WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Russian scientists believe that they will be able to clone extinct species from the Ice Age in the next decade.
- An Ice Age theme park may be a possibility with the advances in cloning technology.
- Aside from the Russians, a team from Harvard University is also working on cloning woolly mammoths.
Cloning an extinct animal to make a tourist attraction?
Well, one of the first things that might come to mind would be Jurassic Park, a movie franchise where scientists cloned dinosaurs for tourists to pay to see them. Now, according to The Siberian Times, it seems that Russian scientists are hoping to clone woolly mammoths, cave lions, and some species of extinct horses within ten years.
Increasing global temperatures have melted parts of the northern Russian Arctic, revealing perfectly preserved specimens of the extinct animals. Scientists believe that the remains of these specimens are so well preserved, that they will be able to extract full, non-degraded samples of DNA.
In Jurassic Park, scientists cloned fearsome dinosaurs which were extinct for millions of years. On the other hand, the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk plans to clone species that have been extinct for about 10,000 years- species that used to walk beside modern humans.
Interim rector for the university, Evgenia Mikhailova, hopes that this will be possible in the next decade.
This will depend on how cloning technology advances. The regional government of Sakha promised to invest around $5.9 million to the development of, as termed by the university administrator, “a world-class paleo-genetic scientific center” in the region.
Although The Siberian Times article doesn’t specifically mention a theme park, Fox News said one of the officials involved in the project particularly spoke of an “Ice Age Theme Park” back in 2014.
South Korean and Japanese scientists are working in conjunction with the Russians. They’re not the only ones putting work into cloning woolly mammoths. A geneticist from Harvard University, Professor George Church, believes that by 2020, his team can get woolly mammoth genes into an Asian elephant embryo.