The development has been made possible by the discovery of living cells within woolly mammoth tissue samples discovered deep in Siberia, which was populated at the time of its death by nomadic Korean tribesmen. While the territory is now occupied by Russia, the Russian authorities - recognizing Korea's historical claims in the region and cultural sensitivities, asked South Korean scientists to help recover the tissue samples while supervising the site in case the remains of any Korean hunters were discovered along with the mammoth's body.
It is hoped that if the mammoths can be brought to life, it will provide a boost to the struggling oriental medicine industry, which contrary to popular opinion is not Chinese as it is well-known to have originated in Korea. Oriental medicine practitioners believe there is a high probability that body parts from the large animals will cure a range of diseases that have not proven to be treatable with parts of tigers and other potentially endangered species, despite many years of efforts.
There are also hopes that the move may allow mammoths to be put back on the Korean menu, 10,000 years after they were last eaten. "Obviously, while we will only kill the mammoths for research purposes, it would be wasteful to just dispose of the body when an industry can exist which consumes them." said Kim, an official in the Ministry of Cloning.
Since the oriental medicine industry will mostly only require certain extremities such as mammoth feet and reproductive organs, it is likely that the bulk of the animal will be available for restaurant consumption. Many older Koreans, especially men, are said to be excited at the prospect of either taking powdered woolly mammoth penis supplements or eating them whole in a soup, which Korean legend says gives men the kind of legendary stamina in bed they currently lack.
Some have argued that it would be 'unethical' to kill mammoths for medicinal and food purposes as they will be an endangered species, but others argue that it cannot be unethical as the animals will only exist by virtue of being recreated, and as such, they should be grateful. "In any case," said Kim - a spokesman for the Ministry of Cloning - "if numbers run too low we could always clone more."
Woolly Mammoth Clone? Russian And South Korean Scientists Sign Deal To Bring Extinct Beast Back To Life
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