Live woolly mammoths could be returned to the Earth for around $10 million dollars, according to scientists working on DNA-sequencing.

The findings suggest that any animal that lived within the last 60,000 years, the effective age limit' for DNA, could feasibly be resurrected.

Once the DNA is decoded in modern sequencing machines biologists could alter DNA in a suitable living animal – for example an elephant – and each generation can be brought back towards the original DNA until the final stage when an egg could be brought to term in the modern animal.

Neanderthal return?

Of course, another potential resurrection would be Neanderthal man, although there are a welter of ethical issues with this.

A team headed by Stephan Schuster and Webb Miller at Pennsylvania State University told Nature magazine that they have recovered the majority of the DNA of the mammoth from clumps of air that have been discovered.

Hair is especially useful in this form of DNA sequencing as it forms a protective shields that stops the DNA from being polluted over the ages by microbes.

"It could be done. The question is, just because we might be able to do it one day, should we do it?" asked Schuster after putting a potential $10 million (c£6.7m) price tag on recreating the tusked mammal.