Show, tell or even revive? DNA at museum could help restore extinct species

Above: Dr Alexei Tikhonov among some of the museum's mammoths. Left: A taxidermist at the museum at work.
Above: Dr Alexei Tikhonov among some of the museum's mammoths. PHOTO: NYTIMES
Above: Dr Alexei Tikhonov among some of the museum's mammoths. Left: A taxidermist at the museum at work.
Above: A taxidermist at the museum at work.PHOTO: NYTIMES
The Zoological Museum in St Petersburg, filled with centuries-old collections, is finding new relevance in the age of genetics.
The Zoological Museum in St Petersburg, filled with centuries-old collections, is finding new relevance in the age of genetics.PHOTO: NYTIMES

DNA of specimens at museum could help restore extinct species

ST PETERSBURG (Russia) • Standing alone, a few minutes before the doors were to open at the Zoological Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Zoological Institute, Dr Alexei Tikhonov gazed at Masha, a 30,000-year-old baby mammoth that he brought here from Siberia 30 years ago.

Masha, one of the museum's star attractions, rests with hundreds of other encased exhibits in one of the largest public collections of zoological specimens in the world. The cabinets, conceived in Frankfurt at the end of the 19th century, and the Czarist hunting trophies here exude an old-fashioned, even romantic air. But Dr Tikhonov, director of the museum, is not too concerned.

TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Thank you for reading The Straits Times

You have reached one of our Premium stories. To continue reading, get access now or log in if you are a subscriber.

What is Premium?

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2018, with the headline 'Show, tell and perhaps even revive?'. Print Edition | Subscribe