Scientists have discovered a partial carcass of a woolly mammoth still containing blood
that might allow scientists to eventually clone the long-extinct creature and bring the species back to life on this planet.
Russian scientists described the recent find as a "well-preserved carcass of an old female" — they’re guessing she was around 60 years old when she died on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.
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Semyon Grigoryev, lead scientist of the expedition and a professor at the Northeastern Federal University based in Yakutsk, Russia, told reporters that when they broke the ice beneath her stomach, dark blood flowed and the muscle tissue was red, the "color of fresh meat."
Predators thousands of years ago had apparently eaten her head and back, but her forelegs and stomach were well preserved.
Grigoryev and scientists in South Korea and the United States will be studying the carcass in the upcoming months. The Northeastern Federal University is partnering with cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-Suk at the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation.
The idea of cloning extinct species is one that enthralls scientists and raises questions. National Geographic’s cover story in April 2013 was titled “Reviving Extinct Species: We Can. But Should We?"
and pictures a woolly mammoth.
Scientists already have most of the genes it takes to make a mammoth, which could then be inserted into an elephant stem cell.
“With mammoths, it’s really a dime a dozen up there,” Hendrik Poinar, an expert on mammoth DNA at Mc Master University in Ontario, Canada, is quoted as saying in the magazine. “It’s just a matter of finances now.”
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