A new bioscience startup called Colossal is proposing the de-extinction of woolly mammoths.
That’s not just a bad idea, says conservation scientist Shermin de Silva, but a cruel one.
“The effort squanders resources to re-engineer a species that evolved for a world that not only doesn’t exist but is actively growing more hostile to it,” she explains.
“To reintroduce an Ice Age giant to a rapidly warming and increasingly populated planet seems irresponsible to say the least. More than that, it is fundamentally exploitative.”
As someone who studies the — still living — Asian elephant population, Dr. de Silva is painfully aware of how far the kind of funding that the mammoth project is proposing could go towards protecting these animals.
“An investment of $15 million in a single company might seem modest, given the obscene amounts of funding Silicon Valley funders routinely dispense, but it would keep a field site such as a mine operational for more than 300 years (not accounting for inflation),” she says.