Resurrected woolly mammoth gene reveals how they thrived in the cold
Researchers have completed a comprehensive analysis of the woolly mammoth's genome and have pinpointed many specific ways in which it differs from that of their elephant relatives.
Those include physical characteristics like skull shape and ear size and internal workings such as insulin and fat production processes.
Many of the variations explain how mammoths were able to keep themselves warm, while elephants often possess mechanisms for staying cool.
Vincent Lynch, one of the study authors, explained in a video related to the news release, "What we did was resurrect one of the woolly mammoth warm temperature sensors...we found out that the woolly mammoth protein actually was much less active than the other Asian elephants' proteins – which suggests that they were less responsive to cold temperatures – which kind of makes sense given that they lived somewhere that was really cold."
Though their research continues, the information they've gathered is enough to show promise that a comprehensive blueprint of the extinct animal can be created.
Commenting on whether the woolly mammoth should be brought back to life, Lynch says, "I personally think no. Mammoths are extinct and the environment in which they lived has changed. There are many animals on the edge of extinction that we should be helping instead."
See the slideshow below for photos of some of the world's most endangered animals:
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