Is the Mammoth Making a Comeback?
“I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.”
Will the mammoth walk the earth again? At one time, herds of these giant creatures, which stand 10 to 12 feet tall at the shoulder, covered North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. In late 1999, Russian and American scientists excavated a buried, frozen mammoth in Northern Siberia. Once excavated, the mammoth was airlifted, using Russia’s largest helicopter, to Siberian ice caves that were fashioned into a laboratory. There the frozen mammoth was studied to see if either sperm, or DNA could be extracted from it.
This is not as fantastic as it sounds. A mammoth calf that was found in 1977 was found to have intact red blood cells. In 1978, DNA was first extracted from another mammoth. Researchers hope that they can extract intact sperm from the male they are now studying and use it to fertilize an elephant’s egg. The result would be half mammoth and half elephant. If scientists can extract intact DNA another possibility opens up. The DNA can be inserted in an emptied elephant egg and the egg induced to divide. The result of this procedure would be pure mammoth of the Mammuthus species, one of six or seven known species. Scientists are able to use elephants in this work because there is only a five percent genetic difference between the two creatures.
If mammoths again walk among us, these huge creatures will glorify the God Who originally created them. They will add to the diversity of life we see around us that glorifies God’s power and creativity.
Prayer: I thank You, Father, that You own me because of Christ’s sacrifice. Amen.
Author: Paul A. Bartz
Ref: Barb Williamson, Agenbroad heads for Siberian woolly mammoth, September 20, 1999. Photo: Skeleton of Columbian mammoth in the George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles. Courtesy of WolfmanSF. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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