Sunday, April 09, 2017

Lee Pitts: Let’s Think About This

If you thought living next to Ted Turner's buffalo was bad just wait until you hear this. According to a report on CNN and a story written in Newser by Arden Dier, scientists are trying to revive what was once the largest land mammal in Europe for over 250,000 years. It's called an Auroch but there's only one problem: it was last seen grazing in a Polish forest in 1627.

Supposedly, the reason the mad scientists want to bring back the extinct Auroch is because many areas in Europe are becoming barren, probably because they kicked the cattle and sheep off. The Aurochs are being called "supercows" but by looking at cave paintings of them I must say they'd never win Denver, and I doubt the American Angus Association is shaking in their shorts, fearing the competition. For the foreseeable future the initials AAA will still stand for the Angus Association and the auto club, not the American Auroch Association. 

The animals the scientists want to recreate are nearly as big as elephants but without all the trunks and other baggage. It looks to me like the Aurochs would be long on hamburger, seven bone roasts and brisket and extremely light in the filet mignon department. The scientists admit that the Aurochs had tiny rumps and udders and were "not very productive in meat or milk." 

So why revive them?

Because they can. Scientists are like kids with a new toy and darn it, they're going to play with it. These scientists are called "gene editors" and they're much like regular editors only without all the grammar stuff they're so uptight about. The gene editors say that an animal is never really extinct. (Tell that to the Dodo bird.) They should also tell it to the bureaucrats who are trying to save hairy-nosed wombats, Mexican walking fish, bird eating spiders and leaping lesbian lizards. (Really).

 As I understand it, as long as the "ancient DNA" that once made up the Auroch is still present in a living population scientists can now go back, capture those genes and put back together the animal that once was. Theoretically, they could go back and recreate your rich great grandfather, although I don't know why considering he may want your ranch back. Auroch genes have been found in breeds of cattle including Dexters, Kerrys, Welsh Blacks, and White Parks, which sound more like thuggish Irish street gangs than they do cattle.

Another reason the scientists want to bring back the Aurochs is fertility. Not the Aurochs' fertility, mind you, their wife's, mistress' or girlfriend's! You see, hundreds of thousands years ago very brave men would try to kill an Auroch and cut off the patch of hair on its forehead, then they'd make a belt out of it and give it to their significant other in order to make her more fertile. This makes little sense to me. On the one hand it will make her more fertile but it will also keep her pants up.

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