Ever thought about what it would be like having mammoths and saber-tooth tigers walking amongst the earth again? Well, for mammoths, it is a possibility. Yes, it sounds crazy yet fascinating. In 2013 an incredibly well preserved mammoth carcass was found frozen in the permafrost of Siberia’s Maly Lyakhovsky Island. Scientists estimate that the creature is about 43,000 years old, and was 50-60 years old when it died in distress after getting stuck in the ice. Since they have found it, they have been extracting muscle tissue and blood samples, amazed at what they are witnessing.
Woolly mammoths became extinct over 4,000 years ago but scientists have been able to learn a lot from discoveries like this. And they have found haemolysed blood containing erythrocytes (types of red blood cells), along with migrating cells in the lymphoid tissue (a tissue that produces antibodies), which are keys that could possibly, one day, lead to the cloning of the creature. As the Russian Association of Medical Anthropologists member Radik Khayrullin told the Siberian Times, “The data we are about to receive will give us a high chance of cloning the mammoth.”
If they create this clone then the resulting animal will not be identical to what once walked the earth. First of all, they will be using a female elephant as a surrogate mother. It is very probable that the mammoth would die minutes after birth due to the earth’s atmosphere compared to what it was like in the Ice Age.
Some scientists have theories of how the mammoth race became extinct, some include that as their existence overlapped with the early age of humans, that it was because of the hunting for hides, tusks and meat for clothing, tools and food. Other theories suggest climate change and meteor strikes.
But should people be able to play God? Is it our decision whether mammoths should be walking earth again? Why are we focusing on bringing the extinct back to life when we are currently on the verge of extinction with our own living animals?