According to a new book by Ben Mezrich, Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive one of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures,  well known Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel invested. $100,000 in an effort to resurrect the woolly mammoth.  The book itself chronicles efforts by Harvard University genomics expert George Church to genetically modify Asian elephant cells with DNA retrieved from frozen mammoths.   The goal is the modified Asian elephants will have Woolly Mammoth babies.  According to the book, progress has been limited to getting mammoth fur to grow on the side of a mouse grafted with some elephant cells.

Long Term Goal

The long-term goal of this de-extinction plan is to bring the mammoths back to life and release breeding herds of them into the Siberian tundra as part of an elaborate effort to combat climate change.  Author Mezrich claims that Russian scientists, have shown since the 1980s that if you reintroduce herbivores from the Pleistocene era to the Siberian tundra, it will normalize the temperature.  Supposedly to demonstrate this the scientists are using army tanks to mimic woolly mammoths tromping the ground and they’re also introducing bison herds.  So far they’ve managed to lower the temperature of the tundra by 15 degrees. So the goal is to put a herd of woolly mammoths in the Siberian tundra to keep the permafrost from melting.  Thiel has his own hopes for avoiding extinction too. The PayPal billionaire signed up with cryogenics company Alcor to be deep-frozen at the time of his death in the hope that he too can be resurrected.