Woolly mammoth found frozen in Siberia after 39,000 YEARS goes on display in Tokyo (and it’s still woolly!)
- Female woolly mammoth was found frozen in a Siberian ice tomb in May
- The creature will be on display in Tokyo until September
- Scientists think she got stuck in a swamp and died over 39,000 years ago
- Blood sample found at the scene could be used to clone the beast
By Victoria Woollaston DailyMail PUBLISHED:9 July 2013
The 39,000-year-old mammoth will be on display at the hall in Yokohama in the south of the Japanese city from 13 July until September 16.
Visitors and tourists will be able to come and view the extinct creature that was discovered in an ice tomb in the New Siberian Islands, or Novosibirsk Islands, earlier this year.
A 39,000-year-old female woolly mammoth, which was found frozen in Siberia in May, is seen here upon its arrival at an exhibition hall in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. The mammoth will be on display for tourists and visitors from 13 July until 16 September
The mammoth, pictured, was discovered in an ice tomb in the New Siberian Islands, or Novosibirsk Islands earlier this year. Parts of the carcass are especially well preserved because they remained entirely frozen for thousands of years
REAL LIFE JURASSIC PARK ‘NOT AN OPTION’, SCIENTISTS SAY
Last year a controversial Australian billionaire was believed to be drawing up secret plans for a real-life Jurassic Park.
Mining magnate Clive Palmer, who has already embarked on a project to rebuild the Titanic, was rumoured to be working with the team who created Dolly the sheep.
But the research has shown the dinosaurs may have to stay on the big screen – as their DNA is just too old to be able to use for de-extinction.
However, Korean scientists are hoping that the samples found on the Siberian woolly mammoth aren’t too old.
They plan to take the DNA samples and reassemble them into a full genome.
This could then be injected into embryonic cells which have had their own DNA taken out, and a suitable living surrogate would be found.
Parts of the carcass are especially well preserved because they remained entirely frozen for thousands of years.
This means that the shape of the mammoth is intact, including its hair – which gave the mammoth its woolly name.
Visitors to the hall will also be able to clearly see the mammoth’s snout, legs and torso.
The scientists who found the mammoth in May were also able to extract a blood sample from the beast.
It was the first ever well-preserved sample of blood from a woolly mammoth and could be used to recreate the extinct species.
The blood was sealed inside ice beneath the carcass of a female mammoth.
Preserved muscle tissue was also found from the creature, aged between 50 and 60 when she died, according to the Russian team who made the discovery on islands off the northern coast of Siberia.
A worker at the exhibition hall in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, inspects the snout of the 39,000-year-old woolly mammoth. Scientists discovered a well-preserved sample of blood from the creature in May and are looking into ways in which the extinct species could be brought back from extinction
The find – said to be the first time mammoth blood has been discovered – comes amid a hotly contested debate over the morality of Jurassic Park-style projects to restore extinct creatures to the planet, with some scientists insisting it will be impossible to get exactly the same mammoths as once roamed Siberia.
Semyon Grigoriev, head of the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North Eastern Federal University told The Siberian Times: ‘We were really surprised to find mammoth blood and muscle tissue.’
He hailed it as ‘the best preserved mammoth in the history of paleontology’.
The snout of the 39,000-year-old mammoth, pictured, on display in Tokyo. When the mammoth was discovered preserved muscle tissue was also found from the creature, aged between 50 and 60 when she died, according to the Russian team who made the discovery on islands off the northern coast of Siberia
The foot of the female woolly mammoth, pictured, shows that many of the animal’s original features – including the hair that gave the mammoth its woolly name – is still intact. The upper torso and two legs, which were found in the soil and not buried in ice, were gnawed by predators and almost didn’t survive
‘It is the first time we managed to obtain mammoth blood. No-one has ever seen before how the mammoth’s blood flows.’
Dr Grigoriev put the approximate age of the animal at around 10,000 years old but more recent dating tests suggest the creature is much older – daring back around 39,000 years.
‘It has been preserved thanks to the special conditions, due to the fact that it did not defrost and then freeze again.
‘We suppose that the mammoth fell into water or got bogged down in a swamp, could not free herself and died.
A researcher from the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology at the North-Eastern Federal University, pictured, working near a carcass of the female mammoth found on a remote island off the coast of Siberia in May
A researcher from the North-Eastern Federal University in Siberia holds a test tube with a sample of well-preserved blood found in a carcass of a female woolly mammoth. The sample was discovered on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean and is thought to be the first discovery of its kind
‘Due to this fact the lower part of the body, including the lower jaw, and tongue tissue, was preserved very well.
The hope is that at least one living cell of the mammoth was preserved ‘although even with such well-preserved remains, this may not be the case.’
‘It is great luck that the blood preserved and we plan to study it carefully,” Dr Grigoriev continued.
‘For now our suspicion is that mammoth blood contains a kind of natural anti-freeze.’
Samples taken from the mammoth include ‘blood, blood vessels, glands, soft tissue, in a word – everything that we could.
As well as a sample of blood, Russian scientists also discovered a well-preserved sample of muscle tissue from the woolly mammoth carcass. The blood and tissue were preserved because they were buried in an ice tomb on the Novosibirsk islands for what’s thought to have been 10,000 years
‘Luckily we had taken with us on our expedition a special preservative agent for blood.’
The samples were taken for study to Yakutsk, capital of the Republic of Sakha, also known as Yakutia, the largest region in the Russian Federation.
The carcass weighing around one tonne was then moved to the Siberian mainland and was kept in ice storage before being taken to Tokyo.
The blood and other samples were made available to South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk’s private bioengineering laboratory, which has confirmed it is working with other mammoth DNA samples in a bid to return the extinct Siberian mammoth to the planet.
The woolly mammoth was probably wiped out by rapid climate change caused by a meteor striking the Earth, not by overhunting as previously believed
The eventual plan is to plant an implanted egg into a live elephant for a 22-month pregnancy.
Earlier this year a group of scientists from around the world met for TEDx conference in Washington, sponsored by National Geographic.
The group were discussing the possibility of bringing 24 animals back from extinction, also known as ‘de-extinction’.
The animals included the dodo bird, the Carolina Parakeet, last seen in 1904 in Florida, and the Quagga, a plains zebra which once lived in South Africa but died out in 1883.
However, a real life Jurassic Park is not an option, it is said, because dinosaur DNA is just too old.
In May, scientists from University of Cincinnati claimed that a giant meteor was probably responsible for wiping out the woolly mammoth, and not hunting, which researchers previously thought was the reason.
They believe a huge meteor smashing through the Earth’s atmosphere broke up into ten million tonnes of fiery fragments, scattering over four continents.
These fragments are thought to have released toxic gas which poisoned the air and blacked out the sun, causing temperatures to plummet, plants to die and landscapes to alter forever.
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