Scientists study 40,000-year-old DNA to clone mammoths

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Woolly mammoths died off around 3,700 years ago after the last Ice Age, possibly because of warmer weather, a change in food supply, and hunting.

In the classic movie Jurassic Park, a billionaire uses advanced technology to bring dinosaurs back to life. When the flick came out 20 years ago, it was an entertaining sci-fi film that received great reviews, but now the “imaginary” technology from the movie actually exists!

In fact, scientists are researching the 40,000-year-old remains of a long-extinct woolly mammoth – nicknamed Buttercup – to bring the beasts back to life! How can they pull off that kind of a miracle? By using DNA…

See, DNA is the set of blueprints inside our cells that tell our body how to grow, and it’s passed down from our parents. Cloning mammoths would be difficult, because the DNA is missing too many pieces of the biological jigsaw puzzle.

Basically, there’s not enough links in the chain to create a complete mammoth. However, researchers believe they can fill in the missing gaps with information from an Asian elephant, the mammoth’s closest living relative. If all goes as planned, they just might be able to pull this whole cloning thing off! For fans of Ice Age, this is definitely great news.