Free Woolly Out of the Cold

A creature that lived in the Ice Age may find new life in our time

About 20,000 years ago, a very big animal had a very bad day. Deep in Siberia, an 11-ft.-tall woolly mammoth fell over dead. It became entombed in the permafrost, where it remained until last week, when it was finally freed. If scientists have their way, the same mammoth--or rather, its cloned kin--could walk again.

The elephant-like mammoth was discovered in 1997 by a nine-year-old reindeer hunter prowling for decidedly smaller game. In short order, scientists, led by French explorer Bernard Buigues, flocked to the site. What they saw thrilled them.

Mammoths, which vanished some 10,000 years ago at the end of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!