Another sign we are living in the future: The raging debate has switched from "Can we bring a wooly mammoth back to life" to "Should we bring a wooly mammoth back to life?" And while genome-based cloning still gives a lot of people the willies, those who can look past the Jurassic Park-ness of it all see a way to heal the planet's complex, fracturing ecosystem.
How it could change the game:
Don't think in terms of one sad, caged mammoth living in a theme park somewhere; think about herds of elephant-ancestors roaming the Tundra in their old natural habitat and battling global warming by restoring ecological symbiosis. As Harvard professor George Church wrote in the September 2013 issue of Scientific American, the mammoths' ancient habitat is rapidly thawing, potentially producing as much greenhouse gas as if all the world's forests burned to the ground:
Mammoths could keep the region colder by: (a) eating dead grass, thus enabling the sun to reach spring grass, whose deep roots prevent erosion; (b) increasing reflected light by felling trees, which absorb sunlight; and (c) punching through insulating snow so that freezing air penetrates the soil.