The woolly mammoths are making a comeback. Should we eat them?

The woolly mammoths are making a comeback.  Should we eat them?
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AAnd what furries finally come to the laboratory to be born?

About 3900 years ago, last known in mainland Siberia woolly mammoth breathed his last. Since then, people have known mammoths only through their remains: a small number of frozen carcasses, complete with scattered bones and tattered remnants of their once fluffy fur. These remains have piqued our curiosity for centuries – a curiosity that will one day be satiated. Colossal Biosciences, a Texas-based startup, uses genetic engineering to bring species back to life.

“The woolly mammoth was the guardian of a healthier planet,” the company said. Using salvaged mammoth DNA, Colossal will genetically edit Asian elephants, the species’ closest relative. If his plans are successful, in six years he will be as close to a woolly mammoth or replica as possible. This year, the company attracted 75 million dollars from investors.

So a woolly mammoth may be reacquainted with humans some 3,906 years after it thought it saw the back of us — a species that has never seen a large mammal it doesn’t like the idea of ​​eating. Their don’t disappear It wasn’t just our fault—the end of the ice age massively reduced the size of their potential habitat—but, as some paleontologists argue, prehistoric times are littered with the corpses of megafauna we ate to extinction. Giant sloths, giant armadillos, scary monsters… whoever was presenting The planet Earth they had to stay on their feet in those days.

Given the apparent progress in mammoth recovery, we can also answer the obvious question: should we eat them? Colossal is silent on this prospect, focusing instead on the ecological benefits of mammoth recovery: the animal’s heavy gait thickens the permafrost, or melts the permafrost layer of soil, gravel and sand beneath the Earth’s surface, preventing the release of greenhouse gases. . “If the Mammoth Desert ecosystem could be restored,” the company claims, “it could help prevent rapid climate warming and protect the Arctic permafrost, one of the world’s largest carbon sinks.”

Still, you wonder if the person will be driven to indulge like their ancestors. At some point we too must decide whether we want to eat the woolly mammoth and any other species we choose to resurrect. Would you eat them?

Holly Whitelaw, director of Regenerative Food and Farming, said she would be up for it. “I’d eat anything that’s entirely pastured,” says Whitelaw. He says that roaming animals are healthy for the land; they spread seeds and germs as they walk. The healthier the Arctic soil, the more grass it holds and the more carbon it removes from the atmosphere. “It’s like bringing back the wolves,” says Whitelaw. “You make the whole level of the system work better again.”

It would be a great tragedy if we brought these great personalities into our age just to use and exploit them for our own benefit.

Natural History Museum paleontologist and woolly mammoth expert Victoria Herridge urged caution. Dr. who implements this kind of environmental project. Herridge explained The Telegraph“You’re running a bio-engineering experiment, if that’s what you’re aiming for [met], will create change on a global scale. This becomes the question: who can interfere with the planet’s climate system?’

Conversational tone Independent, Dr. Herridge expressed further concerns about the origin of these mammoths. “I have no problem with surrogate mothers,” she says. Genetically modified mammoth amalgams will be impregnated inside Asian elephants, exposing them to significant pain and medical risk.

These are objections not to the idea of ​​eating mammoth meat at the end of the project, but to the project itself. Dr Herridge considers this scenario unlikely, but he creates a hypothetical scenario in which he would consider eating mammoth meat. “Fast forward 100 years. Imagine that Siberia is not a swamp, but a place where woolly elephants roam, they do not walk through swamps full of mosquitoes. Let’s say they managed to breed 20,000 woolly elephants at this point. They wandered up to Banff and caused havoc and had to be culled annually to maintain this population. Would I turn him down? Nope. But there are many warnings.”

Whitelaw says pasture-raised mammoth has a good ratio of omega:3 to omega:6 fats, making it a good dietary choice. With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine Paleo enthusiasts catering to consumer demand. Dr. Herridge remains skeptical. “The idea that you can have a diet that goes back to this ancient way is really problematic,” he says. “There’s this naïve idea that there’s a lost Eden. Our view on this is based on nothing but wishes and stereotypes.”

Dinner tonight? Woolly mammoths from the 2016 film Ice Age: Collision Course


There are other ways of looking at this question. Thinkers like blog author Brian Tomasik Essays on alleviation of sufferingargues that if you’re going to eat animals, “it’s generally better to eat the bigger ones so that you have more meat for a horrible life and a painful death. For example, a beef cow produces 100 times more meat than a chicken, so all the chicken is worth all the money.” switching to meat would reduce the number of farm animals killed by more than 99 percent.”

“A woolly mammoth would be about 10 times heavier than a cattle cow, so eating mammoths instead of smaller animals would reduce animal deaths even more,” Tomasik says, considering the question of eating woolly mammoths.

We must also consider the mammoth’s manner of death. Tomasik says, “Whether hunting death is better or worse than natural death in the wild depends on how long it takes the mammoth to die after being shot and how painful the gunshot wound is.” Wild deer can take 30 to 60 minutes to die after being shot in the lungs or heart, he said. Their brains are considered very small targets, although this may be different for mammoths.

There are many competing considerations here. Rejuvenation of Arctic grasslands is probably good for the climate, but it could also lead to an increase in wildlife. Tomasik sees this as bad news. “Nearly all wild animals are invertebrates or small vertebrates and produce large numbers of offspring, most of which die painfully soon after birth.”

I think it will be like pork

Stronger opposition to the idea comes from Elisa Allen, PETA’s vice president of programs. “If there’s one thing that sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, it’s the selfish desire for food,” says Allen, who argues that we should focus on protecting existing species whose habitats are rapidly disappearing rather than resurrecting species that have already been lost. other organs when not needed.” Allen says that “the future of the meat industry is in lab-grown or 3D-printed meat.”

Sentience Institute co-founder Jacy Reese Anthis believes applying this technology to woolly mammoths is ethically preferable to hunting them. “One of humanity’s most pressing challenges for the 21st century is ending the unethical, unsustainable industry of factory farming,” he says. “Mined meat is one of the most promising substitutes, so if it’s mammoth meat that gets people excited about it, I’m excited about it. “It would be extremely wasteful to breed and cultivate live mammoths when we can sustainably grow meat tissue in bioreactors.”

This would avoid what Anthis sees as the natural wrong of killing a thinking and feeling creature for our own pleasure. He says it’s all about technology, but stresses that “it’s important to respect sentient beings and maintain boundaries of bodily integrity. One of the most productive boundaries has been the right not to be owned or exploited for the benefit of another. This applies to humans, but we’re increasingly doing this to animals. we recognize and this is an important pillar in the responsible management of our fellow creatures.

“It would be a great tragedy if we took our technological arm back to the Pleistocene and brought these majestic individuals into our age to use and exploit only for our own benefit.”

For our ancestors, who made buildings from the bones of mammoths, this issue would not have been so hairy. But let’s imagine mammoth-based food obtained from a bioreactor, not from hunting. How might it taste? Whitelaw has to guess. “I think it’s going to be a little like bacon. To do this, you need to cook it long and slow. Or maybe you can make it nice and crispy.”

Think for this fur though.

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