Mammoth Blood Found: Could Woolly Mammoth Be Brought Back To Life? Geneticist Hendrik Poinar Says Yes In TED Talk [WATCH]

By Philip Ross on May 30, 2013 12:44 PM EDT

Ted talk
Mammoth blood found in Siberia earlier this week amplifies hopes of bringing the furry ice age giant back to life. Geneticist Hendrik Poinar, pictured, spoke at a TED Talk conference recently about this very real possibility. (Photo: TED.com/Screenshot)

Earlier this week, mammoth blood was found encapsulated in ice in the Siberian wilderness. The discovery is significant because it could pave the way for scientists to bring the ice age behemoth back to life.

IScience Times reported earlier that a Russian team unearthed a 10,000 to 15,000-year-old, fully-grown female mammoth and that, trapped in hollow pockets in the ice below the mammoth's belly, was mammoth blood, well-preserved and still viscous.

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Could this discovery open the door to mammoth cloning?

One scientist answers with a resounding yes. Hendrik Poinar, a geneticist and biological anthropologists whose focus is on extracting ancient DNA, said bringing the woolly mammoth back from the grave is unequivocally possible.

In March, Poinar spoke at a TED Talk conference in Washington, DC, about the prospect of woolly mammoth cloning. He said during the segment that with advances with DNA sequencing, scientists can take the DNA from the mammoth carcass and put it into the chromosomes of an Asian or African elephant, which shared ancestors with the mammoth millions of years ago.

"If you had asked me ten years ago whether or not we'd ever be able to actually sequence the genome of extinct animals, I would have told you, 'Eh, it's unlikely,'" he said. "But I'm actually standing here today to tell you that ... the revival of an extinct species is within reach."

Poinar calls the woolly mammoth a "quintessential image of the ice age." Large, hairy and with enormous tusks that can reach 13 feet in length, the woolly mammoth is a thing of mythical proportion, and bringing one back to life would certainly be a sci-fi movie moment come true.

Watch Poinar speak at a TED Talk below (video made available through Creative Commons Attribution -- original video here):

Read more from iScience Times:

Mammoth Blood Found In Siberia: Will Ice Age Species Be Cloned?

Living Mammoth Cells Found: Can The Extinct Mammal Be Cloned?

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