30 March 2013

It's the ecology, stupid

Jacquelyn Gill considers de-extinction:
Is one lonely calf, raised in captivity and without the context of its herd and environment, really a mammoth? Does it matter that there are no mammoth matriarchs to nurse that calf, to inoculate it with necessary gut bacteria, to teach it how to care for itself, how to speak with other mammoths, where the ancestral migration paths are, and how to avoid sinkholes and find water? Does it matter that the permafrost is melting, and that the mammoth steppe is gone? As much as I love mammoths, the ecologist in me can’t help but answer: no.

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