Dr. Melanie Armstrong, of Western Colorado University, got this message, which reminded us of our Talmudic Questions:
(meanwhile, enjoy listening to Arturo Sandoval's los elefantes ).
Hi Dr. Armstrong,
At tonight's lecture, the reintroduction of woolly mammoths came up. While I have my own opinions about rewilding entire landscapes, one of my concerns about bringing back extinct megafauna is their ability to exist in today's world.
This concern extends to their nonexistent gut biomes; if any remnant of their gut biome was recreated at the same time the entire organism, let's say mammoth, was, would it be able to digest plant matter? Would their extinct cellulose-digesting microbes need a current replacement (for example, the microbes in cows) in order to get energy from food? Or has cellulose changed so little in the last 10,000 years that if we recreated these microbes, they would be able to break down today's plants? These are just a few things I'm curious about.
Thanks for listening!
Gabriela Zaldumbide, Candidate, Master of Environmental Management, Western State Colorado University.