Woolly Mammoth Coming Back to Life by 2027: De-Extinction Details
Colossal recently added $60 million in funding to move toward a 2027 extinction of the woolly mammoth. The Dallas-based company is now working to edit the genes for the reincarnation of the mammal. Colossal had planned to re-import the woolly mammoth into Russia, but that may move.
The long-dead woolly mammoth will make its return from extinction by 2027, says Colossal, the biotech company actively working to reincarnate the ancient animal.
Last year, the Dallas-based firm recorded an additional $60 million in funding to continue the, well, giant gene-editing work it began in 2021. If successful, Colossal won’t just bring back an extinct species — one the company calls a cold. —resilient elephant — but it will also reintroduce the woolly mammoth to the same ecosystem it once lived in, again in an effort to fight climate change, according to a recent Medium post.
Colossal calls the woolly mammoth’s large migration patterns an active part of preserving the health of the Arctic, and bringing the animal back to life could therefore have a beneficial impact on the health of the world’s ecosystem. While Colossal originally hoped to reintroduce the woolly mammoth to Siberia, the company may explore other options based on the current political framework of the world.
The woolly mammoth’s DNA is 99.6 percent identical to the Asian elephant, leading Colossal to believe it is well on its way to achieving its goal. “In the minds of many, this creature is gone forever,” the company says. “But not in the minds of our scientists, nor the laboratories of our company. We are already in the process of exterminating the Woolly Mammoth. Our teams have collected viable DNA samples and are editing the genes that will allow these amazing megafauna to thunder through the Arctic once more.”
Through no editing, Colossal scientists will eventually create an embryo of a woolly mammoth. They will place the embryo into an African elephant to take advantage of its size and have it give birth to the new woolly mammoth. The ultimate goal is to then repopulate parts of the Arctic with the new woolly mammoth and augment local plant life with the migration patterns and dietary habits of the animal.
If Colossal turns out to be successful in reincarnating the woolly mammoth—ditto the thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger—expect a host of new ethical questions to arise about how to handle the creature and potential reintroduction issues.
Tim Newcomb is a journalist based in the Pacific Northwest. He covers stadiums, sneakers, gear, infrastructure and more for a variety of publications, including Popular Mechanics. His favorite interviews included sit-downs with Roger Federer in Switzerland, Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles and Tinker Hatfield in Portland.