Thursday, April 24, 2014
S.F. designer Ken Fulk works to bring back saber-tooth tiger
Posted on Tuesday, April 1 at 2:06pm | San Francisco interior designer Ken Fulk, known for his eclectic style, lavish parties, tech/ social media clients including Sean Parker, and writeups about his work in Vanity Fair, issued a news release today stating that his love of taxidermy has led him to donate a rare saber-tooth tiger from his collection to Stewart Brand’s Revive & Restore Foundation, for the purpose of using cells to clone a cat with the help of UC-Santa Cruz’s paleogenomics lab.
“Fulk’s 10,000-year-old specimen, which was gifted to him during his annual vacation to the Alaskan fishing village of Noatak, was discovered frozen in a glacier cave near Eschscholtz Bay,” stated the news release, accompanied by the photo shown above. “By extracting DNA from the fur and claws of this incredibly preserved saber-toothed tiger, the geneticists at University of California-Santa Cruz paleogenomics lab may be able to bring the prehistoric large cat back from extinction. Using the genome of an Asiatic lion as a model, the scientists will attempt to recode Smilodon’s genome to create a living cell that would then be used with existing cloning technology.
It’s outlandish, but not beyond the realm of what Fulk might try some day — today. (April Fool’s, everyone.) But in fact, the New York Times wrote about Brand’s foundation and attempts to bring back extinct animals, such as passenger pigeons in a February issue of the magazine.
“Everyone takes themselves too seriously,” said Fulk, reached this afternoon by phone. Fulk, who was preparing for an All Fool’s Day party he is throwing tonight for 300 invited guests, said the news release was e-mailed to guests as a reminder to stop by, but also as a way to have fun.
“My father had an elaborate April Fool’s joke for our family, when I was growing up in Virginia,” Fulk said. “I was obsessed with animals as a kid, so he would say he’d seen some exotic animal on our property, a provide all kinds of purported proof.”
Fulk has never been to Alaska, but said he researched the names of various cities and organizations to bolster his claim.
The animal pictured is not a saber-tooth tiger, but a female lion whose coat had been dyed and tusks added. Fulk said he acquired the taxidermied animal, originally part of a diorama, from a decommissioned museum in the Midwest.