THE world is mad about mammoths. Literally. Not only is there rather a lot of love out there for these great hairy beasts, but a group of Korean scientists from cloning company Sooam are in the process of trying to make a real, living, breathing one right now.
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National Museum of Scotland
Crazy Jurassic Park nonsense?
Well, a visit to Dolly the sheep on the first floor of the National Museum of Scotland while you’re on your way to see the mammoth exhibition may provide some perspective on the matter.
For now, however, Mammoths of the Ice Age, is the closest it’s possible to get to touching the coat of a woolly mammoth, coming face to face with a baby mammoth who once walked the earth and standing in the shadow of an enormous adult.
It’s also an excellent family-friendly guide to all the reasons why growing your own pet mammoth may not be such a good idea – the cost of feeding the creature alone puts the zoo’s bamboo bill so far in the shade you might as well be on the dark side of the moon.
Following a logical progression through time, the exhibition starts in the Ice Age and progresses seamlessly to the modern era, via encounters with little Lyuba the best preserved mammoth ever discovered, different breeds of the proboscidean family, including mastodons, and comparisons to living cousin the elephant. In between are diversions that will tickle the fancy of most of your own little herd – there’s a chance to do some mammoth jousting, pat replicas of mammoth heads and check out the size of some of the other animals you’d have met during the Ice Age, although, the most attractive exhibit by far for anyone under eight seems to be a remarkably tactile “guess the animal scat” game.
There’s also more than enough in the exhibition to comfortably give anyone traipsing along with an avid fan of mammoths as a result of the Ice Age films a little extra food for thought and a different perspective on how these animals lived. It’s also kind of exciting to go along in the knowledge that we live in an era where we may once again see mammoths jousting on the Siberian plains.
• Runs until April 20