Woolly Mammoth Resurrection – Forget DNA Regeneration, Just 3D Print One in 197 Pieces

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w1Over the last three to four years there has been much talk about the possibility of resurrecting the now-extinct woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). The mammoth, which is related to the African elephant, went extinct approximately 4,000 years ago, quite recently when you consider the dinosaur extinction took place over 65 million years ago.

Because of the relatively short amount of time since their extinction, many scientists believe that it is possible to use modern science to regenerate this beautiful creature from DNA gathered from frozen specimens. In fact, research is currently underway by several groups to do just that. While we wait to see if such a bold scientific endeavor will be possible, there are still many individuals and organizations who wish to at least bring the creature to ‘life’ by other means within museums and other exhibitions around the world.

One such example can be seen at the National Science and Technology Museum of Taiwan. The museum wanted a centerpiece for their new “Journey of Printing Collections” exhibition as well as a way to bring attention to the mammoth, one of the largest land mammals to ever walk the Earth, and an animal which we still do not fully understand its reasons for extinction. To do this, they decided to team with Beijing Tiertime Technology Co., Ltd., the manufacturer of popular desktop 3D printers like the UP BOX, Up Plus 2, and UP Mini. Through this partnership the museum aimed to 3D print a statue of the mammoth, but not just any statue, one of ‘mammoth’ proportion.

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[Images: 3DNatives.com]

Equipped with an UP Plus 2 3D Printer, which features a rather small build envelope of just 140 x 140 x 135 mm, the museum officials were tasked at creating a replica mammoth which would measure over 1 meter in length. So how did they do it? They broke the 3D model of the animal up into a staggering 197 different sections, and printed them off one by one before finally assembling all the pieces, sort of like a 3D puzzle.w5

“We realized that 3D printing was not a matter of science and technology. Our approach to manufacturing is changing and digital tools will make their entry into our lives. Our ideas will now take shape more easily and faster. Common science education should be adjusted to show new generations how to approach the revolution that is taking place in the production and consumption in the era of digital tools,” said Sun Wei-hsin, the Museum Director.

From the images provided of the mammoth it’s quite clear that the UP Plus 2 3D printer really held its own, helping to create this large model of this enormous creature so that museum goers are able to get a more accurate feel for this animal’s beauty. Sure it may not be the same as a resurrected mammoth, but it is certainly much less expensive and will be put to good use at this Taiwanese museum.

Let us know if you happen to pay a visit to the National Science and Technology Museum of Taiwan and what your thoughts were on the “Journey of Printing Collections” exhibition. Discuss in the 3D Printed Woolly Mammoth forum thread on 3DPB.com.

w3[Images:3DNatives.com]

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