Fact Check

Scientists in Japan Clone 98% Pure Saber-Tooth Tiger

Have Japanese scientists successfully cloned a saber-tooth tiger?

Published April 20, 2014


Claim:   Japanese scientists have successfully cloned a saber-tooth tiger.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, April 2014]

Cloning of a Sabre-tooth tiger, real or not? There are not enough credible sources for this story.


Origins:   In April 2014, the NewsHound web site published an article positing that scientists had, in a procedure similar to the one employed by characters in the fictional Jurassic Park novel and film, successfully cloned a "98% pure" saber-tooth tiger from a frozen specimen of that long-extinct species:

Japanese scientists have successfully cloned a 98 percent pure Saber-Tooth Tiger at the Japanese government-funded laboratory, Riken Center for Development Biology.

The baby, named "Ryu" is said to be in good health and is currently being monitored 24 hours a day by a team of 6 specialists. Tests are ongoing, but it has been confirmed that the baby is 98% pure Saber-Tooth.

The team hope to begin work on the second cloned Saber-Tooth Tiger within the next 2 months and when the two reach maturity, they will be breed naturally. This will create a second generation with 98.4% pure Saber-Tooth DNA.

The story was easily spotted as nothing more than a hoax for a variety of reasons, chief among them that the NewsHound web site is not a news site at all, and it has, in place of reporting on actual events, reproduced a number of other hoaxes and spoofs as if they were real news, such as long-debunked stories about a Chinese man suing his wife over giving birth to an ugly baby, Apple paying Microsoft [sic] a $1 billion debt all in nickels, a planetary alignment causing gravity on Earth to be negated for five minutes, and Google Earth helping to locate a woman who had been stranded on a desert island for seven years.

Moreover, NewsHound's saber-tooth tiger clone article is itself just a thinly-altered retread of another fabricated story the site published a month earlier, the latter about British scientists' supposedly having cloned a dinosaur from preserved fossils.

Last updated:   20 April 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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