Scientists believe that some extinct animals, including the Irish elk once immortalized in poem by Seamus Heaney, may walk on Earth again as advances continue in cloning.
While the science of cloning is still in its infancy, many scientists now believe it's only a matter of time before it becomes a viable option.
According to Mother Nature Network, to “successfully clone an extinct animal, scientists need to find animal DNA that is almost entirely intact.”Thus, some species will make better candidates for resurrection than others.
For example, animals that have been preserved expertly in natural history museums are more ideal to clone.
Ancient animals that were preserved in permafrost during the last ice age also make ideal candidates.
MNN lists the Irish elk as one such species that could potentially be resurrected thanks to cloning. “
“Another megafauna to fall victim to the ending of an ice age was the Irish elk. Calling this animal an elk is actually a misnomer, as recent DNA analysis has shown that it was actually a deer — in fact, the largest deer to have ever lived,” the website writes.
“Its antlers alone measured as much as 12 feet across. As with other animals that lived in the icy north during the Pleistocene, preserved specimens of the Irish elk can be readily found in melting permafrost, making it a prime candidate for being cloned.”
The skulls, with their colossal antlers, are often mounted on the walls of castles and hunting lodges.
Because of the many well-preserved fossils of this majestic seven foot tall creature that exist around the world, it makes an obvious candidate for scientists experimenting with the cloning process.
According to the University of California Museum of Paleontology, the Irish elk with its "arresting size and singular appearance is of great significance to paleontologists because of the way in which the animal has become involved in evolutionary debates down through the years."
The website lists a theory that the Irish elk finally went extinct when the antlers became so large that the animals could no longer hold up their heads, or got entangled in the trees.
To read more about the Irish elk, visit here.