Professor Alice Roberts reveals the natural history of the most famous of ice age animals - the woolly mammoth. Mammoths have transfixed humans since the depths of the last ice age, when their herds roamed across what is now Europe and Asia. Although these curious members of the elephant family have now been extinct for thousands of years, scientists can now paint an incredibly detailed picture of their lives thanks to whole carcasses that have been beautifully preserved in the Siberian permafrost.
The Siberian discovery of the best-preserved woolly mammoth on record has teams of experts working around the globe, and around the clock, on some of the most ambitious projects in science. In Russia, paleontologists are conducting a historic autopsy on the 40,000-year-old beast to find out how it lived, and how it died. Meanwhile labs in South Korea and at Harvard University are using the latest advances in DNA manipulation in hopes of cloning the furry giant and introducing it to the modern world.
The 2013 discovery in Siberia of the best-preserved mammoth yet has quickened the pace of one of the most ambitious and controversial projects in science: the cloning of the woolly mammoth. This one is unlike any mammoth found before; when it was dug out of the permafrost, a dark red liquid oozed from the frozen body. Speculation is rife: could the liquid be mammoth blood? And does the freshness of the mammoth's flesh mean that a clone is now achievable? This documentary follows an international team of mammoth specialists and cloning scientists as they carry out a historic autopsy in Siberia, and follows those who strive to bring these iconic giants of the Ice Age back from extinction. As the animal is carefully dissected and its tusks are examined, the programme reveals the life story of this mammoth in forensic detail.
Serious and reputable scientists now believe that it is technically possibly to clone or "de-extinct" a whole range of animals, including the woolly mammoth - Jurassic Park style - within the next five to seven years. This involves major advances in the study of and the manipulation of ancient DNA, and in cloning. This program is “a beginner’s guide to de-extinction”; it’s about the science behind the mammoth de-extinction project - about the difficulties it faces, the enormous fragility of DNA, the challenges of discovering relatively undamaged mammoth DNA and about advances in cloning technology.
Professor Alice Roberts reveals the natural history of the most famous of Ice Age animals - the woolly mammoth. Mammoths have transfixed humans since the depths of the last Ice Age, when their herds roamed across what is now Europe and Asia.