Is Cloning A Mammoth Worthwhile?

A researcher working near a carcass of a female mammoth found on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. (AFP / NORTHEASTERN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY)

A researcher working near a carcass of a female mammoth found on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. (AFP / NORTHEASTERN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY)

We cannot expect a cloned mammoth (even one that isn’t a hybrid with an elephant, but is 100% mammoth DNA) to be exactly like a genuine wild mammoth from prehistoric times. That animal is extinct and gone forever, along with its Ice Age environment. But that doesn’t mean the experiment is not worthwhile. We could still gain useful knowledge of mammoth physiology, as well as some instinctive behaviour.

If they created a whole herd and placed them in a similar environment –which has been suggested as a possibility– we could get certain clues as to their original behaviour during the Pleistocene.

A researcher holding a test tube with what the scientists called a sample of well-preserved blood they found in a carcass of a female mammoth discovered on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. (AFP / NORTHEASTERN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY)

A researcher holding a test tube with what the scientists called a sample of well-preserved blood they found in a carcass of a female mammoth discovered on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. (AFP / NORTHEASTERN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY)

Obviously, it can’t be exactly the way a mammoth would have lived. There would have been certain learned behaviour within the herd and in response to the Ice Age ecology that we will probably never know.

It won’t be a wild mammoth, so we won’t get an understanding of how a prehistoric mammoth would have behaved. However, just like an elephant born in captivity is still an elephant, this would still be technically a mammoth.

Woolly mammoth DNA may lead to a resurrection of the ancient beast
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jul/31/woolly-mammoth-dna-cloning

Return of the mammoth? Dolly scientist says beast should be cloned
http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/07/31/scientist-who-cloned-dolly-on-how-to-clone-wooly-mammoth/