Mammoth find: Preserved Ice Age giant found with flowing blood in Siberia
AFP Photo / Museum of Mammoth of Institute of Applied Ecology of the North North-Eastern Federak University
Russian scientists discovered a fully-grown female mammoth with blood and well-preserved muscle tissue trapped in ice in Siberia. The findings come amid debates on whether the extinct species should be resurrected using DNA.
Scientists say they have managed to find mammoth blood during the excavation of a grown female animal on the Lyakhovsky Islands, the southernmost group of the New Siberian Islands in the Arctic seas of northeastern Russia.
The dark blood was found in ice cavities below the belly of the animal. When researchers broke the cavities with a poll pick, the blood came flowing out. The fact surprised them because the temperature was 10C below zero.
"It can be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryo-protective properties,” said Semyon Grigoriev, head of the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North Eastern Federal University as cited by Interfax news agency.
The blood was placed in a test tube and a bacteriological analysis of the sample is expected soon.
The muscle tissue of the animal was also well-preserved and had a natural red color of fresh meat, added the scientist. Such preservation can be explained by the fact that the lower part of the mammoth’s body was trapped in pure ice, while the upper part was discovered in the middle of the tundra. The trunk was found separately from the carcass.
The researchers established that the female mammoth was between 50 and 60 years old when it died. Grigoriev noted that this was a unique find likely to prompt international intrigue.
The carcass of the baby mammoth, named Lyuba, found in 2007 / RIA Novosti
"We are the first in the world to find the carcass of an adult female mammoth. Now she, along with the bones and some ice, weighs about one ton. We assume that during life she weighed about three tons," he acknowledged.
The head of the museum also suggested that the mammoth lived from 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.
Scientists have suggested that perhaps the animal fell through the ice, escaping from predators. However, its thought the predators still feasted on part of trapped mammoth.
Foreign experts are expected to see the unique mammoth material in July, according to reports.
Three adult mammoth carcasses, including the latest discovery of the Yakut scientists, have been found in the history of paleontology. However, despite such a good state of preservation, the scientists have not yet found enough living cells for cloning the species. Grigoriev noted that the repair of DNA is a very complex process that can take years.
The latest discovery and its research heralds the possibility of bringing the animal back to life in the future, though there is a lot of controversy around the issue of cloning.
A team of researchers from Russia and South Korea in September 2012 said they had discovered mammoth tissue fragments buried under meters of permafrost in eastern Siberia that could contain living cells. However the number of cells was too few to achieve successful cloning and the issue was treated with skepticism by many stem cell scientists.
Mammoths are believed to have died off around 4,000 years ago. There is dispute among scientists about the exact cause of the extinction - climate change and hunting by man are frequently cited as causes.
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Mammoth blood? Siberian discovery sparks some wild and woolly claims
Semyon Grigoriev via AFP - Getty
A May 13 photo provided by the Yakutsk-based North-Eastern Federal University shows a researcher working near a partial carcass of a female mammoth found on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean. Russian scientists claim that blood has been extracted from the carcass.
By Alan Boyle, Science Editor, NBC News
Russian researchers say they've recovered blood samples from a 10,000-year-old mammoth carcass found in Siberia, but outside experts are skeptical about the claims — and particularly about suggestions that the mammoth can be cloned.
"What makes the news here is that they have the liquid," Stephan Schuster, a biologist at Penn State who helped decode the woolly mammoth genome several years ago, told NBC News. "But this could also be water that is now thawing and is running out with organic compounds that are in the carcass."
The research team from North-Eastern Federal University in the Siberian city of Yakutsk says it's blood.
"The blood is very dark," Semyon Grigoriev, who headed the expedition to the Lyakhovsky Islands in the Siberian Arctic, said Wednesday in a university news release.
"It was found in ice cavities below 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 -10 degrees C [14 to 19 degrees Fahrenheit]. It may be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryoprotective properties," he said.
It's difficult for Schuster or other outside experts to render judgment on the claims, since the only information available on the find is what's in the press. "I have no doubt that they have found something interesting, but what exactly it is ... is hard to say at this moment," Daniel Fisher, an expert on mammoths at the University of Michigan, told Scientific American's Kate Wong.
Schuster said it's conceivable that the fluid contains natural antifreeze. Experts have found that to be the case for lots of modern-day organisms in chilly environments. "It could come from the breakdown of biopolymers," he said. "You have a lot of small organic components that would have the properties of being cryoprotective."
Russian scientists discovered a well-preserved woolly mammoth carcass that they say still contained tissue and blood due to Siberia's ice. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown reports.
AFP - Getty Images
Preserved muscle tissue from the carcass of a female mammoth takes on a reddish tinge when cut.
The Russian reports suggest that the partial female carcass is unusually well-preserved. Fragments of the mammoth's muscle tissues "have a natural red color of fresh meat," Grigoriev reported. That's not unprecedented, however. There have been numerous reports about the recovery of mammoth meat that's good enough to eat.
The big question focuses on what you can do with that preserved tissue and blood (or bloodlike goop).
"What they are saying without saying it is, 'Oh, if we have blood, then the rest of the carcass might yield clonable DNA," Schuster said. After all, Grigoriev is one of the leaders of the Russian-Korean "Mammoth Miracle" cloning project. He's quoted as saying that the carcass had to be recovered in cold weather, "because the unique discovery would melt in summer or autumn, and the priceless material for the joint project 'Mammoth Rebirth' ... could disappear from thawing and wild animals."
The scientists who are working on the project have said a woolly mammoth could be cloned sometime in the next five years, but Schuster and other researchers involved in studying mammoth genetics are skeptical that there'd be enough intact DNA in any thawed-out sample to do the deed. So far, the best places to find mammoth DNA have been from the teeth, bones and hair rather than from the muscles or tendons — and even then, the pickings have been slim.
"None of us has ever seen a sample from a mammoth where the genome has not been completely shattered," Schuster said. "The maximum we find is 100 base pairs, maybe 400 base pairs. You would need on the order of millions of base pairs, and there's no such thing."
Even if the DNA isn't intact, it may still be possible to extract proteins from the tissues, just as proteins were extracted from the fossilized bone of a Tyrannnosaurus rex several years ago. Schuster said working toward that goal would be exciting as well as realistic.
"The case is rare enough, that everything inside the carcass needs to be investigated in the fullest," he said. "Only after this has been done can we assess whether this find will really advance our understanding of the biochemical makeup of a mammoth. But I am less optimistic about learning more about the genetic makeup."
From October 2011: Hendrik Poinar, a scientist who believes he is close to cracking the woolly mammoth's genetic code, says that cloning extinct species is now possible. NBC's Jim Maceda reports.
what is the source of this news? -- you should post it in the end of the article -- so that everyone can check if its fake or not.
Originally Posted by salmanshah
oh sorry I forgot. One is from RT and another is from NBC news
Originally Posted by masum1181
Cool! We can clone 'em now?
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