This is just SO ‘Jurassic Park!’ Scientists have been able to extract DNA from a woolly mammoth carcass, meaning the long-extinct pachyderm could be coming back to life. We’ve got five things to know about the prehistoric creature’s revival with a little help from modern-day elephants.
So crazy! Harvard scientists have announced that they’ve been able to extract DNA from the hair of a woolly mammoth carcass that was pulled from a Siberian permafrost back in 2014. They’re going to splice it with an embryo taken from one of their descendants, an Asian elephant. Here are five things to know about the amazing revival of the long extinct beast.
1. We’re just a few years away from scientists creating a “mammophant”
“Our aim is to produce a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo,” Harvard Professor George Church told the Guardian. “Actually, it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits. We’re not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years.” Since modern-day elephants descended from mammoths, there is a related creature to help try to revive the long extinct species.
2. Scientists will grow the “mammophant” in an artificial womb.
Asian elephants are endangered so researchers don’t want to put one of the valuable creatures at risk by having to carry a mammophant fetus. They’re looking into ways to create an artificial womb to gestate the creatures.
3. Here’s what mammoth traits the new creature would have.
The species will be part elephant, but have mammoth features such as small ears, subcutaneous fat, long shaggy hair and cold-adapted blood. Elephants today only exist in warm climates such as southern Africa, India and Thailand.
4. Woolly mammoths co-existed with early humans.
They were hunted by early man for their furry pelts, ivory tusks and bones, which were used to make tools, art, and primitive dwellings. They primarily existed in Eastern Asia — mainly Siberia — and parts of what is now Alaska.
5. Woolly Mammoths went extinct about 10,000 years ago.
The creatures disappeared from mainland continents from a combination of habitat shrinkage, climate change (yes, it is a real thing!) and hunting from mankind. Some of the pachyderms still roamed islands off of Siberia just 4,600 years ago.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of scientists trying to bring back the woolly mammoth? Is it a brilliant idea or messing with nature?