Speed Reads


Scientists are trying to bring back the woolly mammoth

Scientists found a 40,000-year-old woolly mammoth, nicknamed "Buttercup," in Siberia last year, and they're on their way to cloning its DNA.

The female Buttercup lived for roughly 50 years and was eight feet tall. The scientists believe it was eaten by predators.

The scientists took blood from the mammoth's carcass, and SOOAM, a South Korean biotech company, is testing the blood for DNA. If the blood doesn't have a complete DNA set to clone the mammoth, the scientists may be able to use an existing elephant genome and add mammoth traits, such as tusks and hair.

If the scientists are able to clone the woolly mammoth, they could bring the animal back from extinction. But as Quartz notes, the cloning process does have "ethical baggage" — a female elephant would have to serve as the mammoth's surrogate, and the process could kill multiple elephants until the experiment is successful.