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. BinMesa

    Sounds good. Wonder what a mammoth steak tastes like.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. cpc65

    Cool! Now we'll be able to eat mammoth burgers just like on the Flintstones! Mmmmmm! Mammoth burgers!!!! Next up, giant sloth jerky.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dave Mc

    I hope they clone it because I wonder what they tasted like? hmmm.....McMammoth burgers, hold the mayo please!

    January 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jimh77

    This is just a seriously bad idea to even consider. There is a reason they do not exist. We have enough invasive species in the world now. The last thing we need is to have dinosaurs running around. They should be cloning internal organs in O negative that can be inserted into any human blood type. Proble is, no one wants to fund this. They'd rather fund Jurassic Park experients. Dumb.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • DakotaSky

      someone or something has to host the organs, right?? think about it...

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

      I know! I know! Since Starlings and House Sparrows are "Invasive Species" that were let loose on America, we can use the "invasive" Wooly Mammoth herds to eat them! And then, we can bus them Down South and they can eat the invasive KUDZU!!! After that, we can ship them around the planet, off-setting the cloning costs! Bring them to England to "gobble up the Grey Squirrels!" Ship them to Oz, to "devour the bunnies!" Will that satisfy you, Jimh77?

      January 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John Patricio

    This is never going to work. Elephants are mammals and don't lay eggs.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve H

      Um, same with Mammoths...

      January 17, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave Mc

    If they do start to clone things let me get first dibs on a Dodo bird.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kate Thompson

    The Mammoth had it's time in history. Malcom from Jurrasic Park was right when he said "our scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should".

    Mammoths are herd animals. This baby mammoth is going to be all alone in a time in history where it doesn't belong. This is an incredible cruel thing to do to this baby mammoth. I am sick to my stomach reading this!

    January 17, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lynne

      Don't bother getting sick to your stomach. It will bond with its mother and then with other members of a herd of African elephants. It won't know the difference.

      January 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bee

      Oh, Boo F'ing Hoo! Geese imprint on humans and puppies on Cat mothers. If they don't use real elephants as surrogates, they'll get Jim Henson Studios and IL & M to build something!

      January 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. DakotaSky

    That will be awesome!! I have always wanted to see what a mamoth really looks like.. 🙂 I think it will be a learning experience for everyone!! 🙂

    January 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Common Sense

    Hmmm...what dies it eat?

    January 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carl

    This Woolly Mammoth cloning is going to end up exactly like Jurassic Park....

    The first one is going to come out pretty good, and then the rest are all going to be retarded.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave Mc

      Mother of God, not retarded Mammoths running around the Tundra !

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

      Retarded like you? Or, like the other wingnuts here?

      January 17, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Oodoodanoo

    it would be blasphemous to resurrect a creature destroyed by God's great flood...and by resurrecting it we would be making it the new Messiah...I am not ready to worship a wooly mammoth, let the heathen hindus do that

    besides i read that these things have ONE eye and they like to eat would be haloween all year round

    January 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve H


      January 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 4life4america

    Can we breed them for food? This could solve our food shortage problem. Are they tasty? Is their meet nutritious? I bet their fur could be used for a special commercial line of coats. Mink is out and wholly mammoth is in. The Tusks would sell like there is no tomorrow. What about kiddy rides? Count me in. Wholly Mammoth steaks next 4th July.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Miki12345

    Wouldn't the Carolina parakeet be a better candidate? They were killed of less than 200 years ago and it was completely caused by humans. We used their feathers in women's hats and even their whole taxidermied carcass.

    January 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bones

    Dammit Jim, this is some kind of abomination!

    January 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Richard

    Sounds nice.. mammoth hunting for the masses.. and no season..

    January 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
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