Loved the Jurassic Park films? In a couple of years, you might just get to experiencing something very close in reality, with just one minor difference: instead of dinosaurs, there will be woolly mammoths.

After approximately 4,000 years of being extinct, the great woolly mammoth from the Ice Age is all set to make a comeback to Earth in the 21st Century, The Guardian reported.

The skeleton of a Woolly Mammoth on display | Source: Reuters (File Photo)

De-extinction

A team of Harvard Scientists have been trying for over two years to use 'DNA-editing' techniques to create a hybrid between the ancient woolly mammoth, frozen specimens of which have been found fully preserved in Siberian ice, with modern day elephants.

The aim is to create a hybrid embryo by mixing DNA of the mammoth into that of the elephant. The team of scientists recently announced that they are on the brink of success and that the embryo could be ready in just two more years.

The embryo would then be placed in an artificial womb or inside a real elephant, though the latter option has been under criticism due to concerns of cruelty to the elephant, The Independent reported.

'Editing' DNA

Elephants are genetic descendants of the mammoth | Source: Reuters (File Photo)

The elephant genome has undergone 45 'edits' (when a part of mammoth DNA is spliced into the elephant genome). According to scientists, if they are successful in their efforts, the resurrected animal would be a hybrid of elephant and woolly mammoth.

The method can be used to bring back any number of extinct species and may act as a boon for wildlife conservation since all that is required for the resurrection is the DNA code of the extinct creatures.

The Woolly Mammoth

The woolly mammoth is an ancient relative of modern day elephants, which is why the latter were chosen for the resurrection experiments.

Though it was about the size of African elephants found today, the woolly mammoth had smaller ears and long, coarse hair.

A 39,000-years old female woolly mammoth, the best preserved specimen of the extinct mammal in the world | Source: Reuters (File Photo)

Like elephants, it was herbivorous and roamed the Earth during the second Ice Age. Their extinction is often attributed to a climatic shift toward warmer temperatures, coupled with increased persecution from humans for food.

Resurrecting the mammoth would be a huge step for humanity in the field of genetics.

Feature Image Source: Reuters (File Photo)