Can We Bring Back Mammoths From Extinction? Probably Not — Here’s Why

1/20/2022 9:00:00 PM

Bringing the beasts back from the dead is a tempting prospect. But genetic evidence suggests we may not fully understand what makes a mammoth.

Bringing the beasts back from the dead is a tempting prospect. But genetic evidence suggests we may not fully understand what makes a mammoth.

Bringing the beasts back from the dead is a tempting prospect. But genetic evidence suggests we may not fully understand what makes a mammoth.

NewsletterThe last mammoths were in trouble. Isolated on Wrangel Island, a spit of land off the coast of Siberia, the last pack on Earth wasToday, the only mammoth you’re likely to see is a hulking reconstruction in a museum — the size and structure of its bones drawing an outline of the beast. But there’s more to mammoths than their skeletons. In a time when the possibility of bringing the pachyderms back to life

relatively newWhat Makes a Mammoth?“Not only were we finding lots of this mammoth, but Iowa and Missouri were full of fossils that looked a bit like Columbian mammoths, a bit like Jeffersonian mammoths, and sometimes even woollies,” Widga says. But when he and other researchers looked at

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By Mar 9, 2020 2:34 PM A 3D rendering of two woolly mammoths fighting in the snow.vesting " rules., we're hoping the brand winds up releasing the sneakers for purchase in the near future, perhaps with even more color choices.Ahead of Netflix’s release, A Madea Homecoming, director, writer and producer Tyler Perry has explained why he’s decided to revive the beloved character Madea again.

(Credit: Dotted Yeti/Shutterstock) Newsletter Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news Sign Up The last mammoths were in trouble. Isolated on Wrangel Island, a spit of land off the coast of Siberia, the last pack on Earth was sickly and weak from centuries of chronic inbreeding.) Companies use different timelines, or vesting schedules, to determine how long it takes for savers to fully own the employer contributions. The prehistoric pachyderms were no longer as fertile as they once were, their coats took on a strange translucence, and some suffered neurological problems. About 4,000 years ago, the species was wiped out for good. A worker retains complete ownership of their match when it is 100% vested. Today, the only mammoth you’re likely to see is a hulking reconstruction in a museum — the size and structure of its bones drawing an outline of the beast. Alongside the return of Madea, Cora (Tamela Mann), Mr.

But there’s more to mammoths than their skeletons.) About 41% of 401(k) plans offer immediate full vesting of a company match, according to the PSCA survey. In a time when the possibility of bringing the pachyderms back to life , researchers are studying how the mammoths lived and died through their genes as well as their bones. The Ice Age icons are model organisms for paleogenetics, a relatively new field following advances in technology that allow pieces of ancient DNA to be identified, duplicated and studied. "Immediate vesting is rare," said Ellen Lander, principal and founder of Renaissance Benefit Advisors Group, based in Pearl River, New York. Mammoths were once common creatures — widespread across the Northern Hemisphere — and lived recently enough for scientists to reclaim genetic material from their remains. And frozen carcasses recovered from Siberia especially raise the specter of de-extinction. For example, a saver whose 401(k) uses a three-year cliff vesting owns the company match after three years of service; they get 0% before then.” Thus, Perry shared his optimism in wanting to devote himself to bringing back laughter through his adroit means of storytelling.

If we have so many of them, why couldn’t we bring back the mammoth? But understanding these creatures, and possibly replicating them, is complicated. Data from mammoth bones and mammoth genes give conflicting definitions of which pachyderm belongs to which species. For example, someone who gets 40% of a $5,000 match can walk away with $2,000 plus 40% of any investment earnings on the match. And the more researchers learn about mammoths, the more it’s clear we require a reintroduction to the beasts before trying to re-create them. What Makes a Mammoth? The discovery of a mysterious pachyderm was the first clue that the mammoths’ story was more complicated than originally thought, says East Tennessee State University paleontologist Chris Widga. About a third of 401(k) plans use a graded five- or six-year schedule for the company match, according to the PSCA survey. A species called the Jeffersonian mammoth, often found in the American Midwest, kept showing up during digs — but it seemed to share traits of both the woolly mammoth and the Columbian mammoth. However, Perry had left the ending open, allowing room for Madea’s return and making it possible for her re-entry in A Madea Homecoming.

When Widga looked at these specimens with colleague Jeff Saunders as part of a project documenting fossilized mammoths of the region, they found even more types of mammoths that didn’t fit neatly into one category or another. Vesting schedules tend to be a function of company culture and the philosophy of executives overseeing the retirement plan, Lander said. “Not only were we finding lots of this mammoth, but Iowa and Missouri were full of fossils that looked a bit like Columbian mammoths, a bit like Jeffersonian mammoths, and sometimes even woollies,” Widga says. But when he and other researchers looked at the genes of these animals , the intermediates started to make more sense. For one, determining a worker's length of service isn't as straightforward as it might seem. The genetic findings counter the categorizations previously made from bones. Instead of stark divisions between multiple mammoth species, there may have been a single species that could vary greatly but still maintain the ability to interbreed with different populations. Instead, it generally means 1,000 hours worked over 12 months, according to the IRS. For now, fans can tune in for the premiere of A Madea Homecoming when it debuts on Netflix next month to get the"belly-laugh" they need.

Previous research hinted that different mammoth species , but now there was evidence that this was a common part of mammoth life rather than something unusual. Today, the same trend can be seen among some species of elephants.) This means a worker on a leave of absence could still satisfy a vesting requirement for the year, for example. Woolly mammoth bones, Yana River Valley, Siberia. (Credit: Basilyan et al. Workers should consult their 401(k) plan documents for specifics. 2011 Journal of Archaeological Science) “I think about modern African elephants, where there is interbreeding between morphologically distinct forest and savanna elephants with overlapping ranges,” says Georgia Southern University paleontologist Kathlyn Smith .

“And I can envision mammoths doing the same thing."There's a lot of confusion — and disappointment or elation — sometimes as to what's considered a year.” This genetic information is changing our understanding of what the mammoths really were, which matters for scientific endeavors that aim to bring the animal back to life. North America’s mammoths could be large or small, shaggy or short-haired, while still belonging to the same species. The match schedule is often faster than that of profit-sharing contributions. If researchers try to re-create a mammoth by cherry-picking traits, they’ll be missing a large part of the picture. Debating De-Extinction While it’s tempting to think of sci-fi scenarios of baby mammoths in test tubes, the potential to revive Mammuthus might take a different path. "We share it with you if you stick around to make us increasingly more profitable," she said of the philosophy some companies adopt for their profit-sharing payment.

Cloning, as geneticist Beth Shapiro points out in her book How to Clone a Mammoth , requires .