Somebody Made a Meatball Out of Resurrected Woolly Mammoth Flesh

Imagine you managed to resurrect a woolly mammoth, but instead of making a theme park around it, you turned it into a meatball. While you ponder what you’d do, the team at the Australia-based Vow is leaping into action. Tuesday, the team unveiled a meatball it managed to make using meat grown by wooly mammoth DNA.

At an event held in Amsterdam Tuesday, Vow founder Tim Noakesmith promoted the idea of cultured meat, a product he says is a sustainable alternative to real meat sources. “We wanted to create something that was totally different from anything you can get now,” Noakesmith told Reuters.

Vow started with sheep cells as the base of the meat before inserting the mammoth DNA sequence the startup managed to obtain. Because the DNA wasn’t complete, any gaps were filled in by DNA of an African elephant.

“When it comes to meat, myoglobin is responsible for the aroma, the colour and the taste”, Vow chief science officer James Ryall added. As Ryall said, the gene-splicing is not unlike what took place in Jurassic Park.

While the mammoth meatball isn’t for consumption just quite yet, it’s said to have the aroma of crocodile meat.

“Its protein is literally 4,000 years old. We haven’t seen it in a very long time. That means we want to put it through rigorous tests, something that we would do with any product we bring to the market,” Noakesmith concluded.

Vow hopes to bring more awareness to cultured meat as it looks to enter the European Union as an alternative to “real” meat.

In 2021, the company first made waves for making dumplings made with cultured kangaroo meat.

“Ultimately, with a more diverse library of cells than anyone else, alongside the knowhow to create new and novel food products from different cell lines, we’ll have the capability to create more products for more engaged consumer groups and take market share that way,” Noakesmith told AFN at the time.