“Scientists in Siberia say they’ve extracted blood samples from the carcass of a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth, reviving speculation that a clone of the extinct animal might someday walk the earth, if scientists are able to find living cells. But researchers say the find, which also included well-preserved muscle tissue, must be studied further to know its potential,” writes NPR’s Bill Chappell.
The female mammoth’s carcass was found “in good preservation on Lyakhovsky Islands of Novosibirsk archipelago,” according to a news release about the discovery by North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, Siberia.
“The fragments of muscle tissues, which we’ve found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat,” said lead researcher Semyon Grigoriev of the university’s Museum of Mammoths. “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.”
The paleontologists say they found a liquid they believe to be blood beneath the animal’s belly.
“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,” Grigoriev said. ” 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.”
Today’s Question: Should scientists attempt to clone a wooly mammoth?