In a remarkable experiment, scientists finally did it. Once thought impossible, the cells of a woolly mammoth that died 28,000 years ago began showing “signs of life.” What does this mean for the scientific community? Let’s discuss it.
The woolly mammoth is a type of elephant that lived on Earth until about 10,000-30,000 years ago.
In 2011, archaeologists found the remains of an infant woolly mammoth under the Siberian permafrost. This substantially intact specimen was a revolutionary find, especially after the specie went extinct over 4,000 years ago. This find was huge. This woolly mammoth died over 28,000 years ago, but it still looked complete, and its “mummification” was phenomenal.
Scientists immediately set out to find out whether or not the unearthed baby mammoth’s biological elements were still viable after 28,000 years. A team from Japan’s Kindai University’s research shows that the mammoth’s DNA was still intact. This was great news. This meant that there was a chance that they could resurrect this prehistoric creature.
The image below is how they suspect the mammoth would look if they successfully resurrect it.
The Japanese team harvested nuclei from the mammoth’s cells and transplanted them into mouse oocytes. The cells in this specimen have ovaries capable of generating an egg cell that could host the mammoth and spark genetic division.
The experiment succeeded, and the 28,000-year-old specimen displayed “evidence of biological processes.”
Overall, the experiment suggests a distinct possibility of reviving the creature. And if archaeologists find other specimens as intact as the infant woolly mammoth, it’s plausible that we could bring them back to life as well.
Biologists and whole teams of scientists have finally been able to resurrect the cells of a woolly mammoth. The team was able to extract the nuclei of frozen mammoth cells from a small sliver of frozen mammoth skin in the Siberian tundra and revive them with an electric shock. This proof of concept has led to Church’s team creating a replica from cells harvested from another female mammoth that’s been dead for up to 28,000 years.
After the fossilized cells were found, the scientist decided to put the cells in an egg and implanted it into a female Asian elephant. The scientists created a hybrid species of mammoths and elephants.
The team used a gene editing tool called CRISPR to transfer the genes from an Asian elephant into an empty elephant egg. They then gave the embryo a chemical bath, which helped it grow into a live mammoth clone.
This is not Church’s first attempt at bringing extinct species back to life. His previous work includes trying to resurrect two other animals which are now extinct: Neandertals and mammoths.
This discussion also questions whether it is ethical for man to play God and bring creatures that once roamed this Earth back from extinction, or if this is just another step in human greed that will end up hurting more than helping.
Now, the question is, “Do we need to bring long-extinct species back to life?” Is it safe to do so? What do you think?
Regardless, the technology will progress. More researchers and scientists will try to revive different long-extinct life forms to life. And when they succeed, imagine just how awe-inspiring seeing this mighty creature walk the Earth again.
There is no plan to bring back live woolly mammoths because there is not enough space for them in this world. However, the curiosity of scientists can create big news in the future. We hope that the researchers will avoid taking any steps that are painful for humanity and can lead to destruction.