Woolly mammoth: Start-up raises $15 mln to bring back extinct elephant using DNA

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Raising $15 million for initial funding, a start-up company called Colossal aims for the “de-extinction” of the woolly mammoth.

The woolly mammoth is a large, cold-resistant herbivore mammal with thick fur which can survive in freezing temperatures. It lived during the Pleistocene Epoch (or Ice Age) until its extinction.

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The company says it is combining the science of genetics with the business of discovery to jumpstart “nature’s ancestral heartbeat” and to see the woolly mammoth “thunder upon tundra once again and to advance the economies of biology and healing through genetics.”

Calling itself the “de-extinction company,” Colossal’s landmark de-extinction project will be the resurrection of the woolly mammoth, or rather “a cold-resistant elephant with all of the core biological traits of the woolly mammoth,” as the company describes it.

“It will walk like a woolly mammoth, look like one, sound like one, but most importantly it will be able to inhabit the same ecosystem previously abandoned by the mammoth’s extinction,” Colossal added.


Colossal’s goal is to develop a de-extinction library of animals and house genetic DNA and embryos of endangered animals – including the woolly mammoth – using a team of experienced scientists.

The company says this will slow the long-term impacts of loss of biodiversity caused by humans.

“If you think about the most important headline of the 20th century, unquestionably it was humans landing on the moon. In the 21st century, bringing an extinct species back to life would hold similar weight in the history of humanity,” Colossal Executive Advisory Board Member Richard Garriott said.

“It is hard to imagine a more profound project than the de-extinction of species once considered lost forever,” he added.

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