Mammoths are amongst the most iconic of beasts. The huge mammals roamed the Earth for millions of years, before finally slipping into the oblivion of extinction just a few thousand years ago. Now, however, scientists believe we may have the tools to bring them back from the dead. Almost perfectly preserved specimens retrieved from the icy Siberian tundra have revealed their secrets. Their entire genetic code has been cracked. It might just possible for a mammoth embryo to be brought to term in an Asian elephant surrogate mother, or perhaps even in an artificial womb. With mammoths perhaps on the brink of an unprecedented comeback, here are 8 things you probably don’t know about the prehistoric animals.
The first mammoth remains were dug up in 1728, more than a hundred years before the discovery of dinosaurs. Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution didn’t yet exist, and people’s understanding of the world still tended to be based largely on religious texts. As such, it was widely believed that all animals had existed in their current form unchanged since the time of the Garden of Eden. God didn’t make mistakes, so it seemed implausible that he’d allow one of his creations to disappear from the face of the Earth.