Not many people took me seriously in January when I warned that the effort of Japanese and Russian scientists fill a wilderness park in Siberia with cloned wooly mammoths would lead directly to a prehistoric zombie apocalypse and the end of civilization.
Some refused to worry because an onslaught of cloned zombie mammoths is the kind of danger that would destroy the world in a bad horror movie, not an actual world. Obviously they forget that both bad horror movies and inadvisable science are created by the twisted imagination and overly developed skills of actual humans.
Case in point is the narrow-leafed campion, a flow that became extinct 32,000 years ago but was brought back to into horrible, undead existence by a team of Russian scientists who recovered a fruit of the plant from the burrow of an arctic ground squirrel in Siberia.
(Just as a quick aside: Who thinks it's a good idea to give free rein to create monsters to scientists whose judgment is not only bad enough to hang out in Siberia, but to spend a lot of their time in the burrows of arctic ground squirrels?)
The Campion became a Franken-flower because one of its fruits and the seed it contained remained frozen for tens of thousands of years (like Mitt Romney's hair).
U.S.-based paleontologist Grant Zazula theorized that, since Frankensteining worked with the flower, it might work on the 40,000-year-old frozen mammoth carcasses scientists dig out of the permafrost every couple of years.
In December scientists in Yakutsk Russia revealed they had discovered the leg bone of a wooly mammoth that still had enough well-preserved marrow in its center to allow several attempts at cloning the animal, which died out 10,000 years ago.
This is a completely separate set of scientists and different project from the one I mentioned the previous January.
Lead scientists on the project such as Semyon Grigoriev predict they may be able to clone the massive mammoth within five years – exactly the same time-frame cited by Japanese mammoth-reviver Akira Iritani at the time I wrote my warning.
Teams of Japanese scientists agreed with the Russians, in December, in fact, almost as if they knew something about the cloning of mammoths the rest of us don't.
They undoubtedly knew about the successful cloning of an extinct Pyrenean Ibex sheep in 2001, for example. You will note that 2001 is more than twice as many years ago as the five years two unrelated groups of scientists cited as the delay required to clone and product a wooly mammoth.
They also knew about the genes of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger resurrected as part of the genetic material of a mouse, though the animal itself could not be reproduced.
There are still doubters, of course.
Or, perhaps, scientists who have no doubt but do have a strong incentive to conceal the truth:
"The public should not leap to the conclusion that we are on the edge of cloning woolly mammoths or dinosaurs," according to David Wildt, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., as quoted in National Geographic in 2009.
The reason? Not because it's impossible to do, or because it's impossible to find enough cells with intact nuclei to allow for cloning.
Nope. Wildt's obstacle was that there are no suitable surrogate mothers for long-dead species.
That hardly seems like an immovable object. Surrogate mothers from species that are almost suitable and transfer to artificial environments in mid-gestation if necessary could overcome that problem. Especially if the payoff is a giant, money-printing prehistoric zombie animal park that could also spawn a series of dinosaur-eats-human movies whose biggest weakness is that Jeff Goldblum appears frequently but is never eaten.
All of this, of course, is rank, irresponsible speculation. Except, even CBS news admitted in December that "Cloning of wooly mammoths is no longer sci-fi."
I'm afraid the headline may be more right than CBS knew.
Naysayers have slammed the video as a hoax simply because it's obviously not real.
But if you view the video below closely, and wish hard enough to believe, it's clear this video that went viral online a couple of weeks ago is clearly and unquestionably documents the existence of live(ish) wooly mammoths in the wild in Siberia. Or possibly a Sasquatch. Or an additional shooter on the grassy knoll, or a pack animal toting supplies to the site on which new faked shots of the moon walk are being filmed.
You just have to look closely enough and in the right state of mind. Hysterical ignorant panic works fine for most people, but if you have a favorite form of irrationality try that on for size. I'm sure the mammoths won't mind.
Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.