Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I've Got a Bad Feeling About This

In the 1993 film Jurassic Park, scientist Ian Malcolm expressed serious concern about John Hammond's decision to breed hybrid dinosaurs for his theme park. As Malcolm says in the movie, "No, hold on. This isn't some species that was obliterated by deforestation, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction."

This movie was, and still is (so far), science fiction. But a team of Russian scientists are working to make something similar into scientific fact:
Long extinct cave lions may be about to rise from their icy graves and prowl once more alongside woolly mammoths and ancient horses in a real life Jurassic Park.

In less than 10 years it is hoped the fearsome big cats will be released from an underground lab as part of a remarkable plan to populate a remote spot in Russia with Ice Age animals cloned from preserved DNA.

Experiments are already underway to create the lions and also extinct ancient horses found in Yakutia, Siberia, seen as a prelude to restoring the mammoth.

Regional leader Aisen Nikolaev forecast that co-operation between Russian, South Korean and Japanese scientists will see the “miracle” return of woolly mammoths inside ten years.
Jurassic Park is certainly not the only example of fiction exploring the implications of man "playing god." Many works of literature, like Frankenstein, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and more recent examples like Lullaby (one of my favorites), have examined this very topic. It never ends well.

By Mauricio Antón - from Caitlin Sedwick (1 April 2008). "What Killed the Woolly Mammoth?". PLoS Biology 6 (4): e99. DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060099., CC BY 2.5, Link

1 comment:

  1. I have always wondered why these science fiction books where scientists create, recreate, or make any other contribution that could be labelled as 'playing god' always end in catastrophe. Do you know of any sci-fi books on this topic that end well?