Many experts believe bringing back mammoths would be one of the greatest conservation victories of all time. Mammoths were a keystone species in the Arctic, meaning they had a major impact on their ecosystem. The Colossal team says reintroducing mammoths could greatly boost biodiversity.
Colossal also aims to prevent climate change. Mammoths scraped away snow, allowing air to reach the frozen soil beneath, called permafrost. Without the beasts, snow blanketed the permafrost, which warmed. That released greenhouse gases and warmed the Arctic. Some scientists say bringing back mammoths can reverse that.
Supporters of de-extinction say the process could also save endangered species. They argue that the technology could be used to change the DNA of other animals to make them stronger and better able to fight diseases. Eriona Hysolli is the head biologist at Colossal. She believes her team’s efforts could protect animals in danger of disappearing.
“We have to think outside the box,” Hysolli says. “We need new ideas before we lose a species for good.”