Scientists from McMaster University have successfully sequenced the nearly complete genome of two Siberian woolly mammoths revealing the most complete picture to date including new info about the mammoth’s evolutionary history and the conditions that may have lead to their mass extinction at the end of the last Ice Age. What this all means is that recreating the species is now one step closer to being possible.
Scientists have long believed that the mammoths became extinct due to human hunting and drastic climate change but the new data suggests multiple factors were at play leading to the species extinction and over a long period of time. In other words, the extinction of the mammoth was NOT sudden but gradual.
Researchers found that the genome displayed low genetic variation and a signature consistent with interbreeding among the small groups of some of the last survivors on Wrangel Island during the final 5000 years of the creatures existence.
Using the new data researchers have now determined that the mammoth population suffered decline and then recovered about 250K-300K years ago and that there was a severe decline in population in the last Ice Age marking the species extinction. What this means is also that while the ancient Egyptians were building the pyramids there were STILL MAMMOTHS ON EARTH!! Most of them were living on islands such as Wrangel Island.
Scientists now believe that they will have success in resurrecting the woolly mammoth within the next few decades. Of course there are no mammoths around today (so it is claimed) so modern elephants will be used, thus, creating a mammoth hybrid. I personally find this fascinating and would love to see this species resurrected!! I think the research is amazing. Oh yes, I can hear all the naysayers now screaming “Leave it alone..blah…blah…blah” but I’m pretty certain they won’t stop the RETURN OF THE WOOLLY MAMMOTH. I can hardly wait!!