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. timd

    What a waste of time. They should be cloning about a million Charlize Therons.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • jphilly08

      this is a bad idea, don't mess with evolution. they had their time and died. what if something goes wrong that we can't reverse? what if this animal hosts a disease we can't fight? what do we have to gain from this scientifically? nothing, its about money

      January 17, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Religious Sects

      Although I disagree with your dislike for cloning Mammoths ... I think it is a great idea.
      However, I am down with the duplicating Charlize Theron most definitely!

      January 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda B.

      Jurassic Park here we come......

      January 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • carlos perez

      I want one as a pet.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kendall

      A disease that we can't fight? Animals aren't born with communicable diseases unless their mothers had them while pregnant. We would have to separately clone the bacteria or virus or prion's genes and then give them to the animal. The only diseases that mammoth could possibly have are those that exist already.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • bal

      We know Humans pushed the mammoth into extinction from over hunting. Whatever diseases they had back then would have transmitted to us when we ate them. Besides that fear is totally stupid even if we didn't evolve with them. A disease usually has to infect the animal. Diseases don't embed in nuclei and last for 12,000 years. they're bacteria. Not to mention how much we could learn about the ecology of the wooly mammoth and its habits. I do however have problems about their way of achieving it. An Asian Elephant would be best to host the mammoth embryo since its its closest living relative. also we won't get a totally genetic purebred Mammoth from one generation. It will take a another 2 elephant births from the first offspring.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • mbt4369

      Anyone hear of reverse transcriptase?

      January 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Charlize Theron Park? Yes please.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evo Lution

      we are really going to clone a mammoth during a period of possible global warming???? How bout some foresight???

      January 17, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Bowman

      Wooly mammoths didn't just die, they were hunted to extinction by modern humans (as were wooly rhinoceroses, glyptodons, and many other large mammals). I fully support this project, but long-term, the only way to make the earth sustainable for all species is by reducing the human population significantly.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Could you handle that much rejection?

      January 17, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diaw

      If something goes wrong we kill it, let science prevail

      January 17, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mamia

      This is crazy ! They are playing God . Also, this planet can't support the Fauna of today ,why do they want more animals to let them starved or killed by the human race ? There is a reason why they are not with us anymore . What is next ? Hitler ....

      January 17, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Guess what? Man's been messing with evolution since the domestication of the dog. Not to mention health care, seat belts, safety helmets, and all the things that allow stupid people to keep on breeding.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • vince86

      It would suck if scientists miscalculated all these years and realized mammoths were actually carnivorous upon resurrection.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Momma

      LOL – great idea Jim Bowman – start with yourself!

      January 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'What is next ? Hitler ....'
      yeah because thats the next obvious step, lol.

      January 17, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harold Bissonette (pronounced Bis-o-nay)

      Wish them luck! If they can do this, it won't be long before we can clone our own organs that are destroyed by things like cancer.

      January 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sahre

      If we cloning anything it needs to be SELENA! VIVE SELENA!!!! PARA SIEMPRE!

      January 17, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Boone

      How about just injecting your penis with a brain cell so the other one won't be so lonely.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Scott

    I am for this.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • jdizzle1337

      The worst thing that could happen is that Neumann will hack the system and cause the power to go out, but Samuel L Jackson will go to turn it back on for us..... what could possibly go wrong?

      As for why they became extinct..... well lets see they have to eat 500lbs of vegetation every day and they live in an arctic climate, on top of that they are the favorite item on the menu of prehistoric man.... hmmmm i wonder how could they possibly become extinct.


      January 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. george

    Why are we brining a cold natured creature from long in the past ice age into a harsh environment with global warming? It is just for the fame of the scientist. Surely the scientists know from current living animals why a climate or environmental change can cause the death of a species. Why create living being just to watch it die experimentally of heat exhaustion or starvation?

    January 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike hunt

      cause they know global warming is a myth.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julibear

      Very good point. Lets look to the film industry for answers. Will the mammoth be kept in a sterile biodome that perfectly recreates the atmosphere it lived in? Will we create a safari park that we can drive through and see formerly extinct animals? I'm sure the Chinese can transport it to a northern clime so its not dying under that giant fur coat. On the whole I'm for it, because I'd love to see a real wooly mammoth, but then curiosity killed the cat, no? As long as they're not cloning anything inherently dangerous-i,e, actual carnivorous dinos, sabre tooth tigers, etc, should be ok. But maybe mammoths were more violent than we suppose?

      January 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julibear

      Hope thats a pseudonym, Mike.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • jphilly08

      exactly, we can't even keep the polar bears alive with the melting ice caps. how are mammoths going to make it?

      January 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      Why? To help determine how to preserve current species so they do not suffer the same fate.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • noseitall

      Perfect, Mike.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric in Texas

      Thank you "mike hunt" :o)
      To the unable to think/reason for themselves masses, global warming is bunk!
      It's global control.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerome Haltom

      Nuh uh, global warming is real!

      January 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigJim278

      Probably the reason it's a mammoth they're trying to clone is because they have a "perfectly frozen mammoth carcass" available. I think they would have tried cloning any animal that they had a preserved carcass of. I'd actually like to see them do a sabre-tooth tiger. It would be grand!

      January 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • EI

      How do you know there isn't an ice age coming ?... it's happened before and it will happen again. Whatever impact humans have is miniscule compared to the changes that occur naturally. Humans seem to give themselves too much credit for the occurence of both good and bad changes or events. For example a tiny change in the sun's output can mean the difference between freezing and boiling on earth, regardless of any so called global warming.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee Key

      Wooly Mammoths did not live in the frigid cold. Earth will not be turning into an oven any time in the near future. The mammoths will the climate adequate. The problem is that we will have to keep them in captivity, we can't let them run wild.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Because one of the last places for the mammoth was the siberian tundra, which is still waaaaaaay cold so it will be fine if they decide to move it there.

      January 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • len

      are you talking about the global warming created by govt funded weather modification/manipulation programs?

      January 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • DS

      Not just for fame/$$. It's also to develop the technique of resurrecting a species. As we humans are erasing species at a rate that has not been equaled since the last huge die-off millions of years ago, it would be very valuable to know how to bring them back in case we ever come to our senses and realize that it's good for OUR survival to allow a wide range of other species to survive as well.

      January 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Seth Hill

    I've always felt SO GUILTY because, when we humans first migrated into the Americas, there were giant mammoths, giant grown sloths, giant camels, saber-toothed tigers, and other magnificent creatures roaming the wilderness. And we ATE them all! Now we have a chance to make up for our sins. Imagine being able to see them walking around again (well, maybe not the saber-toothed tiger)! Good luck to the cloning scientists!

    January 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • R. Macabre

      I hardly ate any of those! Too gamey for me. Anyway, I cannot wait to see a living mammoth. And no, it's not because I am hungry for Mammoth Mignon.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      You shouldn't feel guilty at all. Most evidence now points to climate change as the overriding reason why all North American megafauna went extinct not long after humans arrived on the continent. Right before then the earth plunged into an ice age that severely restricted the amount of food available for animals like mammoths. When the herbivores started keeling over for lack of food, the carnivores were not long to follow.

      Did humans contribute? Probably. But they didn't add much to what was already going on. Animals like the mammoth were doomed regardless of what humans did because they could not adapt to the drastically changed environment of an ice age.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      Cloning is brilliant. We can eat all the whales and tigers we want then!

      January 17, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joy

    Doesn't this planet have enough mouths to feed without cloning animals, especially big ones?

    January 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      OK now close yours and let the scientists do their work.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      Are you serious?

      January 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Momma

      Oh, Joy – feel free to turn yourself into worm food, you eco warrior, you!

      What are you doing spending money on a computer anyway? And using your time posting? Pfffff!

      Go use your money and time to feed someone.

      Oh, wait – I'll bet you are just one of those dem bulbs that wants to "feel" like you have done something by "advocating".

      Hey Joy – Hope for Change into one hand and dump in the other. Lemme know which fills first (unless you are fasting, that is)

      January 17, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      OMG, Joy! Seriously? That's a real question? If we fed the mammoth the just on the vegetable waste from ONE McDonald's restaurant, there'd be food enough. It's a mammoth, for crissake, NOT a Continent!

      January 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frank S

    I have $50 I will kick in. Specifically, I would like a new type of burger to be named after me in recognition of my contribution, the "Wooly Frank Burger." Also, they would probably need to shaved like huge sheep to tolerate global warming, a new source of fur for textile manufacturers, it's a win-win, I tell you. Now, where was that Island off Costa Rica?

    January 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Wooly Frank Burger? Who would want a hairy burger? Besides my cat!

      January 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Phil from CC

    Do I hear the theme from Jurassic Park playing in the background?

    January 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob Sloggin

    They will need to invent a super large pooper scooper with a portion of our tax dollars.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob Sloggin

    Looking forward to mamoth milk!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      And Mammoth Cheese and Ice Cream, too! Can't wait to hear what Ben & Jerry would call it!

      January 18, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Arpad101

    What will clone us once we go extinct?

    January 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • justmeanddog

      Is it significant that you used the term "What" instead of "Who"????

      January 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arpad101

      I realize that and said "what" on purpose because for all we know it may be an android or machine.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      Yup! I'm betting on Google's Android to come clone me when I'm gone. I've dumped enough money into their apps that they owe me, BIG time! LOL

      January 18, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kai

    Mammoths became extinct for a reason. Why are we messing with that?

    January 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      We were the reason ... now let the scientists do their work.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      obamma care they had it, thats why they are gone

      January 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      obamma care they had it.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandor Johnson

      If you read anything on human prehistory and paleontology you'd know that we humans likely hunted them to extinction. That's the reason why. Don't you think we have a moral obligation to bring them back?

      January 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • bal

      They became extinct because humans were too underdeveloped at the time to realize they were decimating the mammoths. Same with the Quagga, the Dodo and the Thylacine.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JimB

    People like this are the ultimate charlatans. So you think you're smarter than nature do you.......? Very bad idea.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerome Haltom

      Nature isn't smart. It's blind chance and a bit of selection.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • jma58

      They must be smarter than most of the people commenting here.

      January 17, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. awesome

    ii think they should bring back a pterodactyl (yea i googled that)

    January 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HeatherD

    I haven't laughed this hard in a long time! Thanks to the religious "enthusiasts" for their posts & the people with a sense of humor in replying to their posts!

    January 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      Haha! I know right.
      "Dont mess with nature!"
      As if some sky daddy will get off his lazy ass because some scientists re-created a hairy elephant..

      January 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • HarshReality

      I think it should be named "Jesus" because it was resurected.

      January 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      I agree, Heather! This thread is funnier than a Flintstone's episode! Yabba Dabba Do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      January 18, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. koolkrowd

    Let's focus on saving Elephants, Polar Bears, Cheetahs, and other endangered (or almost endangered) species from extinction first!!!!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Acaraho

      We're the reason why they are endangered. We've destroyed their habitats.

      January 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
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