Meet the new mammoth, same as the old? Resurrecting the Mammuthus primigenius

Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):5 (2018)
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Media reporters often announce that we are on the verge of bringing back the woolly mammoth, even while there is growing consensus among scientists that resurrecting the mammoth is unlikely. In fact, current “de-extinction” efforts are not designed to bring back a mammoth, but rather adaptations of the mammoth using close relatives. For example, Harvard scientists are working on creating an Asian elephant with the thick coat of a mammoth by merging mammoth and elephant DNA. But how should such creatures be classified? Are they elephants, mammoths, or both? Answering these questions requires getting clear about the concept of reproduction. What I hope to show is that with an appropriate notion of reproduction—one for which I will argue—resurrecting a member of Mammuthus primigenius is a genuine possibility.

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Monika Piotrowska
State University of New York, Albany

Citations of this work

Are Synthetic Genomes Parts of a Genetic Lineage?Gunnar Babcock - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):995-1011.
De-extinction and the conception of species.Leonard Finkelman - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):32.

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References found in this work

Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2009 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.Charles Darwin - 1897 - New York: Heritage Press. Edited by George W. Davidson.
The origin of species by means of natural selection.Charles Darwin - 1859 - Franklin Center, Pa.: Franklin Library. Edited by J. W. Burrow.
A Radical Solution to the Species Problem.Michael T. Ghiselin - 1974 - Systematic Zoology 23 (4):536–544.
Species.Philip Kitcher - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (2):308-333.

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