Home Science Mysteries This Mammoth Carcass Is Over 40,000 Years Old, Can It Be Cloned?

This Mammoth Carcass Is Over 40,000 Years Old, Can It Be Cloned?

This 40,000-year-old woolly mammoth carcass is one of the best preserved specimens ever found.

This video walks you through the dissection process of this woolly mammoth carcass, a female affectionately known as “Buttercup.” Buttercup was found in the permafrost of the remote Siberian Maly Lyakhovsky island. When scientists first cut into the carcass, it oozed out dark blood. It was hoped this might lead to being able to extract intact DNA.

Screenshot 2014-12-21 18.53.08
Buttercup’s lower lip. (Screenshot/YouTube)

A complete strand of DNA material is required for cloning purposes.

But DNA breaks down over time, and they could only extract long DNA fragments.

Researchers at South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation will continue analyzing tissue samples over the next 2 years in an attempt to find an intact genome.

Even if this is not the case, they hope to be able to combine fragments of Buttercups DNA with a modern elephant’s DNA to produce a hybrid that would have features of both animals.

So far, the autopsy has revealed that buttercup was probably around 50 years old when she died. The researchers speculate she was trapped in a pest bog and then killed by predators.

Although Woolly mammoths are generally thought of as being quite massive, Buttercup was only about the size of a modern Asian elephant.

Do you think scientists should try to clone extinct animals? This raises many ethical questions and well as possible dangers.


John Andress
Having had many eclectic experiences and expressing interest in so many varied things in life has suited my role as Editor-in-Chief of Vision Times. Being trained in the sciences, I worked in the medical field. Scuba diving was a passion, being part owner of a scuba shop, and I enjoyed diving around the world. Raising reptiles of all sorts, including poisonous snakes, was also one of my hobbies when living in the U.S. After moving to Australia in the 80s, I became an avid organic grower of tropical fruits and vegetables, which my wife and I partake of year-round, as well as many of our friends. My newest endeavor has been to become a “bikie” — an eBikie, which I do every day not only to get exercise, but also to have a break from slaving over my computer most of the day. Obviously, China is also a passion, which is something VT specializes in, so I feel very fortunate to have a role here at Vision Times.

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