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Rebirth of the Woolly Mammoth

Rebirth of the Woolly Mammoth

 

The woolly mammoth vanished from the face of the earth some 10,000 years ago. Nevertheless, thanks to a team of stem cell scientists from South Korea and Russia, these animals from the Pleistocene epoch are scheduled to make a reappearance — once they’re successfully cloned that is.

This news likely has some wondering: is there is a good reason to bring an animal back to life who roamed our planet so long ago? Another lingering question is: how will the reintroduction of these animals affect our delicate ecosystem?

In spite of their historical significance, maybe our never-ending fascination and affection for all things dinosaur-related has something to do with the decision to clone the woolly mammoth. It’s no longer a question of whether or not scientists can successfully clone animals — the first cloning of an animal took place in the 1880s. Dolly, the cloned sheep, made a big splash when she was born in 1996. She earned the distinction of being the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell using the process of nuclear transfer. Since Dolly was a typical farm animal, some, although impressed by her birth, may not have given her much additional thought. On the other hand, the cloning of a prehistoric creature is another story altogether.

Perhaps in an effort to endear itself to us in today’s world, or by sheer coincidence, the woolly mammoth has grabbed a few additional headlines since the announcement of its cloning plans. Searching in northern Siberia for ancient tusks, British scientists recently unearthed a juvenile mammoth that was found in a near-perfect state of preservation who they nicknamed “Yuka.” Yuka is estimated to be more than 10,000 years old, and was likely three to four years old at the time of its death. Remarkably, this young mammoth was found with strawberry blond hair (unlike the dark hair that mammoths are known to have had) in addition to well-preserved footpads.

Is it possible that we’ll have a prehistoric animal preserve to visit in the near future? Is the day coming when crowds will clamor to get a glimpse of cloned woolly mammoths as they mingle with other cloned prehistoric creatures? The answer appears to be a definite maybe. Maybe a better question to ask now is: will an actual Jurassic Park open before the fourth installment of the film?

 

Related Stories:

High Animal Death Rates End Cloning Project

Saber-Toothed Squirrel Skulls Found: Lived 100 Million Years Ago

World’s Most Endangered Cat Saved from Extinction?

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Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkoffire/

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109 comments

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6:26AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Look at those IVORY TUSKS! What happens to animals with IVORY TUSKS?

You got it!

6:23AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

I can just see the dollar signs in those researchers eyes. They need to understand that just because you CAN do something does not mean that you SHOULD.

3:33PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

it doesn't belong here. In our time. It would be in a cage or in a park.. not living like it was meant to. furthermore, we have so many pressing issues.. why waste billions on something so pointless? Just to say we can?

8:05AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Ok if they bring it back what does it eat and how will we ever feed it?

2:17AM PDT on May 7, 2012

I get it. I get the thrill and challenge of playing God, bringing back to life something nature abandoned millennia ago.

Kind of ironic...

Our magnificent modern elephant is threatened by anything from abject cruelty to extinction, losing physical and spiritual ground in every arena in which they exist, and science's answer is to bring back to life a prehistoric elephant that needs even more terrain to survive.

Yes, why not populate our world's pristine forests with yet another testament to mankind's egotistical stupidity and upset a delicate balance fine tuned over the millennia since its demise?

It is we, the sane people of the world, who must ensure this can never come to fruition. Haven't we yet learned the moral of Frankenstein's Monster, ironically, born of those forests we need to protect?





4:35PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

"Remarkably, this young mammoth was found with strawberry blond hair (unlike the dark hair that mammoths are known to have had)"

There we go again, as soon as we find PROOF of something that doesn't agree with scientists speculations, we dismiss it.
What this should read is "(unlike the dark hair that mammoths are BELIEVED to have had).

This is typical of the evolutionist theory. Sorry, but from this sort of time period, we don't KNOW anything, we speculate on a theory which is then backed up by anything we can lay our hands on and worse still, we then teach it as the TRUTH.

1:35AM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

"...affection for all things dinosaur-related"

HUH?

Why are you lumping mammoths and dinosaurs in the same article? One is a mammal, the other reptilian. Most importantly-- did not live at the same time---- unless you are a Creationist.

Dinosaurs disappeared from our planet over 65 MILLION years ago.

12:05PM PDT on Apr 25, 2012

If scientists do clone wooly mammoths they would have to keep them in Sanctuaries, or zoos or something. Meaning this poor creature would never be free to roam anywhere on earth. Why would you bring something back from the ice age to do this to it?

11:50PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

We should take care for the living wild animals before bringing prehistoric animals back!

6:06PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

And will those immoral poachers look on this animal as just another source of ivory to be gotten in the most violent ways? Or perhaps Ringling Bros. will exploit and abuse them for human entertainment? Or will the well heeled hunt them back into extinction? WTF are we doing?

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