Wildlife

Our fascination with mammoths 

How the legacy of these woolly giants persists in pop culture, storytelling, ecology and even the controversial idea of de-extinction

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The way Travis Delawski tells it, he woke up in the morning, had a safety meeting, jumped on an excavator and found a baby mammoth.

There were, of course, other details, but this is the gist of one of Canada’s most startling paleontological discoveries. It was June 21, 2022, another rainy day during a soggy month in central Yukon, and Delawski, a surface gold miner, was working a permafrost area outside Dawson City. The exposure of frozen black muck was typical of the Klondike — a mixture of silt and organic material that, ideally, overlay gold-bearing stream gravel. That morning, boss Brian McCaughan assigned Delawski to work the ripper — an excavator shaped like a giant shark tooth that pries frozen chunks from the cutting face. Working his way down a lower corner of the cut, a large block popped out. Something suddenly gazed up at Delawski. Getting down from the machine, he got on the radio to McCaughan.

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“Brian, I found a body.”

“Is it human?”

“No… I think it’s a buffalo or something.” But after a closer look, his shocked voice came back over McCaughan’s handset. “Brian, it’s… it’s a baby woolly mammoth!”

“No way.”

McCaughan was wary. “We constantly find bones,” he said during a live-broadcast technical briefing where he and Delawski shared their story. “And it’s not [a big deal]… So I said, yeah, bring it down to the yard.”

When McCaughan walked down to have a look at what he assumed were disinterred bones and instead saw a trunk, skin, hair —  even eyelashes —  the magnitude of Delawski’s serendipity hit. This was a fully preserved baby mammoth, a relict of an ice age that, in this part of the Yukon, seems not long departed. A sense of the find’s significance descended on the men — along with a lightning-riven rainstorm so intense it shut down mining operations. “You get emotional [thinking] about it,” McCaughan ruminated, his voice cracking. “Because you get connected. … You can’t even describe how many miracles happened for this to be here.” 

Such is the dialectic of fossils: we don’t go back in time so much as time comes roaring back to us — a powerful wave that can wash quotidian concerns aside. Unless you’re Yukon government paleontologist Grant Zazula, who from afar coordinated the conservation of the greatest-ever find in his jurisdiction. Then, both duty and dazzle collide. “Everything imaginable went through my head,” he recalls. “Sheer panic, excitement. It was something I’d been waiting my whole life to see.” Until then, a mummified grey wolf pup was the most spectacular thing Zazula had seen. “But it was still just a wolf, and it looked like a dog. This was more clearly from a time gone by, an animal not seen by human eyes in many thousands of years.” 

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A treasure both valuable and vulnerable. As everyone from Zazula to miners to politicians scrambled to get the animal into cold storage in Dawson City, that reverence was soon shared by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, in whose territory the find was made and whose Hän language gifted the creature a name: Nun Cho Ga, “big animal baby.”

Referencing her people’s long-standing presence on these lands during the briefing, Chief Roberta Joseph noted: “The discovery of Nun Cho Ga is about more than just science. She is more than a historic specimen — she is one of our sacred ancestors. … As a result our First Nation people have a responsibility to care for her.”

At a blessing ceremony in Dawson soon after the find, Nun Cho Ga was briefly removed from the freezer and placed in the centre of a circle with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in leaders, Elders, youth and those involved in the discovery. When the tarp was lifted, there were gasps and tears, followed by a long silence as people grappled with what they were looking at — spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically. Finally, an Elder broke the spell: “This is amazing, and it will heal our people.” 

Such thoughts are firmly rooted in the possible because a deep human connection has led us to know more about mammoths than any other extinct animal. To start, they’re pretty much just hairy elephants of which we’re both fond and familiar as Earth’s largest land animal. Second, unlike dinosaurs, our ancestors actually saw and hunted mammoths, drawing them — with startling accuracy — on the walls of European caves. Third, human hunters followed mammoths and other Pleistocene megafauna across Asia and into North America, companion food-sources that left plenty of bones scattered across three continents. Finally, from time to time, we come across the real thing — ancient ice-mummies like Nun Cho Ga with hair, eyes, muscle, organs and last lunch intact. There’s enough intrigue here to engender pop-cultural icons and enough science to support paleo-climate and ecosystem reconstructions, as well as cutting-edge work in genomics — and even the controversial idea of de-extinction. To explore these myriad links with mammoths, we’ll start where they begin: the last ice age.

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The Quaternary period has been a rough 2.58 million years for Earth — even if it opened well enough. North and South America had just been married at the Isthmus of Panama, their vows an unprecedented exchange of previously isolated flora and fauna. Unfortunately, their little geologic ceremony changed ocean circulation so much that it may have plunged the planet into the cycle of alternating glaciation and deglaciation that characterized the Pleistocene epoch, which ended with the most recent big melt 11,700 years ago. As ice sheets advanced and retreated, sea levels rose and fell, and continents joined and parted, the biosphere responded with plants and animals adapted to the ecological frontier that followed the waxing and waning ice. 

Among these was the now-extinct genus Mammuthus, its habitat eponymously labelled the mammoth steppe — a dry, frigid, windswept prairie of cold-resistant grasses, sedges, forbs and shrubs — the single most expansive land biome on ice age Earth, stretching from the Iberian Peninsula through Eurasia and over the Bering land bridge into North America. A shockingly productive ecosystem often likened to a cold Serengeti, the steppe, at various times, also supported camels, reindeer, horses, bison, saiga antelope, muskoxen and woolly rhinos, all dodging jumbo-sized predators like American lions, sabre-toothed cats, short-faced bears and dire wolves — a veritable megafaunapalooza. 

Taxonomically, you won’t be surprised that Mammuthus is embedded in the family that contains modern elephants. Beginning around five million years ago, several mammoth species spread from Africa across Europe, Asia and, eventually, North America. Last to emerge, about a million years ago in East Asia, was the woolly mammoth (M. primigenius). Standing over three metres at the shoulder and weighing as much as eight tonnes, woolly mammoths had long, curved tusks and a dense undercoat beneath long guard hairs. In contrast to today’s elephants, whose oversized ears help shed heat, both the ears and tail on mammoths were small to avoid frostbite.

Woolly mammoths dominated northern landscapes during the Late Pleistocene before largely disappearing by about 12,000 years ago. Isolated populations on Siberia’s Wrangel Island and St. Paul Island in Alaska persisted until 4,000 and 5,500 years ago, respectively, meaning that not only did mammoths serve as models for early Cro-Magnon art class, but they still walked the Earth during construction of the pyramids and Stonehenge. Having lived and evolved with mammoths goes a long way to accounting for a modern human biophilia that includes them: the much- loved sculpture of a mammoth family has been the Canadian Museum of Nature’s greatest public touchpoint since being installed in 1987; HBO’s Game of Thrones has mammoths ridden into battle as modern elephants once were; and the anthropomorphized mammoth trope embedded in pop culture that gave us Sesame Street’s “Mr. Snuffleupagus” — a gentle, tuskless, mammothy thing with large eyelashes — has reached its zenith with crusty but affable hero Manny the Mammoth in the seemingly infinite Ice Age movie franchise. 

The remains of tens of thousands of mammoths frozen in Arctic permafrost are now popping out “like walnuts in a puddle of melting rocky road ice cream.”

“Cave paintings speak to the fact that humans have been curious about mammoths since we first encountered them,” says Zazula, citing our modern-day affection for elephants’ family structure and emotions as another potential draw. “But mammoths were also the biggest animal ancient peoples encountered on the landscape, so there’s a basic fascination that they were once part of our environment. We ate them, made bone houses from their remains and wonder why they’re not around anymore.”

And here’s where science enters the conversation. What happened to woolly mammoths and other ice age megafauna in the Late Pleistocene, when 101 of 150 genera of Earth’s largest terrestrial animals disappeared, is the subject of great debate, forming the basis for most current investigations of the time period. According to a recent study co-written by Tyler Murchie of the department of anthropology at McMaster University in Hamilton, who sequenced ancient DNA for hundreds of plant and animal species obtained from slices of permafrost dating between 30,000 and 40,000 years old in an unglaciated area of the Yukon’s Klondike, the mammoth steppe collapsed between 13,500 and 10,000 years ago, the area rapidly shifting from mosaic grassland to woody shrubs and then boreal forest. Most intriguing, Murchie’s work turned up signals of both now-extinct American horses and woolly mammoths persisting at a handful of sites until as late as 5,600 years ago — possible “ghost ranges” for populations isolated by shrinking habitat that would put their final disappearance from the area some 7,000 years later than fossil bones suggest, and in contact with humans. 

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Zazula, who also participated in the study, is fascinated by the prospect. “It makes me wonder about oral histories like the Whitestone Mammoth,” he says. Found in the Yukon’s Old Crow region in 1967, the well-known fossil was tracked down by the Canadian Museum of Nature’s C.R. Harington after Gwich’in Elder Joe Kyikavichik shared the account of a “monster” that broke out of a lake, ran up a river and was still there to this day. “Harington assumed it was just a story explaining why the bones were found where they were and didn’t consider that people might actually have encountered these things in recent history,” says Zazula. “Were early Holocene people living with mammoths, horses and lions in the Yukon? I’m really curious now. For me, the ultimate would be to find a mammoth bone in an archaeological site that was, say, 6,000 years old. The DNA work is saying that’s now a reasonable expectation.” 

In the children’s book Kaska Tales, author Roy Langdon brings to life ancient Yukon oral histories related by Kaska Elder Mida Donnessey. The book’s first story, “The Girl and the Mammoth,” recounts the escape across the ice of Watson Lake by a small band of Kaska from a woolly mammoth that eventually fell through the ice. Since Neolithic tales often lace oral histories in many parts of the world, who’s to say this didn’t happen sometime in the last 10,000 years? 

Given the scant attention paid to oral traditions by European colonists, however, North American settlers remained ignorant of such Pleistocene avatars until informed via another route. “The first people in North America to find and accurately identify mammal fossils, and have their impressions recorded in writing, were African slaves,” writes Steve Brusatte in The Rise and Reign of the Mammals: A New History, from the Shadow of the Dinosaurs to Us. The enslaved Africans were converting a South Carolina swamp into field around 1725 when they came upon familiar-looking teeth. “Each was the size of a brick and covered in glistening enamel, with corrugated ridges aligned in parallel. … The pattern would recall the sole of a running shoe.” While Christian plantation owners would be wont to dismiss these as evidence of Biblical beasts lost to Noah’s flood, the Africans knew better: here was de facto evidence that elephants once lived in North America, more evidence of which piled up fast as the American colonies expanded. 

Perhaps it was fitting that the first North American known to become obsessed with mammoths was Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States. Despite the demands associated with governing a country, he still found time to collect, buy and order military leaders to bring him the bones of mammoths and other extinct fauna. Jefferson was fascinated by what the fossils represented, but also fixated on repudiating French naturalist Comte de Buffon’s theory that North America’s “unfavourable” climate turned out mostly weakling animals (and people). Jefferson was a vocal shill for the outsized importance of the New World and his own nascent republic — it was he who popularized the term “mammoth” as a synonym for big. Convinced living versions of fossils would turn up in the continent’s vast, unexplored interior, Jefferson directed Lewis and Clark to map his growing backyard and, while they were at it, find the phantom critters whose bones and tusks were turning up everywhere.

Surely, the beasts were still out there. And, if not, where had they gone? Just arrived as Europeans were, so to speak, already there was a sense they’d just missed something and needed to conjure forth the world as it was geological moments ago. It’s a feeling that lingers to this day. As Brusatte puts it, “If the world seems a little empty now, that’s because it is. … There is a woolly-mammoth-size hole in the tundra.”

And while that may well be, modern science is doing a yeoman’s job of filling it in.

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“Our mammoth-centric view of the [North American] Pleistocene is incorrect. The first 1.5 million years was more an age of camels and horses — yet almost all drawings of it show mammoths. Plus, if you go by sheer biomass or numbers, the mammoth steppe should really be called the bison steppe.” Grant Zazula can make such claims. The sheer volume of material from his Yukon digs — up to 8,000 bones a year — has taught him plenty.

“The Klondike goldfields have been an incredible source of Pleistocene remains for a century,” he says. “A lot of early fossil collectors were high-grading — taking skulls, tusks, teeth and other ‘best’ stuff — but we collect everything because, in theory, every bone is now a scrap of bioprotein or DNA to look at how populations have changed through time.” 

Although Beringia — the large, ice-free swathes of Siberia, Alaska and the Yukon joined across the Bering land bridge — is where most quality remains are found, mammoth bits are common enough in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The latter lists over 130 mammoth or mastodon sites, including the deep-cut ravines of Toronto. Many of these were found in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as urban and agricultural landscapes first developed. It’s no different across the United States. And even if America’s southern reaches are less profligate than its north and centre, they still yielded its first mammoth; plus, any large animal fortunate enough to escape after falling into the La Brea tar pits outside of present-day Los Angeles likely did so by climbing out on a ladder of mammoth bones. There’s hardly a natural history museum in all of North America, Europe or Russia that doesn’t have some kind of mammothry on display — and bags more in reserve.

“We ate them, made bone houses from their remains and wonder why they’re not around anymore.”

Physical fossils can tell us much about the animals they belonged to — size, shape, musculature, sex, age, growth, disease, breaks, dentition dynamics, tusk wear and signs of predation that might even include butchering by humans. Yet this catalogue pales in comparison to the depth of information that rapidly advancing molecular analyses can yield. For example, DNA recovered from fossils provides detailed information on both individuals and the populations they were part of, and stable isotopes can tell us not only what animals were eating, but when and where. Once we add in ancient eDNA (environmental DNA — traces left by living and dead organisms in their surroundings), the whole story starts to sound like science fiction. A recent eDNA study from northern Greenland, for instance, was able to recreate an entire two-million-year-old ecosystem that has no modern precedent. Researchers noted this was mostly possible because small bits of DNA stick to certain sediments — the realm that Tyler Murchie, at McMaster, leverages to understand Late Pleistocene environments and extinctions. 

“You find the most DNA fragments in frozen sediments,” he says, noting that as soils warm, bacteria tend to eat the fragments. “There’s also been a lot of really cool eDNA research where the genetic information shows how caves throughout Eurasia were occupied for greater lengths of time than ‘strict’ archeology might suggest.”

Murchie links this information bonanza to a DNAfest that scientists are just beginning to tap into. “All organisms constantly shed tissues into the environment. If you think about how many skin cells humans shed per day [~600,000] and divide all the DNA that’s in each of them [~6.4 billion base pairs] into 50 base-pair chunks, that adds up to over a quintillion chunks of DNA every single day, so the output is astronomical.” Astronomical enough that it might provide vital clues to what happened in the Late Pleistocene.

“There should be more urgency to cleaning up our current act on Earth than expending a lot of money and tech on ancient curiosity.”

Debate over the fate of Pleistocene megafauna basically comes down to this: Was it climate or was it humans? The bottom-up view is that climate, rainfall and surface water content was changing as the last ice age glaciation transitioned to an interglacial era; megafauna like woolly mammoths lost preferred habitats and had to move, while other species were too specialized to adapt. The top-down argument is that new predation pressures from humans inordinately impacted megafauna; evidence here includes the fact that many animal groups had persisted throughout each of 50 Pleistocene glacial-interglacial shifts — able to move, survive, then re-occupy areas when things changed — but did not survive the final transition. Most researchers see both arguments as relevant. 

“It’s unfortunate this is always framed as a dichotomy, since humans were just another animal trying to survive and find food,” says Zazula. “The movement of people out of Asia involved very small groups, and when you add up population data from all the archaeological sites in Yukon and Alaska, they don’t suggest the kind of hunting pressure required to drive extinctions. But the climate data shows rapid changes, so it’s clear that animals, particularly specialists, were under great stress, forced to find new places on the landscape. Throw in a few human hunters and who knows?” 

Humans can affect animal communities in indirect ways besides hunting and domestication. In a 2022 study, Danielle Fraser, a paleobiologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature and adjunct research professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, used fossils to quantify species evenness in North America over the past 30,000 years and found two periods in which animal diversity notably decreased. The first, about 10,000 years ago, lines up with the Holarctic-wide megafauna extinctions; the second, more rapid decrease came 2,000 years ago, as agriculture spread and Indigenous populations boomed. 

The lesson coming out of Murchie’s work, however, is that although many species without the plasticity to adapt became vulnerable, some carried on for thousands of years after the steppe disappeared, including mammoths and horses, two highly specialized grazers. Another study in which Murchie participated suggests that replacement of steppe-tundra vegetation in the central Yukon lagged other areas of eastern Beringia by as much as 1,000 years, coinciding with a period of localized rapid warming and deglaciation. Turnover in insect and vegetation communities occurred in as little as 40 years as shrub tundra became dominant. Such a rapid shift parallels contemporary Arctic greening and emphasizes the sensitivity of high-latitude environments to climate change. 

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Those who study Pleistocene extinctions may lack a smoking gun like the meteor that took out the dinosaurs, but rapid climate change, as seen today, can be a blunt instrument. “The last ice age was the coldest and most thorough in terms of ice coverage, so the shift out of it would have been dramatic and without precedent,” says Zazula.

Key to understanding mammoths’ vulnerability to that shift is knowledge of their lifestyle. A 2021 study led by Matthew Wooller (you can’t make such names up) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has opened eyes in this respect. Wooller used the rate of decay in isotopes of strontium — an element found in most soils — in a fossil tusk to examine lifetime movements of a 17,000-year-old male mammoth in Alaska. While a physical tusk yields little life information, Wooller’s molecular work backtracked the animal’s entire 28-year lifespan, from its early years to adulthood through reproduction, as well as its movements over thousands of kilometres (enough to circle the Earth twice) and nutritional information that can help us understand the wide-ranging movements of modern large herbivores and how in situ fossils don’t give a complete picture of the dynamic interplay of paleobiology and landscape. In this case, the research revealed that the animal ultimately starved to death.

Fraser is bullish on the power of such molecular tools. “The Wooller study is a highlight,” she says. “But I also really like a genetic study done on mammoth hair colour. They’re typically depicted as reddish-brown, but it turns out they actually varied from blond to dark brown. I like thinking they were a bit like humans in that way.”

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Wooller is looking to leverage public mammoth fascination to fund what would otherwise be costly molecular work. In August 2022, he launched Adopt a Mammoth, selling sponsorship for each of the around 1,500 mammoth teeth, tusks and bones housed in the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Museum of the North. A $350 donation covers radiocarbon dating of the fossil, which also undergoes free DNA analysis by a lab in Sweden to determine sex and other genetic characteristics. In addition to covering what most museums can’t, the hope is to find something from 10,000 years ago or less that would extend the extinction date to well after the earliest people arrived in the Alaska interior. “It’s a fun philanthropic project, but it’s also rooted in solid science,” says Wooller. “If we find a young mammoth fossil on the mainland, that’s big news.” 

Uptake will doubtless be high, but not all mammoth bits are curated as carefully. Steve Bursatte notes that the remains of tens of thousands of mammoths frozen in Arctic permafrost, now popping out “like walnuts in a puddle of melting Rocky Road ice cream” as the climate warms, have sparked a black-market trade in mammothobilia. What might represent the first profitable climate-change industry is seeing a gold-rush-like hunt across the Siberian tundra for tusks, bones or a big score like Lyuba. In 2007, Nenet hunter Yuri Khudi found a 42,000-year-old female baby mammoth frozen on a river sandbar. Heeding a Nenet taboo that sees touching a mammoth carcass as a bad omen, Khudi embarked on a several-day journey to alert authorities, only to find the mammoth gone when he returned — scooped up by someone who traded it in a nearby town for two years’ worth of food and some equipment. Lyuba (which means “love” and was named for Khudi’s wife) would eventually be tracked down and turned over to the scientific establishment, but not before she was severely jostled, partially thawed and gnawed on by stray dogs. Proving that like anything humans value, contraband isn’t far behind, on eBay, you can buy a piece of woolly mammoth skin with fur for $2,000. If you’ve got only $300 to $600, you can still score a pretty good chunk of mammoth tooth. Given that each item is a potential source of scientifically important information, should they even be for sale?

Our fondness for mammoths, it seems, is boundless.

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We like woolly mammoths so much, in fact, that they may be the first animal to undergo “de-extinction.” In How to Clone a Mammoth, molecular biologist Beth Shapiro considers both the galloping technology that could facilitate it and potential hurdles. She starts by noting how public opinion on the matter remains mixed: supporters argue that it would be a moral failing not to bring back a species if it’s possible; those against cite mammoth costs (sorry), dodgy ethics and potential environmental impacts. 

Shapiro, who studies the DNA of extinct sabre-toothed tigers, short-faced bears and even the enigmatic dodo, is unequivocal in answering the most obvious question. “We will never create an identical clone of a mammoth,” she writes in a let-down for those who take her book’s title literally. This for want of a living mammoth cell, which, of course, doesn’t exist. She notes, however, that a scientific view of de-extinction doesn’t require actual cloning to resurrect traits and behaviours, which can be accomplished by sequencing mammoth genes from ancient DNA, recreating those in a lab and inserting them into the DNA of an Asian elephant — mammoths’ closest living relative at 99.9 per cent genetic similarity (the entire genomes of both species have been mapped). But if this sounds like a mere cut-and-paste job, with genomes of around three billion base-pairs, even 99.9 per cent similarity means over a million base-pair differences to sift through.

Still, a company co-founded by Harvard geneticist George Church is looking to do just that. “We’re de-extincting genes, not species,” Church told National Geographic. “The goal is a cold-resistant elephant that’s fully interbreedable with the endangered Asian elephant.” Genes for higher blood-oxygen capacity at low temperature, hairiness, fat storage and larger size, for example, could make for a shaggier, more-cold-tolerant elephant — a proxy for the woolly mammoth. 

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Such an organism might be “field tested” in an area ready-made for reintroduction. In the face of rapid warming, Russian ecologist Sergey Zimov has a unique idea for how to keep permafrost’s abundant carbon frozen in the ground: revert the now swampy, heat-vulnerable Siberian tundra to the high-productivity grazing ecosystem that existed during the last ice age. Since 1996, Zimov and son Nikita have worked on their solution — Pleistocene Park, a 20-square-kilometre parcel to which they’ve already introduced self-sustaining reindeer, Yakutian horses, muskoxen, bison and yaks, hoping that the combination of grazing, bio-fertilization and critter-compacting of soil and snow can return the area to grassy steppe with a less-volatile permafrost layer. According to a recent paper in Nature, it seems to be working. But not everyone is convinced it’s worth the effort. 

“Zimov thinks he can sequester carbon with permafrost, but there’s also a sexiness to bringing back things from the past,” allows Zazula of the concept. “Obviously, loss of the mammoth steppe changed everything about the North, so maybe bringing it back answers some kind of human guilt. But introduced bison and horses are already doing well in natural dry areas of southern Alaska and the Yukon, so trying to convert boggy tundra via bio-compaction and bio-fertilization fails to acknowledge the importance of climate in how ecosystems change through time. A bunch of mammoths running around doesn’t have the same explanatory power as climate cycles, so I think it’s a bit silly. There are better ways to direct money and attention to preserving biodiversity than creating an ancient ecosystem on a hope and a prayer. There should be more urgency to cleaning up our current act on Earth than expending a lot of money and tech on an ancient curiosity.”

Such is the dialectic of fossils: We don’t go back in time so much as time comes roaring back to us.

Many other efforts are underway globally to reintroduce large herbivores to graze wild lands, restoring habitat that can be used by small and large mammals while increasing the diversity of plants on the landscape. Introduced bison in Banff, Alta., the U.K. and Poland are examples. But while this may work on its own, many still fondly visualize a mammoth in the mix. “In my mind, it is this ecological resurrection, and not species resurrection, that is the real value of de-extinction. We should think of de-extinction not in terms of which life forms we will bring back, but what ecological interactions we would like to see restored,” says Shapiro, whimsically allowing that “the elephant in the room is a mammoth.”

There may be compelling ecological reasons to de-extinct mammoths, but there would also be less pushback than for other organisms. While not quite cuddly, mammoths at least don’t seem threatening in a Jurassic Park kind of way. In fact, if you live in the Yukon, it’s easy to imagine one strolling around, especially with paleontological holy grails like Nun Cho Ga materializing on their own. Which brings us back to what a young woolly mammoth who met her fate in a Yukon mudslide and became an unlikely touchstone to the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation is likely to bring to our future scientific understanding of these animals.

“She’s an amazing find,” says Danielle Fraser, of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “She’ll provide important context for the relationship between Siberian and North American mammoths, infant morphology and diet, perhaps even the kinds of diseases young mammoths might have been subject to. Basically, Nun Cho Ga represents everything we need to understand the holistic biology of a baby mammoth. I’m excited to see what comes of that.”

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