Can you ever imagine seeing a real woolly mammoth?
Well, scientists are said to be just two years away from bringing the woolly mammoth back from extinction.
The giant prehistoric creatures could roam the Earth for the first time in 4,500 years after researchers successfully merged genes from the long dead woolly mammoths with that of elephants.
Harvard scientists claim they are now within two years of creating a hybrid embryo that will have all the characteristics of the shaggy beasts.
It would have genes for mammoth features such as long hair, thick layers of fat, and cold-resistant blood.
Facts about woolly mammoths:
- The woolly mammoth was roughly the same size as modern African elephants. Males reached shoulder heights between 2.7 and 3.4m and weighed up to 6 tonnes. Females reached 2.6–2.9m in shoulder heights and weighed up to 4 tonnes. A newborn calf weighed about 90 kilograms.
- The woolly mammoth was well adapted to the cold environment during the last ice age. It was covered in fur, with an outer covering of long guard hairs and a shorter undercoat. The colour of the coat varied from dark to light. The ears and tail were short to minimise frostbite and heat loss.
- It had long, curved tusks and four molars, which were replaced six times during the lifetime of an individual.
- Its behaviour was similar to that of modern elephants, and it used its tusks and trunk for manipulating objects, fighting, and foraging.
- The diet of the woolly mammoth was mainly grass.
- Woolly mammoths could probably reach the age of 60.
- Woolly mammoths used to co-exist with humans. Humans used their bones and tusks for making art, tools, and dwellings. They also hunted the mammoth for food.