A woolly mammoth was recently found preserved in Siberia with its blood intact. The find renews hopes that scientists may be able to bring the long-extinct species back with cloning.
North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk reports that members of a paleontological expedition found a preserved female Woolly Mammoth on the Lyakhovsky Islands off the Novosibirsk archipelago. What made this particular find amazing is that mammoth’s muscle tissue was well preserved. Even more amazing, the team found that the creature’s blood was intact and frozen in the ice.
“The fragments of muscle tissues, which we’ve found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat. The reason for such preservation is that the lower part of the body was underlying in pure ice, and the upper part was found in the middle of tundra. We found a trunk separately from the body, which is the worst-preserved part,” said Semyon Grigoriev, the head of the expedition, the chairman of the Mammoth Museum named after P.A. Lazarev of NEFU Institute of Applied Ecology of the North. “The researchers collected the samples of the animal’s blood in tubes with a special preservative agent. The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities bellow the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out. Interestingly, the temperature at the time of excavation was -7 to – 10ºC. It may be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryoprotective properties”.
So, what’s next for our frozen friend from the past? The researchers will take the mammoth back to Yakutsk for further examination to ensure that the tissue isn’t harboring some ancient deadly disease. After that, researchers from all around the world will convene on Siberia to study the remains. Those of us who have dreamed of one day cloning mammoths are no doubt excited by the possibilities that this latest find presents.
[h/t: CNET] [Image: North-Eastern Federal University]