De-extinction Projects: The Example of the Auroch: Background information when reading The Last Animal

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The Last Animal

A Novel

by Ramona Ausubel

The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel X
The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel
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  • Published:
    Apr 2023, 288 pages


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Rebecca Foster
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De-extinction Projects: The Example of the Auroch

This article relates to The Last Animal

Heck bull, cow, and calf in GermanyThe Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel describes a cutting-edge scientific endeavor to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction by combining its DNA with that of a modern Asian elephant and growing the resulting embryo in an elephant's (or an artificial) womb. The animal that is born will not be genetically identical to a wooly mammoth, but a cold-resistant elephant that would occupy the same ecological niche. Though it sounds like something out of Jurassic Park, there is a similar, real-life project being undertaken by Colossal Biosciences which began in 2021 and is anticipated to be complete by 2027. The theoretical process involved was also described in the 2015 book How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction by Beth Shapiro.

A parallel project that is farther along and so might provide a model for how the mammoth project could eventually proceed is that of resurrecting the auroch (Bos primigenius), the ancestor of modern cattle, in Europe. The wild auroch was depicted ...

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