The scientists aiming to 'bring back' the woolly mammoth originally wanted to do it using 40,000-year-old cells

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Smithsonian/Renegade Pictures

Picture this: A beast with most of the features of a woolly mammoth (think long, shaggy hair, plus special adaptations to sub-zero temperatures, like subcutaneous fat and specially-adapted blood) plus a few elephant-like traits (like a slightly longer body).

Nope, it's not your Pottermore Patronus.

It's the animal that a team of Harvard scientists hopes to create (or "bring back" as some advocates of the controversial practice known as de-extinction might say). And they want to do it in the next few years by combining the DNA of an elephant and a woolly mammoth using the gene-editing technology Crispr.

The team introduced their idea for the "mammophant," better known as "an elephant with a number of mammoth traits," at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston this week. They said it could be a reality by 2019 .

Scientists have been talking about resurrecting the woolly mammoth, which went extinct thousands of years ago, for years, but the 2013 discovery of an astonishingly well-preserved mammoth carcass - complete with ancient blood - jumpstarted much of the excitement about the idea.

Here's a look into how they aimed to create a "mammophant" in 2014, before Crispr was a thing.

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