A Japanese scientist says he can clone a real, actual woolly mammoth sometime within the next "four or five years." Did they not ever release Jurassic Park in Japan, or what?
Because, uh, seriously, we all know how this ends: The mammoths use their special frog DNA to become hermaphroditic, and then they breed, and then they murder us all, with their tusks. But apparently, no one told Dr. Akira Iritani of Kyoto University about this! Because he's feeling pretty good about this whole thing:
"The success rate in the cloning of cattle was poor until recently but now stands at about 30 per cent," he said. "I think we have a reasonable chance of success and a healthy mammoth could be born in four or five years."
Why's he so optimistic? The last attempts at cloning mammoths were unsuccessful because the existing mammoth cells were too messed up by the millions of years of freezing cold. But a new technique that's been used to clone a mouse from frozen tissue could theoretically provide a way to clone a mammoth—using an African elephant as a surrogate mother.
Iritani is traveling to Siberia this summer to try and find his very own mammoth to work with, and says we're looking at a two-year wait before an elephant can be impregnated, and then two years of a typical elephant pregnancy. Which means you can mark 2015 in your calendar as "The Year Mammoths Killed All Of Us."