Impeccably preserved baby mammoth found in Siberia
Baby mammoth discovered in Siberia
MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) -- Scientists unveiled the discovery Wednesday of a baby mammoth found in the permafrost of north-west Siberia.
The remains of the six-month-old female mammoth were discovered in a remarkable state of preservation on the Yamal peninsula of Russia in May, a Reuters report said. The specimen is believed to be the best of its kind to date.
A reindeer herder found the frozen animal in May near the Yuribei River, in Russia's Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.
The animal is thought to have died 10,000 years ago and experts say the approximately four-foot-tall, 50kg Siberian specimen dates to the end of the last Ice Age, when the great beasts were vanishing off the face of the planet.
Scientists hope the animal might yield DNA samples that could be used to clone and effectively resurrect the extinct members of the elephant family. VideoWatch what scientists have to say about it »
A delegation of international experts were in Salekhard last week, near where the mammoth was found, to conduct a preliminary examination of the carcass, which will be transferred to Jikei University in Tokyo, Japan, a Reuters report said. Experts are expected to carry out an extensive study of the specimen, including CT scans of its internal organs.
The animal is remarkably well preserved with its trunk and eyes still intact. Some of the infant mammoth's fur is also still on the body. While the mammoth has not yielded the kind of DNA that could be used in cloning, scientists remain optimistic.
Some believe the right find is bound to emerge from Siberia that will make cloning or resurrecting the animal -- by injecting sperm into the egg of a relative such as the Asian elephant -- a reality.
Mammoths first appeared in the Pliocene Epoch, 4.8 million years ago. They possessed long, curved tusks along with a coat of long hair.
The cause of their widespread disappearance at the end of the last Ice Age remains unclear; but climate change, overkill by human hunters, or a combination of both could have been to blame.
One population of mammoths lived on in isolation on Russia's remote Wrangel Island until about 5,000 years ago.
Siberian mammoth specimens were lost to a lucrative trade in ivory, skin, hair and other body parts. Local people are now scouring the Siberian permafrost for remains to sell.
Perhaps the sentiments contained in the preceding post, are not yet
sufficiently favorable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong
, gives it a superficial appearance of being right
, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.
- slightly modified from Common Sense, Thomas Paine, 1776
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