Boasting a whopping $15 million in funding, a newly formed bioscience company hopes to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction. Dubbed ‘Colossal,’ the organization is reportedly spearheaded by technology entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Harvard geneticist George Church. The first stage of the ambitious project will be centered around producing a hybrid creature, of sorts, comprised of Asian elephant DNA that has been infused with woolly mammoth genes that are responsible for the animal’s iconic hairy coat and bodily characteristics that allow it to withstand freezing temperatures. Ultimately, Church explained, “our goal is to make a cold-resistant elephant, but it is going to look and behave like a mammoth.”
The purpose of this endeavor goes beyond merely bringing a mammoth-like creature into our modern world to demonstrate the awesome power of science as the company foresees the hypothetical animal as a way of both helping to stave off the extinction of Asian elephants, which are a threatened species, and also preserve the climate of the Arctic tundra. Their reasoning for the latter goal is that if that region of the world were once again populated by the massive pachyderms, the animals would naturally knock down trees and cause grasslands to emerge while also compacting the permafrost beneath them.