Wildlife park to add mammoth attraction
(CNN) -- In an eerie recreation of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster movie "Jurassic Park", scientists are planning to clone an extinct animal to be the central attraction of a wildlife park.
The Times of London reports that Japanese scientists are planning to use tissue from the legs and testicles of a dead mammoth to clone the extinct creature and display it at an Ice Age wildlife park in Siberia.
Mammoths became extinct about 10,000 years ago, but using a technique that involves impregnating an Indian elephant -- its closest genetic relative -- with mammoth sperm and then repeating the procedure with its offspring could produce a creature that is 88 percent mammoth in 50 years, the report said.
An alternative technique would involve cloning the mammoth from DNA found in the soft tissue, but although methods of extraction have improved, complete strands of DNA from mammoths are still hard to come by.
This specimen, believed to have been buried in an avalanche 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, was found in 1994, but it wasn't until this month when an expedition was sent to the site following Japanese interest from universities in Kinki and Tifu.
Ten million buried in permafrost
Those behind the planned park are already populating the site in north-east Siberia with other species from the Ice Age in hopeful anticipation of the mammoth's arrival.
There are currently hundreds of wild horses and musk ox grazing the land by the River Kolyma, and talks to import bison from Canada are already underway.
Mammoths, large herbivorous mammals that resemble modern elephants, first appeared on Earth four million years ago.
Scientists are unsure whether global climate change or hunting by early humans -- or a combination of both -- drove the mammoth to extinction.
There are believed to be ten million mammoths buried in the permafrost in Siberia, but because of the sparse population in the region only around one hundred specimens have been recovered.
However, despite the fact that most mammoths recovered from Siberia are seen as some of the finest museum examples in the world, poor excavation and preservation methods have ruined the chances for any reproduction of the animals by destroying tissue samples.
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