SCIENTISTS claim to have taken “a significant step towards bringing mammoths back from the dead”.
The woolly beasts are long-extinct, the last of them having died out 3,600 years ago.
But boffins in Japan reckon they could roam the Earth once again after making a massive breakthrough.
They took bone marrow and muscle tissue extracted from the remains of a mammoth called Yuka, who had been frozen in Siberian permafrost for 28,000 years.
Cell nuclei from the muscle tissue was injected into mouse egg cells.
They said cell cell nuclei from one of the extinct creatures showed biological activity when transplanted into mouse cells.
Scientists observed the forming of structures that appear just before cell division begins.
There were also signs of repair to damaged mammoth DNA.
The study was carried out by a team from Kindai University in Osaka, reports Nikkei Asian Review.
They are working with scientists from Russia and using a cloning technology called somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Kai Minamoto, who was part of the research team, said it was “a significant step towards bringing mammoths back from the dead”.
He added: “We want to move our study forward to the stage of cell division.”
The study was detailed in the journal Scientific Reports.
Miyamoto admitted “we still have a long way to go” before the Ice Age species can return.