Lions and Tigers and …. Mammoths, oh my!? This is not exactly how the line goes from the Wizard of Oz, but after finding preserved liquid mammoth blood in Siberia, bears might have new competition. Several researches found a 10,000 year old perfectly preserved mammoth in Northeast Russia. This female mammoth was found frozen in time.
Portions of muscle and tissue were found to still have blood inside them. Scientists claim that when they cut part of the tissue, liquid blood flowed from the incision. The blood is still liquid after spending so long in ice because it is believed that mammoth blood contains a cryoprotectant agent that keeps the blood from freezing at high temperatures. This same agent has been found in fish species living in the Antarctic Sea. This is the first time in history that liquid mammoth blood has been recovered.
Northeast Federal University in Yakutsk is cooperating with a team of South Korean scientists on a joint project to attempt to clone a mammoth. This is an extraordinary under-taking since the woolly mammoth species has been extinct since the Ice Age. The mammoth has not been removed from the ice for fear that the bones might break. Researchers will continue the efforts to removed the carcass in July.
Unfortuatenly, the team of South Korean scientists, is lead by Hwang Woo-suk, who is a member of the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation. Hwang claimed that he had successful cloned a human embryonic stem cell in 2004, however, that was found to be a complete fabrication. This is certainly a bumpy start for such a significant landmark in scientific research.
This is quite a milestone in the race to clone a mammoth and researchers are very positive about the outcome. It may not be too long before wolly mammoths are the new exhibit at every zoo across the world. Lions and tigers and bears, oh no! Lions and tigers and mammoths, possibly so!