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.
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.