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Mammoth: The Resurrection Of An Ice Age Giant Paperback – September 18, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0738202815 ISBN-10: 0738202819

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (September 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738202819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738202815
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,815,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park introduced readers to the once improbable notion that, thanks to advances in genetic science, dinosaurs could be brought back from the grave. Richard Stone's Mammoth offers a kindred scenario: the establishment of a "Pleistocene Park," in which long-extinct creatures like the mammoth, saber-toothed tiger, and woolly rhino could be resurrected and given sanctuary.

This is not a science-fiction vision, we learn from science journalist Stone's absorbing journey into recent prehistory. Already, scientists from Russia, Canada, the United States, and other nations are studying the possibility of restoring a stretch of northern Siberia to its Pleistocene condition, thereby creating what they call a "mammoth steppe" populated by bison, Yakutian horses, and elephants--and one day, perhaps, creatures such as the woolly mammoth, genetically "summoned from the world of the dead." The materials are readily available, Stone writes, in the form of DNA-bearing "muscles and ligaments and fat" found in mammoths now buried in arctic permafrost. Whether those remnants can be made to bring back to life what Siberians call the "rat beneath the ice" is another question, but it's one that many scholars are busily exploring.

While looking into what he calls a "watershed in efforts to study lost ecosystems," Stone provides a lively natural history of the mammoth and evaluates conflicting theories on its extinction. His book makes for a memorable journey into unknown scientific territory--and a glimpse at a possible future that is surpassing strange. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

In March 2000, 10 million Discovery Channel viewers watched scientists airlift a 23-ton chunk of Siberian permafrost containing a still-frozen woolly mammoth carcass. Stone, Science magazine's European news editor, describes the banal events preceding the extraordinary excavation: a young boy sees a tusk protruding from the ground; his father and uncle unearth and sell the tusk to an arctic explorer, whose excavation plans conflict with the local Dolgan people's reverence for the earth; the red tape-tangled Russian government cooperates. Stone interviews the top mammoth experts and documents the most significant excavations of the past two centuries. These once abundant "great shaggy beasts," cousins of modern Asian and African elephants, suddenly went extinct at the end of the Great Ice Age some 11,000 years ago. Three well-balanced chapters explore the primary, and often conflicting, theories on mammoth extinction: shifting weather patterns caused by climate change, overhunting by humans and a "hyperdisease" passed from humans to mammoths. Certain scientists, Stone says, not only want to understand the mammoth's disappearance they also hope to bring the beast back to life. He recounts the pioneering, controversial efforts of some Japanese scientists, who hope to recover enough well-preserved tissue to create either an elephant-mammoth hybrid or a mammoth clone. Stone professes his own belief that, someday, "woolly mammoths will once again walk the earth." Exploring the environmental ramifications of bringing extinct animals back to life, and invoking Jurassic Park, Stone describes an ambitious plan to restore the prehistoric mammoth steppe habitat in Siberia. Although sometimes digressive and overly detailed, his account offers a provocative look at the world of today's mammoth hunters.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

This book is enjoyable to read and packed with information.
Matthew Taylor
The Adventure here is about the unearthing of giant animals from the Pleistocene Era... Giant Wooly Mammoths in the permafrost of Siberia.
Joe Zika
I'm not really sure what it's about; it's disorganized and kind of all over the place.
N. Perz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Taylor on July 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is enjoyable to read and packed with information. Richard Stone does a great job with the mostly scientific material while keeping it entertaining with descriptions of travel to Siberia. This book is an excellent primer on mammoths--their biology, their fossil record, the history of their discovery by humans, the theories of their extinction--and it has a bibliography if you would like to know more. But it is more than that. In discussing current research on mammoths, he covers paleontolgy, arctic exploration, Russian history, genetics, molecular biology, biogeography, and anthropology, and handles all of them equally well. The center piece of the book is the expedition to unearth the Jarkov mammoth and thaw it slowly to find out how intact it is (you would be surprised how many intact frozen mammoths have gone on record as having been left to the wolves to eat or fed to dogs, or just left to rot--what a waste!). The book ends with some uncertainty about how valuable the Jarkov mammoth will be, but that did not distract me from finding this a very satisfying book.
One small thing that would have made this book better is a graphic depiction of a timeline of the Pleistocene. I have trouble keeping my dates straight.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Coffee Time Romance on November 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I liked this book because, as every great book should, it stimulated my curiosty and imagination. It made the little-known,long extinct animal come to life. I could picture Dima, the baby mammoth, as he lay dying in a frozen Siberian steppe 40,000 years ago, starving without his mother's milk. I could also feel the bitter-cold howling winds as explorers were searching for mammoth remains.
The book raises questions to which there are no answers yet, such as how did mammoths become extinct and could they be "brought back" with the help of modern technology. This makes one ponder the ethics of cloning and then breeding pre-historic animals in today's environment.
Last but not least, the book made me realize that even in this age of ever-present internet there are still true hands-on adventurers out there, determined and dedicated individuals who are conquering new frontiers in search of unknown and little-known phenomena.
And, of course, there are writers to write about it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joe Zika TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Mammoth: THe Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant written by Richard Stone is a book about adventure, but not just your oridinary adventure. The Adventure here is about the unearthing of giant animals from the Pleistocene Era... Giant Wooly Mammoths in the permafrost of Siberia. This is a very provocative book as the science is beautifully clear.
The Wooly Mammoth roamed Europe, Asia and North America and grew to huge proportions, but later became extinct and all that we know of their existance is being uncovered by some very good scientific research. Now, a new generation of explorers has taken up the challange, to find out more about the mammoth and the life and times that existed during their lifetimes. Armed with ground-penetrating radar, GPS, and helecopters the large expanse of Siberia is begins to yield some interesting finds and the clues that go along with more and more information.
There is promiss in this book that once again the mammoth may live... how you say can this happen... well through DNA and cloning. This book takes you on a rigerous adventure through frontiers of science. Yes, theoretically it can be done, but this book examins both the profound philosophical questions about the risks and morality of executing these efforts. Liken to "Jurassic Park," you say.. and you would be correct.
Theories exist as to why the mammoth did out and became extinct... one of which is the overchill theory as the Earth became increasingly cooler the food supply for the mammoth became less and less forage for the animal, next the psychological change of being penned in by dense forest and glacier. Mammoth were used to living in the Northern cooler climates as is evidece in the finds of today. So much so, as there are finds in the small islands of the Arctic Ocean.
Read more ›
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Garelik on December 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
Richard Stone's "Mammoth" opens the mind's eye to vivid and unexpected worlds of discovery - past, present, and future, from Pleistocene hunting parties who pursued the woolly colossus for sustenance, to 21st-century scientists who seek the still fugitive hunk of flesh from which, they hope, they will find themselves able to extract an unadulterated archive of genetic material; to those dreamers who would not only resurrect a creature that nature and history have conspired to bury beneath the snow but also to reconstruct around it a "Pleistocene Park," an entire ecosystem of the kind in which the ancient animal flourished.
What, indeed, caused the mammoth's disappearance in the first place? Stone asks. Was it climate change, for instance, or was it overhunting - or was it some horrible "hyperdisease" to which, if we extract the behemoth from its icy sepulchre, we might expose ourselves?
But "Mammoth" is not just a natural history; it is also a front-seat adventure that takes us on a trek of thousands of kilometers, from locales as diverse as Tokyo and North Africa to the vast whiteness and bone-chilling cold of the Siberian Arctic. It is an expedition that marries gleaming Western technologies to creaky post-Soviet gear and traverses the chaos and corruption of today's Russia. It is a quest, too, that brooks the terror of indigenous peoples that the latter-day grave-robbers about whom we read might expose themselves - and all of us, in their heedless arrogance - to some ancient curse or unpredictable calamity.
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