Mummified mammoth: Can we clone this critter?

Mummified mammoth: A small mummified baby mammoth is the star of a new exhibit in London. One of the most common questions at the exhibition: Can scientists clone a mammoth? And would it be ethical?

'The star of a new mammoth exhibition at London's Natural History Museum is 42,000 years old.

She goes by the moniker, Lyuba, which means "love" in Russian. This diminutive mummified baby mammoth was found frozen in the Yuribei River in the Yamal Penninsula, Siberia.

"The Mammoths: Ice Age Giants exhibition" opens from now until Sept. 7

Professor Adrian Lister, the museum's mammoths expert, said according to a Press Association report."One question everyone asks is can you clone a mammoth?"

It's not exactly science fiction. In March, scientists announced the results of their dissection of a remarkably well preserved mammoth discovered New Siberian Islands. "The data we are about to receive will give us a high chance to clone the mammoth," Radik Khayrullin, vice president of the Russian Association of Medical Anthropologists, told the Siberian Times.

It's undeniable that giving the mammoth a second act would greatly deepen our knowledge of the biology of this extinct genus, but doing so would be fraught with ethical and logistical problems. Writing for LiveScience, journalist Laura Poppick considers five challenges posed by American Museum of Natural History scientist Ross MacPhee that face those attempting to introduce Pleistocene-epoch wildlife to the 21st century, including questions about the animals' diet, habitat, and resistance to modern-day microbes.

[Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misattributed content to Ms. Poppick. The Monitor regrets the error.]

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