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Josh Gates explores the controversial idea of bringing a woolly mammoth back to life on Expedition Unknown

Woolly Mammoth
Woolly Mammoth remains on display in Siegsdorf. Credit: Lou Gruber

This week Expedition Unknown looks into the possibility of bringing the woolly mammoth back to life.

The iconic beast must have cut an imposing figure as it roamed the tundra of an much colder Northern Europe. A land where huge glaciers covered much of the land and being big was a distinct advantage when it came to surviving in the bitterly cold winters.

However, as the climate warmed and humans spread across the planet the mammoths found themselves increasingly pushed north. Evidence appears to show they saw large declines in their population at key points when the climate warmed and were eventually hunted to extinction.

Mammoth and Mastodon
Mammoth and Mastodon comparison, with the North American giant on the right. Credit: Dantheman9758 CC License

Josh’s search takes him to the wilds of Siberia where he encounters a sinkhole in the permafrost that could have the remains needed. He also ventures to a remote camp where men are mining for tusks and the wealth to be had from selling mammoth ivory.

However, even the most enthusiastic supporters of the concept think that it could at best result in a sort of elephant-mammoth cross. Would that be of benefit to anyone? Should science be trying to bring back extinct species? Let us know what you think!

Expedition Unknown airs on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM on Travel Channel.

James has worked for Monsters and Critics since it started back in 2003. He oversees the business and technical side of things. You can contact or follow him on Twitter.

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