This is cool

With their enormous shaggy torsos and long curved tusks, the imposing creatures last walked on earth during the Ice Age.

Fast forward thousands of years and the woolly mammoth may once again make an appearance on this planet – after Japanese scientists claim to have taken a “significant step” towards bringing the long-extinct animals back to life.

Researchers extracted bone marrow and muscle tissue from the remains of a mammoth named Yuka, who has lain frozen in Siberian permafrost for more than 28,000 years.

No idea whether the sciencey bit here is accurate. But it would be cool, wouldn’t it?

And wouldn’t it be even better if they were able to do it with the pygmy types of elephant, rhino and so on? Sadly, they won’t, as they tended to be on islands that were rather warmer, like Malta etc. But, still, would be fun.

A slightly different questions. Mammoths are more closely related to Asian elephants than African elephants are to Asian. And something I don’t know, can Asian and African cross breed? So, are we really talking about different species?

17 thoughts on “This is cool”

  1. It’d certainly be impressive, have one of those on the end of a lead. Could take over from the Staffy on council estates.

  2. Dongguan John: they know what the mammoth’s name was.

    perhaps dog tags aren’t just for dogs.

  3. Wild Auroch’s and Direwolves haunting the Pennine Way? That’d give the Ramblers something to think about.

  4. If they can do this with something that has been dead so long how come we hear so much whining about species that are endangered. That means some are still alive and are they not easier to work with while alive, larger breeding stock etc.. Then move on to creatures that died not so long ago and so on. What are they going to do even if they get one mammoth out of that. Continue to clone it?

  5. While they’re at it, I think also bringing back a saber toothed tiger would be kind of cool. And an Irish elk.

  6. The biological definition of a species is that it can breed within itself and produce fertile offspring. Thus horses and donkeys are different species because mules are infertile.

    African elephants (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are not even the same genus, let alone species.

  7. The “produces fertile offspring” definition of species is more of a rule of thumb than a rigorous definition. Nature isn’t fond of hard boundaries between categories, that’s a human thing. See ring species for example.

  8. The stronger rule of thumb is that if they *can’t* interbreed they *aren’t* the same species. If they *can* interbreed, it’s all sorts of stuff from “same species” to “different species that can interbreed”.

    And I was sure that “African elephant” is wrong, that there’s actually two species of African elephant. (searches) Ah, forest elephant and bush elephant, previously thought to be the same species ‘cos they live in different areas and nobody had put them side by side and compared them. “big, grey, tusks = elephant”.

    Tho’ “forest elephant” conjours images of elephants that live in trees. 🙂

  9. Mammals depend on certain microorganisms. I don’t know if what the mammoth needs still exist. In fact, could be what killed him off in the first place.

    Chances of what’s needed for mammoths existing is vastly greater than for dinosaurs. In my mind, there is no way a cloned dinosaur could survive.

  10. @ jgh
    Three – the North African elephant used by Hannibal was a separate sub-species and smaller than the Indian Elephant and is now extinct, but the pygmy elephant (alleged to be a sub-species of forest elephant) is sufficiently different to be a third.

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