SEOUL, South Korea – In a move which has shocked the scientific community and the world at large, Korean scientists and cinephiles have announced their decision not to proceed with the cloning of the extinct woolly mammoth.
“We suddenly feel it’s a foolishly irresponsible move,” Hwang Woo-suk of Seoul’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation stated Wednesday. “Don’t get me wrong. We were excited about the project at first. But then on Tuesday evening we all went to the theater—it’s kind of a tradition around here. We’re hard-core movie freaks, all of us. We watched Jurassic Park 3D, and we all had a come to Jesus moment with the hold project and thought ‘Jeez. What if that could actually happen?’”
Hwang reported that his troubled colleagues held an immediate conference in the Starbucks just down the street from CGV Cinema in the Guro area of Seoul to discuss the matter.
“We came to a mutual decision as coworkers and professionals,” Hwang announced to the press this morning. “We have decided not to clone the woolly mammoth. It would be wholly irresponsible on our part to allow a flesh-eating, fur-coated, tusk-bearing monstrosity to be born into this world and wreak havoc on its unsuspecting people and children. To that end, we are shutting down the project and focusing our efforts on cloning more innocuous organisms, such as ancient amoeba. And maybe some extinct species of tree-frog”
“We feel this is the healthiest direction for the Sooam Foundation to take,” Hwang added. “I mean, who doesn’t like tree-frogs?”
Hwang was once vaunted as a pioneer in the field of cloning. He is credited with the creation of the world’s first cloned dog, “Snuppy,” in 2005—though the wind was taken out of his sails the following when allegations of data fabrication were brought against him in connection with his stem cell research. When the well-preserved remains of a mammoth were discovered by Russian scientists in the Siberian tundra in 2012, the response from Hwang’s team was among the most enthusiastic. His team’s abrupt reversal has shocked many—but not all.
In response to the announcement, other voices on the international stage have begun to make themselves heard—among them Vasily Vasiliev, vice-rector of Russia’s North-Eastern Federal University.
“I’m going to have to go ahead and agree with the Koreans on this one,” Vasiliev said, despite his former staunch support of Korean mammoth-cloning initiatives. “Last night I watched the old version of Journey to the Center of the Earth—you know, the one with James Mason—with my daughter, and I can honestly say the thought of cloning a mammoth makes me nervous. I am 100% against any effort to do so.”
“Those things are scary,” Vasiliev added. “I mean, like, really scary. All fur-coated and huge and shit.”
“I’ve changed my mind,” stated environmentalist Stewart Brand, who in February of this year gave a TED conference in Long Beach about resurrecting extinct species. “Not happening. No chance. Nada. I just saw the movie Mammoth—yeah, it came out in 2006, but it’s still relevant, dammit—and let me tell you, woolly mammoths are fucking terrifying. They have at least ten different ways to kill you—they could stomp you into toe-cheese, or impale you with their horrendous ivory death-knives, or throw a rock at your head, or strangle you with their trunk. That trunk! That horrible, horrible trunk!”
Here the environmental crusader paused to run a hand through his hair and catch his breath.
“I wouldn’t want one of those goddamn things stomping around God’s green earth with me,” he finally added. “Would you?”
It seems that Brand is not alone in his assessment of the mammoth’s awe-inspiring nature. A recent Gallup poll indicated that, while 22 percent of Americans believed that cloning an extinct organism would be “pretty sweet,” a whopping 75 percent believed the consequences were too dire.
“No,” said Melvin Grimes of Tacoma, Washington. “Not only no, but hell no. Are you kidding me? Bring back mammoths and dinosaurs and who knows what else? It’ll be like The Valley of Gwangi all over again. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen that film. Fucking classic. If those scientist eggheads would just watch more B-movies then they’d see what a horrendous idea it is to bring back extinct animals from the dead.”
“Robin Williams couldn’t even handle having modern-day African animals in his house in Jumanji, could he?” inquired Caleb Pratt of Westchester, New York. “What makes you think this’ll be any different?”
“We’re meddling with powers we cannot possibly control,” said Tracy Heller of Omaha, Nebraska. “If you start bringing things like trilobites and pterodactyls and saber-toothed cats back, you’re asking for trouble. I mean, haven’t you ever seen The Land That Time Forgot? Watch it—it’ll clear up any lingering doubts you have. Cloning is the new nuke.”
This latest development in genetics research may prove to have complex implications for both the future of the Sooam Foundation and the science of cloning in general for years to come. Several prominent nations, however, refuse to be cowed by the atmosphere of fear and hesitation and have announced their intention to pursue the mammoth-cloning project.
“I’ve heard that a Japanese research team is still planning on going through with it,” Hwang recently stated, shuddering. “I hope to God they’ve prepared themselves. I’ve seen the original Godzilla, and I know the terrible price Mother Nature exacts from the human race for its hubris and restless hands. We’re all going to die, do you hear me? We’re all going to die!”