CIA wants to resurrect woolly mammoths and Tasmanian tigers



by LORENZO CIOTTI

CIA wants to resurrect woolly mammoths and Tasmanian tigers

CIA is looking for ways to resurrect woolly mammoths and Tasmanian tigers from extinction. CIA would in fact be financing through In-Q-Tel, the Colossal Biosciences company with the aim of seeing once again the woolly mammoth thunder on the tundra through the use of genetic engineering, or using the new DNA editing technologies to resurrect extinct species.

The Texas-based biotech company has declared an interest in resurrecting the Tasmanian tiger as well. According In-Q-Tel, the CIA is not so much interested in the return of the mammoth as in the development of new techniques for cloning and enhancing DNA.

Also according to In-Q-Tel, investing in this project will help the US government set ethical as well as technological standards for the genetic engineering technology of the future and will keep the US one step ahead of competing nations: "The next wave of advancements will lead to advances in our ability to model both form and function in organisms at the macroscopic level." Using new DNA-editing tools, scientists can insert specific characteristics of those extinct animals into modern elephants, teaching them genetically to withstand the cold, for example.

The resulting creature would not be a real mammoth. Numerous skeletons of mammoths have been found, whose tusks provide a variety of low-quality but equally highly sought-after ivory. From the findings made in Europe, Asia and North America, which allowed to find intact frozen specimens, imprisoned in the permafrost, it was possible to obtain interesting information about the characteristics of this great animal that lived in the Pleistocene and became extinct at the end of this era.

It was a contemporary of the Palaeolithic man. The remains of dwarf mammoths that survived on Wrangel Island in Russia after the end of the Pleistocene have recently been discovered, up to about 3,500 years ago. In the cave of La Madeleine in southwestern France, where remains of the Paleolithic have been found, among the many cave drawings there is one representing a mammoth.

The discovery of the representations of mammoths made by primitive men helped paleontologists to reconstruct their physical appearance: these drawings show that the animal had a hump of fat on its back, probably as a function of energy reserve for the winter period, not evident from the simple examination of the skeleton.

The Rouffignac cave, in the Périgord Noir, Vézère valley, contains over 100 drawings of Mammoths, dating back to the end of the Ice Age some 13,000 years ago.