Scientists could be bringing back the woolly mammoth

Scientists say this project could help save the endangered Asian elephant.
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Scientists say they could resurrect an animal that disappeared from the earth thousands of years ago.

In an effort that sounds a lot like the plot of Jurassic Park, a team of biologists at Harvard is working to bring back the woolly mammoth.

It's something they've actually been working on since 2015. But researchers presented their progress earlier this week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s yearly meeting, saying they are now just a couple years from bringing the mammoth back to life.

According to The Guardian, the "de-extinction" team is using genetic engineering to create a hybrid embryo, which would combine mammoth traits with an Asian elephant.

So the goal is not to create a perfect copy of the extinct woolly mammoth, but to develop a new species of elephant that can survive in cold climates.

Also known as a "mammophant."

The History channel says it would be part elephant, but with mammoth traits like small ears, a thick layer of fat under the skin, shaggy hair, and blood that enables the animal to survive in freezing temperatures.

Scientists say these modifications could help save the endangered Asian elephant. However, other groups have ethical concerns about the project.

The woolly mammoth roamed across Europe, Asia, Africa and North America during the last Ice Age and went extinct 4,500 years ago, probably due to climate change and hunting by humans, National Geographic says. Their closest living relative is the Asian, not the African, elephant.

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