Photo c/o Thomas Quine via Wikimedia Commons
The idea of bringing extinct creatures back to life has been discussed for decades, with the woolly mammoth being one of the most popular candidates for de-extinction. Scientists have been exploring various methods to achieve this goal, including cloning and genetic engineering.
One of the most recent efforts to bring the woolly mammoth back to life is being undertaken by Colossal Biosciences, a company based in Dallas, Texas which raised $15 million in 2021 to support the woolly mammoth’s revival through genome editing.
Colossal’s scientists are working on creating an elephant-mammoth hybrid by making embryos which carry mammoth DNA. They plan to have the embryos carried to term either by a surrogate mother or possibly in an artificial womb.
“Colossal’s landmark de-extinction project will be the resurrection of the Woolly Mammoth – or more specifically a cold-resistant elephant with all of the core biological traits of the Woolly Mammoth,” the company states. “It will walk like a Woolly Mammoth, look like one, sound like one, but most importantly it will be able to inhabit the same ecosystem previously abandoned by the Mammoth’s extinction.”
If everything proceeds as intended, they aim to have their first group of calves by 2028.
The goal of this project is not just to bring the woolly mammoth back to life, but also to help restore ecosystems and to help conserve the African and Asian elephant populations (which are both classified as endangered).
While there are still many challenges and hurdles to overcome, the efforts to bring the woolly mammoth back into existence are ongoing and show promising progress. With advances in technology and continued research, it may one day be possible to see these magnificent creatures roaming the Earth once again.