So a Japanese Scientist Wants to Resurrect the Woolly Mammoth

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Photo: 20th Century Fox

A two-year-old technique of retrieving nuclei from long-frozen cells may result in the resurrection of a species that has been extinct for thousands of years. Using advances made by a Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama, one Japanese scientist at Kyoto University is lobbying to try to use ancient biological material to clone a woolly mammoth. This is actually a resurrection of a campaign the professor Akira Iritani launched in the nineties, when the technology wasn't there to get the job done. "Now the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth," he told the Daily Telegraph. Using the egg cells of a surrogate African elephant, the nuclei could someday grow up to be an actual living mammoth. Iritani imagines he could impregnate such an elephant in two years, with a baby born two years later (elephants have long pregnancies).

Um, first of all, why are we starting with species that naturally went extinct and not with ones that we as humans killed off? And second, did no one learn anything from the penetrating ecological period piece Ice Age 2: The Meltdown? When there's only one woolly mammoth in the world, it gets lonely.

Mammoth 'could be reborn in four years' [Telegraph UK]