> Can mammoths really reverse climate change?
> Colossal say that they want to 'rewild extinct species to their original habitats so they can revitalize lost ecosystems for a healthier planet'.
> It is claimed that woolly mammoths will help to fight climate change by restoring the vast grassland steppes which once encircled the Arctic pole but which changed to forest when the mammoth went extinct.
> 'One of the benefits of grasslands over tundra or forests in the high Arctic is they are really good carbon sinks,' explains Victoria. 'During the summer months the grasses grow high before dying back in the winter. But because of the cold temperature, they don't degrade. Every season's growth is stored in the ground. That is why the permafrost is a massive carbon sink.'
> It is argued that the giant herbivores such as mammoths maintained these open grasslands by keeping encroaching forests at bay, and as a result helped cool the planet.
That seems like pure nonsense and perhaps a way to market their goofy experiment to gullible journalists.
It’s so obvious: we should sequester carbon inside of wooly mammoths.
> That seems like pure nonsense and perhaps a way to market their goofy experiment to gullible journalists.
The effect of mammoths can be true AND it can be "a way to market their goofy experiment to gullible journalists". We've seen significant changes caused by the near extinction of the American Bison for instance.
Anyways, ecosystems are complex. Here in Scotland we have a proliferation of deer, which no longer have any predators except cars and posh men with guns. No new trees with them around. They are also destroying peatlands, which I imagine are a much better carbon sink than grassland.
Grass does not have much nutritional content. A beast of the size of a mammoth will have to eat a lot of it to sustain itself.
>The aim of the project is to research the climatic effects of the expected changes in the ecosystem. Here the hypothesis is that the change from tundra to grassland will result in a raised ratio of energy emission to energy absorption of the area, leading to less thawing of permafrost and thereby less emission of greenhouse gases. It is also thought that removal of snow by large herbivores will further reduce the permafrost's insulation.
>To study this, large herbivores have been released, and their effect on the local fauna is being monitored. Preliminary results point at the ecologically low-grade tundra biome being converted into a productive grassland biome and at the energy emission of the area being raised.
Grasslands evolved in symbiotic relationships with the animals that tread on them, just as in any other part of the biosphere. As long as the wooly mammoth population is kept in check by humans, since they are not introducing mammoth predators, they will aerate the ground, eat and spread seeds, and provide essential elements and minerals to the soil as a natural part of their excretion processes. It will also have knock-on effects as insects regain access to dung, and that will feed the birds, and the birds and their eggs will become food for other animals, and so on.
It's a lot easier to restore ecology that existed 10-20 thousand years ago than to wait millions of years for another set of species to maximize the biological output of a given area. Rewilding is based on solid science and is thankfully here to stay.
But if course, we don't really know how Mammoths lived, how far they travelled, where and when they bred, etc.
Maybe all humans had to do was wait on some river crossings in a specific time of the year because some instincts told the Mammoths to traverse that route every year before mating season. Or maybe we didn't extinguish Mammoths and they died from some contagion (why should that only happen to humans?).
One of these is not like the others
They are trying to make a cold weather adapted elephant
If it fills the ecological niche of an <X>, and it looks like and has many of the same genes as an <X>, is it not an <X>?
There's a bit of sci-fi fun in Neal Stephenson's wonderful "Seveneves" where people are trying to re-populate the earth with animals after a planet-wide extinction event. They originally tried to make exactly the same wolves and lynx and rabbits and so on, but eventually realized they could just make "big pack dog animal" and "stalking cat animal" to fill the niches and let evolution do the fine tuning for them.
We breed zillions of animals without ever asking them for consent. In part because it's impossible. Those are some brand new goalposts.
It’s way easier to write a press release than it is to actually do the work. The image of “how to draw an owl” comes to mind.
It seems really reckless to me to resurrect long dead creatures and to call that "healing the earth". I don't think these people have the systems in place to model the ecosystem accurately enough to know whether introducing a new hybrid into the environment would be beneficial for any creature on Earth (except themselves of course ... I'm sure they'll have a great Instagram post about it).
The problem becomes apparent if we look at African elephants - if the matriarch is killed before passing on her knowledge, the herd often dies or disbands.
Now imagine just popping a small group of mammoths into existence who never roamed the Arctic tundra and expect them to just "know" how to mammoth. It takes many generations to achieve that and given that they can live about as long as humans, I doubt the researchers are really able to help with that.
That said, presumably they'd rear the baby mammoths with elephants and at least develop social skills, even if they can't develop environmental skills; and then support the animals as they become used to arctic conditions. But would that just the be the equivalent of raising Neanderthals and then transporting them to the wilderness for their Exciting New Life In The Wild?
It's definitely the latter, but through the power of repetition people started to believe it was the former.
That last point is another place where I expect a huge fiction-reality gap. If I pay to watch a movie about a dinosaur getting loose, I want to see it shrug off bunker-busting missiles from fighter jets, with big fireball explosions and people jumping in the air and the hero magically surviving. I don't want to see a short, sad walk down to the city park where they try and fail for an hour to coax it back and ultimately decide that they have to shoot it with a slightly larger than average rifle. That's the boring and horrible but realistic scenario.
There's nothing wrong with the movie scene not being realistic, but there is something wrong with blindly assuming that the movie scene is realistic.
That's... kinda my point!
Zoos keep large animals in significantly smaller areas that are easier to control and maintain. I can see someone making "Jurassic Zoo" where you're keeping a few fairly docile dinosaurs in an area of a few acres. I don't have hard data but the territories in Jurassic Park look like they were measured in square miles.
Re: enclosure size, that's because city land is expensive, not because the mathematics of chaos theory dictate that it is impossible to hold an animal in a large enclosure. Come on.
It's still fiction and not an attempt to realistically estimate the rate at which problems would happen or the magnitude of those problems if they did. Look to zoos if you want a realistic point of comparison for the risk analysis -- but not if you want to watch a T-Rex chase kids in Jeeps.
I thought this was more applicable.
Have you watched the show? It's "public", but it's so huge that the guest concentration closer to rural town than disney world.
It's a cute idea but that would be stupidly expensive. It would be difficult to compete with the nearby hotel that includes 10 robo-whores complementary with each night at 1/100th of the price; or a giga-chad sex machine that you can just purchase for home use. For sex, or, actually, just as a worker to do real labor because that's a hugely valuable task to society rather than playing pretend saloon whore for a few billionaires.
They did mention that the real money maker for the park was information collection, not the admission fees.
>Arnold organizes a demonstration of the hosts to convince Logan to invest in Westworld. Logan's father, James Delos, is critical of his son's actions until William persuades him that the park can be used to spy on the guests. James proceeds to buy out the park and name William as his successor.
Bringing back an extinct species in order to exploit it.
Apologies if your comment was meant to be humorous.
No. I can say this unequivocally. What a stupid question.
Given our long string of eco system manipulation success stories I mean...
And this time we're not even limited to existing species, exciting times indeed.
Since there's no complete DNA of an individual specimen available, it's impossible to recreate an actual mammoth.
What they're hoping to do is basically isolate the genes that give certain traits (esp. cold adaptation, e.g. fur) and add them to the genome of Asian elephants.
So all they can get - best case - is some sort of mammoth/Asian elephant hybrid.