Australian Firm Obtains Mammoth DNA Sequence, Makes Mammoth Meatballs

Want to taste an animal that's been dead for 4,000 years?

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

Several meatballs on a wooden board.

Regular meatballs. Mammoth meatballs can be seen in the video. Image credit: AntonSAN/

A firm in Australia has used the DNA from a mammoth to make mammoth meatballs. Vow hopes that by creating meats from unusual (and extinct) animals, they can start a conversation about these cultured meat alternatives, and tempt people away from traditional meat sources that are no longer sustainable during the climate crisis. 

To create the meatball, Vow used the DNA sequence of a mammoth muscle protein. Where there were gaps in the sequence, DNA from elephants was used, before the meat was grown inside myoblast stem cells taken from sheep, The Guardian reports. The whole process took a few weeks and can be grown "indefinitely" according to the meatball's creators.


Though the team chose mammoth because "it’s a symbol of diversity loss and a symbol of climate change," Vow cofounder Tim Noakesmith told The Guardian, the process could work where a biopsy from the target animal about the size of an almond is available. 

This means that the dodo, which humans drove to extinction via hunting and the introduction of rats and pigs, is something we can't bring back to chow down on one last time.

"There's just not enough genetic information to make that work," the team explained to Good Morning Britain, adding "dodo nuggets was actually the first idea that we had. We pivoted to mammoth because there's just more information known about it."

"The collagen sequence for T. Rex is actually quite well described," Chief Scientific Officer at Vow, James Ryall, added. "So you could in theory create a collagen-based supplement using Tyrannosaurus Rex."


Long-term, the team hopes to reduce manufacturing costs to make cultured meats competitive with, and eventually replace, traditionally farmed meats. But initially, they are focusing on fine dining restaurants "where chefs are adventurous enough to play, and customers are prepared to pay a premium".

As well as more traditional meats, like chicken and beef, the team have previously talked about the potential of creating zebra meat, as well as yak and Galapagos tortoise meat, which Charles Darwin found to be delicious.


  • tag
  • DNA,

  • mammoth,

  • food,

  • extinct,

  • meat industry,

  • weird and wonderful,

  • cultured meat