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Woolly Mammoth, Found Well-Preserved in May, to Go on Display in Japan

Image: Woolly Mammoth, Found Well-Preserved in May, to Go on Display in Japan

By Morgan Chilson   |   Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013 03:43 PM

A 39,000-year-old woolly mammoth, the most well-preserved ever found, will be on display in Yokohama, Japan, through September, according to the Daily Mail.

The female mammoth was discovered buried in glacial ice in May in Siberia by a Russian team of scientists. The ice kept the creature remarkably intact, even preserving skin, muscle and blood along with the distinct caramel-colored long hair.

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The mammoth was in excellent shape except for two legs and part of its torso, which had thawed out of the ice and been chewed on by other animals, the Daily Mail said.

NBC News said other mammoths have been found, but most specimens weren’t in good shape because of climate changes through the centuries. Semyon Grigoriev, chair of the Museum of Mammoths at the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North, was quoted by NBC as saying Yuka is “the best-preserved mammoth in the history of paleontology.”

The discovery excited scientists because of the presence of blood, and in recent months, discussions about the possibility of cloning the mammoth have exploded.

CBC News in May talked with researchers about whether the possibility of cloning was a real one, and one expert said it depended on how intact the blood is.

Hendrik Poinar, a geneticist at McMaster University in Ontario, told CBC News that it’s unlikely the cells would be well-preserved enough to make a baby woolly mammoth.

“I guess it’s not outside the realm of possibility, but I would be floored,” he told the news site.

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National Geographic interviewed many experts who say we’re a long way from a woolly mammoth clone.

Beth Shapiro, an ancient DNA expert from the University of California, told the magazine she’s sorry that the cloning discussions flooded the media, especially since it’s unlikely they’ll come to anything. Instead, the focus should be other important information scientists will gather from the mammoth.

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