Wooly Mammoth Makes A Comeback?

First Posted: Feb 17, 2017 03:11 AM EST

Mammoths have been extinct for at least 4,000 years. But it seems that scientists are making the effort to bring them back from the dead.

While it may not be a vampire story from the Ice Age, it seems that humans are only a couple of years away from their "de-extinction." According to The Guardian, scientists leading the study of recreating a new mammoth said that a Harvard team is only two years away from creating a hybrid embryo.

Professor George Church shared that their aim is to produce a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo. He went on, "Actually, it would be more like an elephant with a number of mammoth traits. We're not there yet, but it could happen in a couple of years."

This so-called "mammophant" would have a few key mammoth traits, such as a thick layer of fat, long shaggy hair and blood that could adapt to cold weather. But that is about where the similarities end.

"A couple of years" may actually be too much of a stretch. Contrary to these reports, it seems that scientists are actually a long way away from figuring out how to revive the elephant ancestors. As Yahoo reported, "revivalist" scientists may be dedicated to bringing them back for environmental and biological reasons. However, a few have made early progress enough to leave the lab.

Another team also managed to produce a kind of instruction manual in reconstructing mammoths, thanks to recovered carcasses found in permafrost in Yukon and Siberia. From here, they sequenced the entire genome of the species.

Hendrik Poinar, lead researcher from the Ancient DNA Center at MCMaster University in Canada, told CBS News in 2015, "This then gives us this road map, so to speak, of what we would need to change in an Asian elephant chromosome to make them mammoth-like."

This said, it seems that scientists are still a long way off their goal to recreate mammoths. Nonetheless, everyone is giving them time to figure out the answers on how they can bring the mammoths back to life.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

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