Bringing Back The Mammoth…

I just read this article in the latest National Geographic Magazine.

The idea of bringing back the mammoth is a pretty cool and seductive notion. I include a “Caveman Steve Meets A Woolly Mammoth” story in EVERY one of my storytelling workshops – so I have a kind of secret geeky connection to those big shaggy extinct tuskers.

Solar flare, nothing. It was the orthodontist bills that killed the mammoth…

But still, I kind of have to wonder.

The article talks about all of difficulty and the resources that have been poured into the hunt for a viable woolly mammoth cell.

I mean – just think about it.

These scientists are trying to unearth a living viable cell that has SOMEHOW survived TEN THOUSAND FREAKING YEARS of extinction!

That’s long odds, brother.

What I want to know is why these scientists aren’t taking a look at cloning the elephant.

I mean – how hard would it be to find themselves a living elephant cell?

Why not rescue something before it reaches the point of extinction?

Just think about it. Poachers and ivory-hunters are killing off the elephant – bit by bit – every year. Why not re-invigorate their population with a few genetically-engineered clonal replacements?

Heck – the lady elephants might even find the insertion of a few bionic pachyderms to be a little stimulating to population growth.

Might break a few hearts of them comfortable old bull elephants.

“I’m sorry, Harry,” the lady elephant says. “But I’m running away with cyber-dumbo. Love and all is nice – but that dude’s trunk has a pair of die-hard D-cells in it that don’t EVER run out of go-juice.”

Think about herds of re-invigorated smiling lady elephants.

Think about Ronald McDonald hawking a whole new line of elephant burgers.

“Kids – every new Dumbo-burger comes with fries and a trunk!”

Let’s face it.

Elephants are freaking cool.

I had the good fortune to ride on one – many years ago – at a travelling circus and it was something amazing. It gave me a real perspective and a sense of what an elephant REALLY is. You can watch all of the Youtube elephant videos – strung ear to ear to ear – and you aren’t going to inhale one half of the sense of awesome I felt riding on top of that big gray wonderful beast.

I know some folks will tell you that’s wrong – that we shouldn’t be taking these animals out of their natural habitat; that we should be leaving them in the untouched African wilderness to be shot by local poachers; that it is a cruel and unnatural practice and such.

And you might even manage to convince this old bearded writer who actually has “circus roustabout” included in his thirty-five past jobs resume…

But I can still smell the dusty gray scent of the amazing animal. I can feel it’s warmth in every living cell of my body. I can feel the heavy side-to-side shoulder roll – like riding on top of John Wayne’s shoulders – only with a whole bigger nose.

It is a wonderful memory of mine that I will never forget.

But as my imagination leans that way I’ve got to wonder if mankind is even ready for this bit of meager progress?

I mean – let’s face it. Let’s say we invent ourselves a herd of elephants – OR EVEN a herd of woolly mammoths?

How long before some knuckleheaded moron with a brand new Webley-Vickers .80 caliber assault rifle – (and I’ll give a solid-Steve handshake to the first person who can tell me what famous story Webley-Vickers .80 comes from) – walks up to the herd of bionic mammoths and starts seeing meat.

Ten thousand years.

Caveman with clubs and wooden spears.

Just ain’t that far away from today, now is it boys and girls?

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

(and if you enjoyed this entry you might want to take a look at my weird western LONG HORN, BIG SHAGGY – A TALE OF WILD WEST TERROR AND REANIMATED BUFFALO – now available in Kindle, Kobo, i-tunes and Nook! )


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