With the advances in cloning that have happened recently, it's inevitable that people would start attempting to bring back species that have been extinct. There are many likely motives for this, ranging from the sadness of losing a member of our biodiversity, to the green glow of lucre. If one were to attempt to bring back an extinct animal for profit, simply reviving the Caribbean monk seal would probably not be crowd-drawing enough to base an amusement park on. No, you'd probably want something with more drama. Something more foreign would definitely draw more than the academics and activists. And let's face it, professors and protestors don't have much spare cash for small plastic souvenir statues. You'd want something like a dinosaur, or, maybe, a woolly mammoth. Guess what?

The Times of London have reported that Japanese scientists are going to use DNA from the testicles and leg of a frozen woolly mammoth to create viable woolly mammoth sperm. They then plan to use this to impregnate the mammoth's closest genetic descendent, an Indian elephant. Then they plan to repeat the process with the anachronistic offspring from this unlikely union and create a purer mammoth. Eventually, they hope to have an "88 percent mammoth in 50 years."

Aside from the great publicity and public interest in a woolly mammoth, there are other reasons for choosing this species. Namely, there are reportedly ten million mammoths frozen in Siberia. This is apparently an estimation from the roughly one hundred existing mammoths which have been found with the limited exploration that has occurred. Frozen specimens are much easier to mine DNA from, as you have much more of the original host than calcified bone tissue.

The mammoth hybrid will inhabit a new park, which will also import living animals which can be traced back to the ice ages, such as horses, bison, and musk oxen. So, it must be a theme park? Of course, the alarmists are already crying "Jurassic Park" in terror. Yes, I'm sure hordes of super-intelligent mammoths will be mowing us down in no time.

There is legitimate cause for concern in precedent, however. This will be a landmark achievement, and surely there will be similar projects afterwards, by the same or other teams, with more potentially dangerous offspring. When do we go too far? The moralities of cloning are debatable, but not in this node. For now, enjoy Woolly Mammoth Park! (or whatever they name it)

http://www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/08/21/clone.mammoth/index.html - One of the first reports about the cloning
http://www.pinnipeds.fsnet.co.uk/species/caribmnk.htm - Information about the majestic Carribean monk seal