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Scientists Say They Could Bring Back Woolly Mammoths. But Maybe They Shouldn't (npr.org)
25 points by fortran77 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 20 comments





To the people in this article who are saying “but why not save the elephants instead?”: they’re going to have to learn a whole lot about pachyderm genetics and reproduction to do this project. Sometimes asking different questions gets surprisingly useful results.

Combat climate change with woolly mammoths? Come on.

On the other hand, if someone wants to revive big animals, that's fine. It's someone reviving small, hard to eradicate animals that's dangerous.


I’m curious if the people behind this have other goals in between that could be commercialized. Similar to having general AI as your end goal (although much more modest) and extracting value from the early stages required to get there. Similar to how OpenAI releases sub-projects.

This could support a more ambitious objective without being a total never ending research project.

Maybe on the way they’ll find something more interesting and doable.

The CRISPR stuff they will be doing has some cross over and is quite trendy still.


Cloning humans at scale. For parts, research, and life extension.

Once we get comfortable with the ethics of cloning, we can create decephalized humans for widespread tissue/organ transplant and unprecedented biological research on actual human systems.

Grow headless humans in artificial wombs. Or pig wombs until the tech catches up.

Surgically remove the brains. Or deactivate certain genes during development. Artificial innervation, hormone/metabolome, and muscle stimulus.

Whole-head transplants from live humans to new bodies could double human lifespans. Suddenly cancer and heart disease are no longer issues.

Cloned humans can have universally compatible HLA histocompatibility. No tissue rejects. No life altering immunosuppressants.

We could rejuvenate immune systems from depleted thymuses. Perform negative selection of the host.

It'd be game changing.

Maybe 300 year lifespans.

If we can reverse the clock on neurons by fixing the metabolome and immune system, we might end death to anything but accidents and suicide. Then AGI and brain uploads...

Immortality. It's within reach.


Slow down echelon. We're here debating if it's a good idea to clone a woolly mammoth. It's going to take decades until we as a society even start to contemplate the ethics of immortality

MTA from dying in a fatal incident is ~600 years for an average person. Source: an exercise we did in a university using statistics for all kinds of fatal accidents provided by a national statistics agency.

You have to be able to transfer consciousness into a new empty brain. 80 year old brain in a 29 year old shell is still going to get strokes and Alzheimer’s

Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA damage, buildup of intracellular and extracellular damage, inflammation, a dysfunctional metabolism, etc. are all implicated in aging. This would remove at least two of those from the equation.

It's unclear what the restorative impact of a younger circulatory and immune system would be. Older cells may undergo elevated clearance and be regenerated.

We could develop drugs that target telomere loss. Cell turnover could fix more. CRISPR for the most common gene breakages.

Instead of saying we can't, say maybe we can.

Even if we couldn't use brainless cloned humans to immediately increase lifespans, we could have a nearly limitless supply of organs, tissues, blood, etc. It would also function as the best medical research platform in the world.


Strokes aren't inevitable in everyone. We can already tell which lifestyle factors are likely to result in one, and correct them should the person be willing. Alzheimer’s is trickier but recent research has shown promise, finding potential environmental links for instance.

Preserving the brain is preferable to consciousness transfers, unless you're looking for functional immortality.


Glad I'm going to die before this insane, depraved stuff becomes a reality. Hope they don't develop tech to reanimate me.

From a CNN article:

>"There is "zero pressure" for the project to make money, Lamm said. He is banking on the endeavor resulting in innovations that have applications in biotechnology and health care. He compared it to how the Apollo project got people caring about space exploration but also resulted in a lot of incredible technology, including GPS.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/13/world/woolly-mammoth-resurrec...


Maybe a theme park


They should. I want a wooly mammoth burger.

It is an interesting idea to use an animal to counter climate change.

Are there any organisms that are carbon negative or cause a net decrease in some energy balance?

I imagine some sort of bird with white/reflective feathers that would shade the east a bit. Maybe we could alter an algea so that instead of getting red/green color blooms there would be a white/reflective bloom so large portions of the ocean would reflect light instead.


Mammoths would be cool. But if we can do that, then why not Neanderthals?

And if we did the Neanderthals, what would the moral implications be?


We'd have to ask the Neanderthals.

Neanderthals are around. The genes are still with us.

They were so concerned with whether or not they could, they never stopped to think if they should.

They would certainly thrive in a warmer world, but nothing that the textile industry cannot solve.



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