The woolly mammoth is long gone, having been pushed to extinction thousands of years ago, but in recent years, there have been no shortage of efforts to test the feasibility of bringing the species back.
The mammoth, named Yuka, was found frozen in Siberia in 2010. Miraculously, even after thousands of years of lying dormant, scientists out of Japan recently managed to bring some of the animal’s biological material back to life.
Akira Iritani an animal reproduction expert and former director of the Institute of Advanced Technology at Kindai University in Wakayama, in Japan, thought that the juvenile woolly mammoth called Yuka, discovered in Russia in 2010, was the perfect candidate to try to resurrect this long-extinct species.
The scientists took the heart of the ‘dormant but damaged’ mammoth cells and swapped them into living mouse reproductive cells in a process called nuclear transfer (NT). Against all odds, the cells began to wake back up, bringing a tiny bit of a woolly mammoth back to life.
However, as promising as this might sound, there are still major hurdles that need to be overcome before such a thing could even be considered, much less attempted, not least of which is finding samples of a preserved woolly mammoth with DNA that has held up better over time.
Woolly mammoths, which were about the size of modern African elephants, died out about 4,000 years ago.