Scientists trying to clone, resurrect extinct mammoth
A woolly mammoth skeleton is seen on display at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas in September 2009.
January 17th, 2011
11:31 AM ET

Scientists trying to clone, resurrect extinct mammoth

Instead of Jurassic Park, try Pleistocene Park.

A team of scientists from Japan, Russia and the United States hopes to clone a mammoth, a symbol of Earth’s ice age that ended 12,000 years ago, according to a report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun. The researchers say they hope to produce a baby mammoth within six years.

The scientists say they will extract DNA from a mammoth carcass that has been preserved in a Russian laboratory and insert it into the egg cells of an African elephant in hopes of producing a mammoth embryo.

The team is being led by Akira Iritani, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University in Japan. He has built upon research from Teruhiko Wakayama of Kobe's Riken Center for Developmental Biology, who successfully cloned a mouse from cells that had been frozen for 16 years, to devise a technique to extract egg nuclei without damaging them, according to the Yomiuri report.

The U.S. researchers are in vitro fertilization experts. They, along with Kinki University professor Minoru Miyashita, will be responsible for implanting the mammoth embryo into an African elephant, the report said.

"If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed [the mammoth] and whether to display it to the public," Iritani told Yomiuri. "After the mammoth is born, we'll examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors."

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Filed under: Animals • Japan • Russia • U.S.
soundoff (1,588 Responses)
  1. Skip

    Forget everything else. Will they offer rides on the baby mammoth?

    January 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fun Bobby

      only if you're licensed to operate a wooly mammoth. and no, your elephant license is not transferable.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jean

    Get real – they regressed horse back to – the original 3 toed puppy size back in the late 60's.
    They also had a giant rooster. This was the prelude to all the hibred crops – and the experimenting
    on all the fruit trees. (there was sorry tasting apples for a least 5 years).

    January 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • MostPeopleAreStupid

      Yikes!! Someone's got their tin-foil antennas on a little too tight ...

      January 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • scriss

      Wow ... I'd love to get a 12' tall three-toed micro-horse for my lady friend. The ultimate yuppie gift!

      January 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff with a J

    oh yes, and attempting to use this forum as an opportunity for cheap political shots based on your own microscopic view of the world is indicative of a pedestrian mentality and unfit for serious discussion. even biblical references rate higher than that.

    January 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shannon

      Not much though. I'm pretty sure the bible is a little lacking in material regarding wooly mammoths.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Billy Bob

    Let's clone some Neanderthals, teach 'em to use AK-47s and grenades, and tell them a guy named Osama in Northwest Pakistan hates their guts. Tell 'em that "Taliban" and "Al Quaeda" are words that mean "delicious."

    January 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Arpad101

      I suggested Neanderthals before. They can ride the mammoth into battle.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Zorg

    If a mammoth is successfully cloned does it immediately become an endangered species?

    January 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jake Buskirk

      yup. because, according to Brian' posting, Ted Nugent will be hunting for the creature. Z-WANGO-Z-TANGO!!

      January 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Haha...good point.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    Finally. Something new for Ted Nugent to hunt.

    January 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Captain Obvious

    In 20 years see this : THE McMammoth IS BACK

    January 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. bsargent

    God will strike us all dead. Man was not meant to fly. If God had meant for Man to fly he would have given him wings. He punished us with 9/11.
    If this blasphemy is allowed to blossom into reality then the new World Trade Center will be destroyed by flying mammoths.,
    Repent while there is still time!!

    January 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fun Bobby

      Repenting sounds exhausting. But I'd like to hear more about these flying mammoths you speak of oh wise one.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funkymonkey1

      Pfffft. Flying Mammoths... They'll never be able to fit down the jetways.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      The flying mammoths will be kicked off of Southwest Airlines for taking up too many seats, then our entire transportation system will collapse from the endless lawsuits.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dreado

    Remember the warning from Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Funkymonkey1

      You mean when he said to the directors "You shoul dhave never hired me for this role. You know I can't act."

      January 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Funkymonkey1

    I'm the founding member of FAME

    Folks Against Mammoth Exploitation

    Now all we need is a Mammoth to use as our mascot. Guess there's not much to do but wait...

    January 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jake Buskirk

      I would really like to join, but I think using the mammoth as a mascot would be a form of exploitation.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake Buskirk

      We could ride around in one of those conversion vans with the "Fame" logo from the movie painted on the side.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funkymonkey1

      That's an awesome idea. And we can trailer the Mammoth in a cage behind the van and shave the Fame logo into his sides. Man this is really coming together faster than I thought it would.

      January 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake Buskirk

      I suggest changing your name. I am not sure Mammoths are very fond of monkeys. Hey, we can also say we have "mammoth members".

      January 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pat

    Instead of restoring DNA from old bones, maybe they should start with the Shroud of Turin? And then – finally – we'll be able to ask Him what He wants us to do with the woolly mammoth bones. Problem solved!!

    But seriously... for those who fear mankind is "playing God", I think they forgot what the bible says about man having dominion over all the animals. Genesis 1:26, you heathens! "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." What's that? Dominion over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the Earth? Well, unless you want to debate whether or not a mammoth "creeps", it's ours to do with as we please. DOMINATE that DNA, scientists! God said so. Pay no attention to the heretics who tell you to stop.

    January 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. crowley

    Have these scientists never seen Jurassic park?

    January 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aarrgghh

      What exactly does a mammoth have to do with dinosaurs? Read a book would ya?

      January 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. behindtheovermind

    i am curios if it will work, it sounds like a great idea.

    January 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Davidloc

    Kentucky Fried Mammoth and the new Mcdonald's McMammoth can not be far. Extra Crispy would be appreciated !!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Nathan

    They have absolutely no right to do that in my opinion. Nature is responsible for creation, not man.

    January 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • scienceguy

      Were you created by nature or man? Either way, somethign went wrong.... LMAO.

      January 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
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