Summary of Welcome to Pleistocene Park

In Arctic Siberia, Russian scientists are trying to stave off catastrophic climate change – by resurrecting an Ice Age biome complete with lab-grown woolly mammoths.

The Atlantic,

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Welcome to Pleistocene Park summary
Could resurrecting woolly mammoths prevent mass expulsion of greenhouse gasses from the permafrost?


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For this scientific essay, Ross Anderson, senior editor at The Atlantic, treks through Siberia with Nikita Zimov, the director of Pleistocene Park. The goal of Zimov's project is to stall climate change by restoring the Mammoth Steppe grasslands ecosystem. One item is still on the to-do list: Resurrect the woolly mammoth. Anderson writes a compelling and objective evaluation of this fantastically ambitious project and the determined actors behind it. getAbstract predicts you will be astonished, concerned and awed – all at the same time.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How scientist Nikita Zimov plans to halt the mass expulsion of greenhouse gasses from the permafrost,
  • Why he needs large land mammals and
  • How scientists are re-creating the woolly mammoths.


Deep in Russia’s tundra, 2,500 miles from Novosibirsk, scientist Nikita Zimov takes the forests and scrub to task. The tundra wasn’t always home to forests. During the Pleistocene epoch, the Ice Age, woolly mammoths and other large mammals kept larger vegetation in check, causing the ecosystem to give way to an expanse of grasslands across Beringia called the Mammoth Steppe biome. In 1996, Zimov founded Pleistocene Park with the goal of slowing down the thaw of the Beringia permafrost, which is exceptionally rich in carbon compared with other permafrost regions, to prevent a mass release of carbon dioxide and methane. The open space of grasslands prevents the land from absorbing too much heat, which allows the winter freeze to reach deeper into the Earth and slow down thawing.

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About the Author

Ross Andersen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where supervises the Science, Technology and Health sections.

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