It’s silly season in betting offices up and down the country again but a quick look around some of the off-the-wall markets reveals that some of the wagers offered to punters may not be as far-fetched as they first appear.
For example, scientists at the Siberian Mammoth Museum in Russia and the Kinki University in Japan are already undertaking Jurassic Park-style experiments in an effort to bring the fabled woolly mammoth out of extinction. The scientists claim that a bone found in August contains remarkably well-preserved marrow cells which could form the starting point of a shaggy resurrection. The teams working on the project claim that cloning could be complete within the next five years so Paddy Power may attract a bit of interest in their market to predict which year will see the birth of the first woolly mammoth since prehistoric times. It’s 2/1 for a baby mammoth in 2015 or 2016 and 5/2 against 2017 or 2018, though there are plenty of sceptics.
The plan is to transplant mammoth DNA into the egg of a female African elephant but does that not make the offspring a hybrid? There’s also the problem of keeping the poor thing alive. Dolly The Sheep didn’t exactly enjoy a long and happy life and attempts to resurrect the recently extinct Pyrenean ibex in 2009 ended in failure. Building a mammoth from scratch would, I believe, be on a whole new scale and the result would probably never last as long as big-screen Tarzan‘s chimpanzee Cheetah who, sad to report, passed away in Florida on Christmas Eve at the remarkable age of 80. Why has this film icon not been granted a state funeral on a par with that of Kim Jung Il?
Still on a scientific theme, Ladbrokes offer Evens that those clever chaps and their Large Hadron Collider will prove neutrinos travel faster than the speed of light by the end of 2012. No, I don’t understand any of it either but that nice Professor Brian Cox seems to know what he’s talking about! On a more bizarre note, Paddy Power have Sweden to be the first verified contact with an alien civilisation. Hollywood has always presumed that the USA would be the first port of call for UFOs – do extra-terrestrials actually prefer Abba to the Cardassians?