The claim has been made by Professor George Church, who leads the efforts to bring back the long lost animal to life, and is very confident that within 2 years we could see results.
Leading his team at Harvard University, they have been hard at work attempting to create a ‘mammophant’ – a cross breed of the woolly mammoth and elephant which would share traits from both species.
The team plans on achieving their goal by splicing genes together.
“We’re working on ways to evaluate the impact of all these edits and basically trying to establish embryogenesis in the lab,” said Professor Church.
The plans include growing the hybrid inside an artificial womb rather than a live mother, to avoid potentially harming any elephants, currently endangered themselves.
While it does sounds extremely exciting to get a live glimpse of one of these majestic ancient animals, not everyone is on board with the idea.
“The proposed ‘de-extinction’ of mammoths raises a massive ethical issue – the mammoth was not simply a set of genes, it was a social animal, as is the modern Asian elephant,” said Matthew Cobb, professor of zoology at the University of Manchester.
“What will happen when the elephant-mammoth hybrid is born?”
“How will it be greeted by elephants?”
We may know the answer in as little as 2 years.