Pleistocence Park?

Not dinosaurs, but mammoths. I’d like to ride a mammoth. Wouldn’t you? New Scientist teases us with the possibility we can soon ride mammoths… or race glyptodons… or watch saber-tooth tigers from a safe distance:

Even in ideal conditions, though, no genetic information is likely to survive more than a million years – so dinosaurs are out – and only much younger remains are likely to yield good-quality DNA. “It’s really only worth studying specimens that are less than 100,000 years old,” says Schuster.

The genomes of several extinct species besides the mammoth are already being sequenced, but turning these into living creatures will not be easy.

“Not easy” is not the same as “impossible.” New Scientist’s list also includes the dodo, short-faced bears, Tasmanian tigers, woolly rhinoceroses, Irish elk, moas, giant ground sloths, giant beavers and Neanderthals.

Be fun to sit in on the ethics debates over that last one, eh?

Although the article links to the ongoing mammoth genome project, it doesn’t mention the real Pleistocene Park that’s already up and running in Siberia. Then again, Yakutian ponies and marmots are less thrilling than mammoths. Big, woolly mammoths.