody in their right mind would think that mammoths will ever constitute large populations up there. The fodder doesn’t exist for that with a 2 month growing season. These pinheads are completely out of their minds.

Mark Luhman

The pin heads don’t even understand that the mammoths went extinct because the savanna they depended on turned to tundra. They could not survive on the food offered by tundra.

MarkW

If that’s what killed them, how did they survive the other inter-glacials?

Felix

For most of their time on earth, woolly mammoths and other extinct megafauna relied on the currently almost extinct steppe-tundra biome, which existed all the way around the ice sheets.
During prior interglacials, the megafauna survived by eating a mix of pure steppe and tundra vegetation, which required migration. But during the last glacial termination and early Holocene, the megafauna suffered from human predation.
Those which went extinct were wiped out by people, not climate change, which the species had experienced before.

Felix

Woollies evolved at least 400 Ka, and possibly even 800 Ka, depending upon what you think are the key differences between steppe and woolly mammoths. So they survived at least three prior interglacials, including the long, hot Eemian, which preceded the Holocene.

John harmsworth May 3, 2018 at 11:29 am
There are other herbivores in the Arctic. One assumes that if there is now a surplus of food there due to the extinction of mammoths these other herbivore populations would have expanded to eat it. Reindeer and muskoxen are present in limited numbers.

It’s much more complicated than a one-to-one substitution, there are some interesting studies on this.
One example is the parks in Mozambique, the long lasting civil war there caused most of the large herbivores to be wiped out. As a result the savannah reverted to woodland because there were no elephants to browse the trees. Since the war the elephants are increasing and the woods are gradually diminishing but the grazing herbivores such as zebras are only making a slow comeback because their preferred habitat, grassland, still isn’t back to its former levels. Similar transformations are occurring in Yellowstone as a result of the return of the wolf, it takes decades to return to the former environments. Reintroduction of mammoths if it was possible would lead to more widespread changes than just those mentioned in the article.

R Shearer

If you think that pesky rabbits and deer munching on your garden flowers and vegetables are bad, just wait.

The polar bears must be behind all of this.

commieBob

Beyond stupid. An adult elephant eats 200 – 600 pounds of vegetation each day. link
Plants grow very slowly in the arctic. The plants are rather small. There simply is not enough productivity to feed large elephant-like creatures. At least caribou can scrape lichens off rocks. link I have trouble imagining elephants doing that.

Felix

Yes. The environments which supported the megafauna were richer. The steppe-tundra existed south of the ice sheets.

Felix

The purported process wouldn’t even make a real mammoth. It would barely even be a hybrid, with just 44 mammoth genes out of the over 25,000 genes in Asian elephants.
Woolly mammoth and Asian elephant genomes differ by only ~1.4 million mutations, making an Asian elephant already 99.96% woolly mammoth on a whole genome basis. Of those mutations, 2020 change 1642 genes (~6.5% of all genes in the genome). So the project scientists’ hybrid, if successful, would be only ~2.7% more mammothy than an Asian elephant.
Clearly, the “climate change” angle is only to improve the chances of the scheme’s being funded.

Felix

By contrast, humans have an estimated 19,000 genes, but possibly fewer. Estimates keep dropping. The Asian elephant estimate might also drop with better sequencing and gene identification procedures.
A gene is a segment of the genome coding for a protein (usually). The smallest gene doesn’t code for a protein, but a small nucleic acid essential to prokaryote and eukaryote life. It is thus ancient, coding for Transfer RNA, at 76 base pairs long. The largest human gene is TTN, which codes for the giant (26,927 amino acids) protein titin, a “molecular spring” responsible for the passive elasticity of muscle. At 80,781 base pairs (three per amino acid), it’s over a thousand times longer than the tRNA gene.

Felix

This link doesn’t report the discovery, but sequencing of elephant genomes shows that the two African species, currently placed in the same genus Loxodonta, are actually as different as Asian elephants (genus Elephas) are from mammoths (Mammuthus), which are assigned to different genera.
https://www.broadinstitute.org/elephant/elephant-genome-project
So Family Elephantidae should have two or four genera, not three, ie either lumping mammoths and Asian elephants together or splitting Loxodonta.
Remarkably, Pleistocene North America enjoyed three genera in three families of Order Proboscidea: woolly and Columbian (possibly more than one species) mammoths from the elephant family, mastodons from Family Mammutidae and gomphotheres from Family Gomphotheriidae.

u.k.(us)

Not mammoths, but curly horses.
Cute video:

Felix

Shed mammoth hair would have been a great resource for ancient humans. Except maybe for the ectoparasites shed with the hair.

Very cool! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of curly horses.
uk(us), I’ve been really enjoying watching horse training videos by Warwick Schiller. They are absolutely fascinating. Perhaps you might enjoy this one (and Part II) as a lead in …

u.k.(us)

I watched them both Max, very interesting and thanks for the links.
Now on to Kentucky Derby…..mile and a quarter, it’s gonna come down to conditioning, that killer instinct and a little bit of luck.

Steve O

Something tells me that a frozen wasteland is not going to provide enough food for such a mammoth animal.

Felix

Also, among the key traits distinguishing mammoths from the other two elephant genera are the “fingers” of their trunks and of course their teeth. These adaptations allowed their ancestors to survive on grasslands and the woollies themselves to eat steppe-tundra vegetation.

Felix

comment image?EB900
Don’t have a picture of mammoth “fingers”:comment image

Felix
pochas94

Well if they can’t find enough food, we’ll have to grow some for them. They will provide plenty of fertilizer.

Felix

The megafauna did probably help maintain the steppe-tundra.
Tourists would probably pay for the hay with which to feed the “mammoths”, which would really be variety of Asian elephant, given the small number of mammoth genes the scheme’s proponents aim to insert into Elephas DNA.

eyesonu

A shopper in my local food mart today was really getting a good laugh. Seems he met a mammoth shopper and along with the placement of her cart blocked the isles at every opportunity and made no attempt to accommodate anyone else. She would have tried to block a 2 lane highway if given the chance. Well the shopper met the mammoth in the bread/bakery dept and again, blockage! So as the shopper abandoned his cart to get a loaf of bread he hesitated for a few moments by the mammoth’s cart as he passed. Hastily retreating and watching with a big grin. Then another innocent shopper got trapped by the mammoth from the other direction. They both had confusion and disgust on their faces as they eyed one another. Funny that! What could have caused the smell in the bakery department?
Similar set up in the canned goods. Mammoth blockage again! Well, the smiling shopper abandoned his cart and proceeded to the blockage, hesitated a moment or so, and picked up a couple of cans of beans while passing. Hasty retreat and grinning observations. Did the beans do it or could it have been the spaghetti and/or deviled eggs?
Anyway, are mammoths getting the rap for passing methane or could it be a result of other environmental releases? Maybe a mammoth will be easier to find than the elephant in the room. Probably the true result will be no real mammoth and the elephant will remain elusive.

Gunga Din

Tough to follow the logic.
The “perma”frost is melting because of CaGW so the solution is to geoengineer an extinct critter (minus it’s tucks) so it can scrape the snow away so the … Uh … “Climate Change” cold can keep the “perma”frost frozen?
Why not just have Elon Musk build a bunch of snowplow-equipped Teslas to scrape the snow away?
How often do polar bears or wolves eat Teslas?
(Of course, in “Land of the Midnight Sun”, he might have to addsome windmills to his design to keep them going….or some solar panels and really BIG batteries to keep them raking in the gree…er…plowing the snow.)

Hocus Locus

Bringing back a mammoth population is a WIN, a breeding population up North might help ensure the survival of human kind in those regions some day. Ayla loved the taste of mammoth meat. So did Jondalar, and with a full belly he could devote more time looking for Ayla’s nodule.

“Vast hairy beasts tramping the Arctic Tundra will help save the world.”
I wasn’t aware the Million Women’s Pussy March took that route.

Ve2

Bugger you, I had a mouth full of coffee when I read that.

Felix

comment image

pochas94

I’d like to see them bring back the Mammoth and place it in an appropriate environment free of environmentalists. Let’s add another to our inventory of large mammals. Yea, Mammoths!

Felix

It’s a shame that the woolies came so close to surviving the Holocene. The last members of the species and genus were apparently suffering genetic meltdown on their fairly small Arctic island refuge, but the oldest known human habitation on Wrangel agrees pretty well with the timing of the mammoth’s final extinction. They might however have died of natural causes shortly before the arrival of people.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrangel_Island#First_human_settlements_and_the_extinction_of_the_woolly_mammoth
Had they lasted longer, however, later human immigrants and visitors would most likely have wiped them out anyway.

s-t

“The scientists plan to genetically edit out the tusks,”
So the scientists believe these animals evolved to have tusks to please collectors? Or for some essential reason?
I believe that when the GOP left the intellectual fight against evolution, academics took over that ecological niche. Might be evolution at play here.

Felix

Columbian (misspelled in the article) mammoth tracks from Central Oregon, and graphics on the “de-extinction” scheme:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5386149/Ice-Age-mammoth-fossils-reveals-caring-mammoth-society.html