Woolly Mammoth: Life, Death, and Rediscovery by Windsor Chorlton
Gr 4-8-This excellent book is centered around the recent excavation of the Jarkov mammoth in Siberia. Beginning with general information about the creature's habits and habitats, the text moves to the accidental discovery of a huge tusk by a nine-year-old Dolgan boy. This prompted a 1999 international expedition to extract the remains of the animal, which was preserved in ice. The progress of the expedition, accompanied by color photographs, conveys the practical complexities of the project, culminating in a helicopter airlift of the 26-ton load to an ice-cave laboratory. The "diary" of the expedition includes comments by the participants that show the excitement and eagerness that inspire their work. The Jarkov discovery has prompted plenty of speculation about how to proceed with this unique resource. Some are eager to explore the possibilities of cloning, while others are more cautious, and the author relates the controversy in an evenhanded manner. Readers also learn other scientific details related to mammoths without veering too far from the course of the excavation. The book takes them through 2000, when the careful thawing of Jarkov was just beginning. Youngsters get an involving look at current scientists in action, along with enough background information to gain context and an engaging introduction to the provocative ideas and possibilities of modern science.