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Bringing an extinct species back to life was once firmly in the realm of science fiction, but as genetic engineering advances rapidly, the prospect of a woolly mammoth again breathing and walking on Earth seems almost within reach. This, naturally, has brought up some ethical dilemmas: Will science take this further and revive the entire woolly mammoth, not just portions of its genome? What is the motivation for doing any of this?

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Mammoths and elephants are two groups of long-trunked, big-tusked and typically enormous herbivores that both enjoy a long and storied relationship with human beings. Aside from the obvious fact that mammoths are extinct, a number of physical, ecological and geographic differences distinguish these behemoths. The last, relict population of woolly mammoths on Arctic Russia's Wrangel Island exited the earthly stage some 4, years ago, while elephants still lumber across Asia and Africa.

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Using powerful new techniques for analyzing DNA, researchers have sequenced not just the genes of modern elephants but of their extinct ancestors and relatives as well: mastodons, woolly mammoths and straight-tusked elephants. David Reich of the Broad Institute and Harvard helped lead the consortium that has just published its findings — the most sweeping analysis yet of elephants and their extinct relatives — in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But also that current elephants in Africa have been isolated for so long that they should be considered two separate species, which could affect conservation efforts.

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Beneath our feet, intermixed with soil and rock, lay the scattered bones of history. Clues captured in fossils tell us about the evolution and extinction of ancient life. So went the mighty Tyrannosaurus rexthe towering woolly mammoth, and the famed passenger pigeon. What if these creatures are only mostly extinct?

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They are not only exploring the furthest reaches of the Arctic Ocean, but traveling back in time, carrying out a primordial quest for the tusks of the massive beasts that roamed the forbidding landscape in droves before going extinct 10, years ago. Carbon dating revealed that Buttercup, as she was dubbedlived some 40, years ago. In the new documentary film Genesis 2.

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The woolly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius is an extinct species of mammoth that lived during the Pleistocene until its extinction in the early Holocene epoch. It was one of the last in a line of mammoth species, beginning with Mammuthus subplanifrons in the early Pliocene. The woolly mammoth diverged from the steppe mammoth aboutyears ago in East Asia.

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Could elephant-mammoth hybrids roam the tundra? Researchers analyze the genes of several elephant species, and find genes from their extinct ancestors could help save them. An international team of scientists on Monday published the most detailed look yet at the genetic makeup of several different species of elephants, including extinct giants like mammoths and mastodons.

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All rights reserved. Geneticists have sketched out the woolly mammoth's family tree using ancient DNA found preserved in Siberia. The extinct beasts are more closely related to Asian elephants than to African elephants, the researchers found, and the three species diverged within a surprisingly short period of time.

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In true "Jurassic Park" style, scientists at Harvard University have successfully managed to insert genes from the woolly mammoth into the genome of an elephant. While this may represent significant progress in the field, lead researcher George Church has reportedly played down claims that the work brings us closer to recreating these iconic animals. Alongside most other large mammal species residing in the Northern Hemisphere, they disappeared from most of their range across mainland Eurasia and North America about 10, years ago, but a small population of someindividuals survived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean for a further 6, years.

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Thousands of years ago, an elephant-like creature called the woolly mammoth roamed Earth. Except for fossilized bones and remains found trapped in ice, it's now gone. Scientists have long wondered whether the extinct mammoth is more closely related to today's African elephant or Asian elephant. Modern elephants and woolly mammoths share a common ancestor that lived about 6 million years ago.

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