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Mammoth: Back From the Dead Facts

 Jim Coates emerging from the tunnel holding a mammoth bone in Yajutia, Russia.

Jim Coates emerging from the tunnel holding a mammoth bone in Yajutia, Russia. (View larger version)

Photograph by Flight 33/NGC

  • It is 20 years since the film Jurassic Park was released but now fiction is becoming fact as scientists in South Korea are attempting what many previously thought impossible - to clone a Woolly Mammoth.

  • Mammoths went completely extinct only 4,000 years ago.

  • A fully grown Woolly Mammoth could be 12 feet (3.7m) tall and their tusks could reach 10 feet (3m) in length.

  • It is thought that the Woolly Mammoth extinction was due to changes in climate and hunting by humans.

  • The Mammoth's closest living relative is the Asian Elephant. They are thought to have diverged as different species about 4 million years ago.

  • If the scientists do clone a mammoth it will take 22 months to develop in the womb of an Asian Elephant.

  • South Korean scientists are world renowned for their cloning abilities. They even clone people's pets!

  • The cloning project hopes to help conservationists in their quest to preserve life for the future.

  • The cloning project will cost millions of dollars.

  • Dolly the sheep was the first ever cloned animal from an adult cell.

  • Only one group of scientists has ever managed to clone an extinct animal before – the Pyrenean Ibex – and it died minutes after being born.

  • The scientists will have to collect mammoth samples from some of the most inhospitable places on the planet.

  • If the scientists manage to pull of this feat they will go down in history.