27 March 2013
It seemed like the perfect solution for luthiers and bow-makers who wanted to use ivory without being implicated in the slaughter of elephants – mammoth ivory! But I always had a niggling feeling that the supply of 3,600-year-old fossilized mastodons might be limited. Apparently not – for two reasons neither of which are entirely reassuring. One is that global warming is melting the permafrost so that Russians can dig up woolly mammoth remains for guilt-free ivory. There is also a back-up ‘de-extinction programme’ to clone mammoths. That’s all right then.