Bring Back the Woolly Mammoth? It’s the future again.

woolly_mammoth_siberian_tundraHey, right before you hear my new radio series, Yukon 2058, and get to hunt mammoths in Vuntut National Park on hoverdoos, read this editorial.

Bring Back the Woolly Mammoth?

I think one might find Vuntut National Park a logical place to put the mammoths and to grow the steppe grasses, some of which we still have.  Beringia didn’t lose everything to an ice age–and I think we could create a huge area of this grass for the mammoths.  Should we do it?  It’ll probably be expensive, but it’s not Canada who’s funding it.  Ethically?  I hear the author of the editorial–who still has Jurassic Park on his mind.  This is the equivalent of asking should you get a dog when you live in an apartment.  Is it good for the dog?  Who knows what dogs in apartments think?  And who knows what birthing a mammoth will do.  I don’t think it’s wrong to try. We’ve created Ligers before (lion and tiger mixes)–we breed purebred dogs and create breeds (this is NOT natural)–and we can learn a lot about mammoths by having a herd of them.  I see nothing wrong in trying.   But you decide.

I posit what we might do with mammoth in Yukon 2058, the radio series coming to CBC on December 1st.  I think they could have a positive impact, and certainly science has learned a lot through many other experiments.  Creating life is a much better idea than killing it.  Would it be torture?  Or would the apartment dweller adapt to the needs of the dog?  Create the grasses from the DNA of the seeds in the mammoth stomach–do the habitat research ahead of bringing back the mammoth.

Bring back Steppe Grasses?  Yes.  And do it a long time before you bring back the mammoth.  It’s always good if you can make the apartment livable for a big dog.

The Fantasy of Beringia, except it’s true

Woolly Rhinoceros
Woolly Rhinoceros

I work at the Beringia Centre, where we preserve Yukon history from 14,000-10,000 years ago. The great land mass of Beringia, situated in what is now the Bering Strait, connecting Siberia and Alaska, was our Atlantis–land that flourished for awhile and then sunk beneath the sea.

While it was here, it was a huge grassland bordered by glaciers and mountains, a refuge untouched by the Ice Age going on in northern North America, a place where plants and animals evolved and lived. And the animals, like the Woolly Rhino to the left, looked like something out of an ancient bestiary.

I think Beringia is a fantasy setting untapped. I would love to get a group of science fiction and fantasy writers to choose Beringia as a setting—scimitar cats, woolly mammoths, hunters crossing the land bridge, giant sloths and beavers, and the magic of the Gwich’in and T’lingit storytelling to go with it. It’s our living fantasy setting, or was.

Everything there is true, and the facts and science could aid a group of writers in developing storylines based on the science and setting of Beringia.

Perhaps one of our assignments in my after school sci-fi/fantasy writing program will be to go to the Beringia Centre and imagine it as a fantasy/sci-fi setting—research the science–develop a story. True, fantasy writers like to come up with settings that utilize wizards, dwarves, dragons, but these are northern European settings, northern European mythology, and Canadian writers have a treasure sitting beneath them.

We don’t have to live by Elves Alone.

Perhaps Beringia will inspire new writers to come up with their own mythology and characters based on this place–and break the European mold. Eh, it’s just an idea. Come visit and see the Fantasy that was really true. I dare Europe to find the bones of a dragon!