Dallas Entrepreneur Works to Bring Back Prehistoric Woolly Mammoths


ben lamm
Ben Lamm seeks to rebuild ecosystems, heal the earth and preserve its future through the repopulation of extinct animals, starting with recreating woolly mammoths.

Dallas serial tech entrepreneur Ben Lamm is known for his achievements. He created five companies by the age of 39. From mobile software development, he transitioned to immersive game development, then to artificial intelligence products. Now, the serial entrepreneur is planning to bring long-extinct woolly mammoths back to the Arctic tundra.

Lamm is launching a new bioscience and genetics business named Colossal to bring the dream to life. The project seeks to utilize genetic technology to create a de-extinction model that will restore degraded ecosystems.

With the aim of restoring degraded ecosystems, Lamm’s new project is meant to be a collaboration with Harvard geneticist George Church. Part of their agreement is for Church to create an elephant-mammoth hybrid genetically engineered to survive in the Arctic while Colossal will provide support for Church’s Harvard Medical School lab’s research.

Lamm is kicking off the project with a seed funding of $15 million.

The company plans to use gene-editing technology CRISPR to alter the genes of Asian elephants, which are the closest to the extinct wooly mammoth genetically. While the engineered calves will not be identical to the woolly mammoth that went extinct about 10,000 years ago, Lamm says they should feature things that made the species successful in the Arctic tundra. Traits like thick layers of fat and coarse, shaggy coats will go a long way in enabling a high-quality recreation according to the company. Scientists have estimated more than sixty genes are necessary to create a functional woolly mammoth.

Speaking of his new initiative, Lamm said it is “a new wave of thoughtful disruptive conservation” put in place to combat climate change and loss of biodiversity.

According to a prediction from one 2020 study by University of Arizona researchers, one-third of all plant and animal species could face extinction by 2070.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article