"Lost Beasts of the Ice Age"
Premieres Sunday, February 24 at 8 PM ET/PT on Science Channel
In an ambitious, new, cutting-edge Science Channel special, top scientists from around the world look to uncover extraordinary evidence into the lives of Ice Age animals, including the fabled woolly mammoth. The special will also explore whether these new discoveries, combined with the latest techniques in genetic science, could bring these long extinct animals back to life with the latest cloning techniques.
The two-hour Lost Beasts of the Ice Age follows a team of international scientists including Dr. Tori Herridge, Paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London, and Harvard Medical School Geneticist Professor George Church, on an expedition to seek out well-preserved remains of woolly mammoths, woolly rhino, wolves and cave lions that once roamed Siberia. Working in tunnels dug by locals on the hunt for valuable giant mammoth tusks, their findings may reveal extraordinary new evidence that could lead us closer to answering one of the biggest mysteries of the ice age – what caused the woolly mammoth to go extinct?
Professor Church and Dr. Love Dalen of the Swedish Museum of Natural History discovered DNA in excellent condition, which could speed up the cloning process. Also found was a thirty-thousand-year-old wolf from an extinct breed of ice age wolves. A part of this find suggests human activity as the head of the wolf appears to have been decapitated by hunters.
After gathering evidence in the field, the researchers then head back to their labs in London, Stockholm, Boston, Detroit and Maine, to assess the findings. What new light will they shed on the fates of these beasts and how they lived? And do the mammoth specimens have the well-preserved DNA needed to bring these majestic creatures back to life through gene editing?
Dr. Tori Herridge, Palaeontologist of the Natural History Museum, continued: “The quest to understand the extinction of so many large animals at the end of the last ice age – and whether humans, or climate change, or both, were responsible – has never felt so important in a world where wildlife is under increasing threat.”
Professor George Church, Geneticist, Harvard Medical School, talking about his plan to use genetic engineering to bring mammoths back to Siberia, said: “The project really feels like it’s leaping forward. We didn’t expect so many high-quality specimens. It’s just very exciting.”