An image of “The Mammoth”
Miraikan — The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Odaiba, Tokyo) will hold a special exhibition, “The Mammoth,” from June 7 to November 4, 2019. It will exhibit several frozen specimens of recently excavated ancient animals, including mammoths that have been uncovered from the permafrost in the Republic of Sakha in the Russian Federation. Precious frozen specimens of nose, skin, and other life-like mammoth body parts will be displayed for observation in a huge frozen display made specifically for this occasion. The exhibition will also feature an introduction to ongoing mammoth resurrection projects around the world, approaching mammoths from past, present, and future perspectives.
Mammoth-related research has been ongoing for over 100 years since the first frozen mammoth was discovered, and with advancement of life sciences, it has become possible to extract biological information from genes and proteins of excavated animals found in a frozen state, such as mammoths. Using information from these precious specimens, we are on the verge of reproducing a living being from the ancient times, and we are gradually moving toward revealing the mammoth’s true appearance, which has until now been shrouded in mystery.
The technological innovations brought about by life science research including research on mammoths are useful not only for the protection of endangered species and as a step for regeneration of extinct species such as the mammoth but also for a range of other fields including advanced medicine and issues related to food and global environment. However, the resurrecting of extinct species also raises questions relating to ethical and ecological impacts on the current ecosystem. This exhibition introduces the cutting edge of current life science research while considering how life science in the future should be.