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No creature from the fabled Pleistocene Era holds a more powerful place in the popular imagination than the woolly mammoth.
Cave paintings of the giant beast hint at the profound role they played in early human culture - our Ice Age ancestors build igloo-shaped huts out of mammoth bones and even feasted on mammoth tongues. Eager to uncover more clues to this mystical prehistoric age, explorers since the time of Peter the Great have join in the great hung for mammoth remains.
Now a new generation of explorers has take to the tundra. Armed with global positioning satellites, ground-penetrating radar and Soviet-era military helicopters, they are after an elusive prize: a mammoth carcass that will help determine how the creature lived, how it died and how it might be brought back to life.
In this adventure-filled narrative, science writer Richard Stone follows two teams of explorers one Russian/ Japanese , the other a French led consortium - as they battle with bitter cold, high winds, supply shortages and the deeply rooted superstitions of indigenous people who fear the consequences of awakening the 'rate beneath the ice'.
From St Petersburg to the Arctic Circle, from the North Sea to high tech Japanese laboratories, winds the sometimes surreal question of these fanatical explorers and pioneering scientists, whose work could well rewrite our planet's evolutionary history.
A riveting tale of high-stakes adventure and scientific hubris, Mammoth is also an intellectual voyage through uncharted moral terrain, as we confront the promise and peril of resurrecting creatures from the deep past.
About the Author
Richard Stone is the European bureau chief of Science magazine. He has written for Discover, the Washington Post, the Moscow Times and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Of all extinct animals, the mammoth occupies a special place in the modern mind. The combination of physical scale and otherness reminiscent of dinosaurs, together with cave paintings proving that humans once co-existed with these creatures and discoveries of extraordinarily well-preserved carcasses, enable us to imagine the prehistoric relation of the elephant very vividly. Stone's book describes attempts being made at the moment by a number of teams to bring the mammoth back to life, using DNA from animals frozen many thousands of years ago. It is impossible to speak about this subject without referring to Jurassic Park, but, whereas the science in Jurassic Park doesn't stand up, it is more than likely that this work really will succeed. Stone's book has to cover political, moral and financial issues and the fiercely competitive nature of modern research projects as well as the more usual business of chemistry and biology, and he builds a hugely absorbing account of science being carried out under extreme conditions, both physical and psychological, in the race to achieve success in genetic procedures that may have implications for all of us as great as any defining discovery of mankind's past. (Kirkus UK)
Published: 2nd January 2002
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Dimensions (cm): 19.000 x 14.000
Weight (kg): 0.390