National Geographic Channel U.S. is to premiere Mammoth: Back From the Dead, which follows international scientists attempting to revive the extinct species, on April 12.
The one-hour special is set to follow the TedxDeExtinction forum hosted by the National Geographic Society in Washington DC today (March 20), which looks at scientific efforts to bring extinct species back to life, and the ensuing ethical and conservation issues.
The one-off will explore those same issues in Mammoth: Back from the Dead, as an expedition team tackles ice cliffs and unstable caves to harvest DNA in their attempts to clone a living mammoth. The scientists, working with the Russian government, have unprecedented access as they search for deep frozen tissue in mammoth graveyards. They also race against time, with only three weeks to find DNA, defrost samples, and find an elephant to act as donor and surrogate.
“I think cloning a mammoth is a crazy idea in a way that is ridiculously ambitious,” said Insung Hwang, project leader from South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation. “But we believe that in the future, cloning can really become an instrumental tool in saving endangered animals.”
“If Insung gets this to work, it’s one of the biggest scientific achievements in this century,” says Dr. Love Dalen, a mammoth expert. “We would have brought back an extinct species to life.”