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News report
Mammoth implications

A team of scientists are working to ressurect the woolly mammoth. If they succeed, there are plans to bring the animals to a park in Siberia

Bringing animals extinct for more than 10,000 years back to life sounds like something straight from the script of a Hollywood movie.

Box office hits like Jurassic Park show the excitement this idea – straight out of science fiction – can have among the general public. Now a combined effort from Russian, Japanese and Korean scientists could turn this idea into a reality.

A myriaannum in the making
The woolly mammoth, whose closest living relative is the Asian elephant, became extinct around 4,000 years ago due to a number of suspected causes, including increased temperatures, overhunting, habitat shrinkage and a reduction in the supply of fresh water.

We have evidence that mammoths existed in Siberia up to 9,650 years ago, during the Holocene epoch.

Now plans have been tabled to create a one-of-a-kind nature reserve, which will open in Siberia within the next decade. What makes it unique is that if scientists can crack their genetic code, resurrected mammoths will become the centrepiece of the mother nature-defying attraction.

“In 2014 I proposed a project to create an ice age park with mammoths,” said Aisen Nikolaev, the acting head of Russia’s Sakha Republic, while speaking at the recent Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). “Everyone laughed then, but they’re not laughing now. The prospect is no longer fantastical.”

Nikolaev revealed that a joint research project is currently underway, with the long-term goal of bringing back the woolly mammoth within the next decade.

To successfully clone a mammoth, scientists will have to work their way around a roadblock formed by existing mammoth DNA.

Because samples, taken from frozen mammoths, are at least 10,000 years old, the DNA has deteriorated significantly, meaning the cloning process is extremely difficult.

Cloning experiments with extinct horse breeds and cave lions are underway, with the aim of producing mammoth embryos that would be fertilised using elephant tissue.

Ice age attractions
If successful, the creatures would be introduced to Pleistocene Park, a reserve where Russian scientists Sergey Zimov and Nikita Zimov are currently working to recreate the northern sub-arctic steppe grassland ecosystem that flourished in the area during the last glacial period.

The primary aim of the park would be to recreate the arctic tundra – known as the mammoth steppe.

Scientists working on the park believe that animals, rather than climate, maintained that ecosystem and that it could be restored.

Reintroducing large herbivores to Siberia would adjust the balance of the food chain by introducing a new species, say the scientists, who are promoting the reestablishment of the ancient grassland ecosystems.

“This is the project of the future,” said Nikolaev. “I believe that in our lifetime, we’ll be able to clone mammoths. All the prerequisites are here for this.

“Today, technology is developing at an explosive pace, and what seemed to be scientific nonsense yesterday, is now an absolutely clear prospect for scientists in the near future.

“I believe that miracles are possible,” he added.

Woolly mammoths in culture

During the 21st century, global warming made access to Siberian mammoths easier, The permafrost has thawed faster, exposing its hidden secrets.

Long since its extinction, the wooly mammoth has remained significant in popular culture, starring in films such as Ice Age and also proving to be big business for museums.

A 42,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth, discovered in 2007 and named Lyuba, is one of the most intact specimens of the species.

Last year, the Australia Museum debuted Mammoths – Giants of the Ice Age, which was Lyuba’s first visit.

Backed by the Government of New South Wales, the exhibition gave people across Australia a rare opportunity to explore the age of mammoths. During its run, the exhibition generated more than AUS$3.7m (US$2.6m) and over 9,000 overnight stays, with hundreds of thousands of people attending the landmark exhibition.

 



Lyuba the mammoth generated more than AUS$3.7m for New South Wales
Using DNA found in frozen woolly mammoths, scientists think they can clone the now extinct mammals
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News report
Mammoth implications

A team of scientists are working to ressurect the woolly mammoth. If they succeed, there are plans to bring the animals to a park in Siberia

Bringing animals extinct for more than 10,000 years back to life sounds like something straight from the script of a Hollywood movie.

Box office hits like Jurassic Park show the excitement this idea – straight out of science fiction – can have among the general public. Now a combined effort from Russian, Japanese and Korean scientists could turn this idea into a reality.

A myriaannum in the making
The woolly mammoth, whose closest living relative is the Asian elephant, became extinct around 4,000 years ago due to a number of suspected causes, including increased temperatures, overhunting, habitat shrinkage and a reduction in the supply of fresh water.

We have evidence that mammoths existed in Siberia up to 9,650 years ago, during the Holocene epoch.

Now plans have been tabled to create a one-of-a-kind nature reserve, which will open in Siberia within the next decade. What makes it unique is that if scientists can crack their genetic code, resurrected mammoths will become the centrepiece of the mother nature-defying attraction.

“In 2014 I proposed a project to create an ice age park with mammoths,” said Aisen Nikolaev, the acting head of Russia’s Sakha Republic, while speaking at the recent Eastern Economic Forum (EEF). “Everyone laughed then, but they’re not laughing now. The prospect is no longer fantastical.”

Nikolaev revealed that a joint research project is currently underway, with the long-term goal of bringing back the woolly mammoth within the next decade.

To successfully clone a mammoth, scientists will have to work their way around a roadblock formed by existing mammoth DNA.

Because samples, taken from frozen mammoths, are at least 10,000 years old, the DNA has deteriorated significantly, meaning the cloning process is extremely difficult.

Cloning experiments with extinct horse breeds and cave lions are underway, with the aim of producing mammoth embryos that would be fertilised using elephant tissue.

Ice age attractions
If successful, the creatures would be introduced to Pleistocene Park, a reserve where Russian scientists Sergey Zimov and Nikita Zimov are currently working to recreate the northern sub-arctic steppe grassland ecosystem that flourished in the area during the last glacial period.

The primary aim of the park would be to recreate the arctic tundra – known as the mammoth steppe.

Scientists working on the park believe that animals, rather than climate, maintained that ecosystem and that it could be restored.

Reintroducing large herbivores to Siberia would adjust the balance of the food chain by introducing a new species, say the scientists, who are promoting the reestablishment of the ancient grassland ecosystems.

“This is the project of the future,” said Nikolaev. “I believe that in our lifetime, we’ll be able to clone mammoths. All the prerequisites are here for this.

“Today, technology is developing at an explosive pace, and what seemed to be scientific nonsense yesterday, is now an absolutely clear prospect for scientists in the near future.

“I believe that miracles are possible,” he added.

Woolly mammoths in culture

During the 21st century, global warming made access to Siberian mammoths easier, The permafrost has thawed faster, exposing its hidden secrets.

Long since its extinction, the wooly mammoth has remained significant in popular culture, starring in films such as Ice Age and also proving to be big business for museums.

A 42,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth, discovered in 2007 and named Lyuba, is one of the most intact specimens of the species.

Last year, the Australia Museum debuted Mammoths – Giants of the Ice Age, which was Lyuba’s first visit.

Backed by the Government of New South Wales, the exhibition gave people across Australia a rare opportunity to explore the age of mammoths. During its run, the exhibition generated more than AUS$3.7m (US$2.6m) and over 9,000 overnight stays, with hundreds of thousands of people attending the landmark exhibition.

 



Lyuba the mammoth generated more than AUS$3.7m for New South Wales
Using DNA found in frozen woolly mammoths, scientists think they can clone the now extinct mammals
 


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ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
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