February 27, 2012, 3:03 PM — 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.
Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British Columbia