Tags: mammoth | dna | cloning

Mammoth Find Spurs Cloning Hopes

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013 03:43 PM

By Greg Richter

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The chances of you seeing a live woolly mammoth have greatly increased as Russian scientists have found liquid blood inside the carcass of one of the creatures.

The mammoth is thought to have died at about the age of 60 -- between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago, Phys.org reports.

It was the first time a female that old has been found, but even more surprising was the fact it contained blood and muscle tissue.

"When we broke the ice beneath her stomach, the blood flowed out from there. It was very dark," said Semyon Grigoryev, who headed the expedition. The prehistoric animal was found on an island in the Arctic Ocean earlier this month.

"This is the most astonishing case in my entire life," Grigoryev said. "How was it possible for it to remain in liquid form? And the muscle tissue is also red, the color of fresh meat."

The bottom of the carcass was so well-preserved because it had fallen into water that later froze. The head and back appeared to have been eaten by predators, while the hind part was nothing but skeleton.

"This find gives us a really good chance of finding live cells which can help us implement this project to clone a mammoth," Grigoryev said.

Woolly mammoths, so named because of the long hair that covered their bodies, were related to elephants and became extinct 10,000 years ago. Finds of their carcasses in cold far-northern climates have become more frequent as global temperatures have risen.

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