There's a certain "cool factor" about how a team of multi-national scientists have managed to cook up a batch of wooly mammoth blood from DNA culled from a carcass unearthed in Siberia.
This is the stuff of which legend is made -- not to mention really bad movies starring Jeff Goldblum.
However, once we all stop shaking our heads and mouthing "wow," when is it time to think about the value of this endeavor?
I'm the first one to support researchers -- after all, scientific study has lead to untold improvements for the human race. Starting with fire, for instance.
Given all the money, time and energy that this endeavor must have cost -- how did someone first decide to go mucking around into the life of an animal that is now extinct, and with possibly good reason? Very recently, folks at Penn State sequenced a mammoth's genome from some stray hair -- and postulated that if somebody gave them say ten million dollars or so they conceivably could clone one.
As mind boggling as it might be to stare at one of these creatures in the flesh, I can't help but think that in this economic day and age spending even one dollar on such a project is a gross waste of resources, no matter what the cool factor.
But then again let's not forget the public's willingness to pay big bucks to see something like that, a la Jurassic Park, so it should come as no surprise if we learn in the near future that somebody already is working on recreating the critter.
And no, it won't look like Manfred the Mammoth on the Ice Age films. It will be huge, possibly ill tempered, nasty smelling and a sad and solitary creature indeed.
Amen, and pass the mustard.