Apparently the first adult female to be found, the fully-grown, one-ton mammoth had blood and well-preserved muscle tissue when found in the Siberian ice. This discovery comes amidst debates on whether extinct species should be resurrected using DNA.
According to the scientists they found the mammoth blood during the excavation of a female mammoth on the Lyakhovsky Islands, one of the southern Siberian Islands in the Arctic seas of northeastern Russia.
Researchers were surprised to find the dark blood in ice cavities below the belly of the female. When they broke into the cavities with a poll pick, blood reportedly came flowing out. This was surprising as the temperature at the time was 10 degrees Celsius below zero.
Semyon Grigoriev, who is head of the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North Eastern Federal University told the Interfax news agency:
"It can be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryo-protective properties.”
Scientists have placed the blood in a test tube and will be running a bacteriological analysis of the sample soon.
Grigoriev added that the muscle tissue of the animal was also well-preserved, with the natural red color of fresh meat.
Scientists explain this by the fact that the power part of the body was trapped in pure ice, while the upper portion was found in the middle of the tundra. Apparently they found the trunk separate from the carcass.
According to researchers the female was around 50 to 60 years old when it died and Grigoriev told the media that this was a unique find that is likely to prompt international intrigue.
"We are the first in the world to find the carcass of an adult female mammoth. Now she, along with the bones and some ice, weighs about one ton. We assume that during life she weighed about three tons," he said, adding that the mammoth lived from 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.
About her demise, scientists suggest that possibly the mammoth fell through the ice when escaping from predators. However, they do think predators feasted on the upper part of the trapped animal.
According to reports, foreign experts will be examining the unique find in July.
On the subject of possible cloning of mammoths, including the latest discovery there have been three adult mammoths found. Despite their excellent preservation, scientists have not yet obtained enough living cells to attempt cloning the species.
Grigoriev noted that the repair of DNA is a very complex process that can take years. However, the latest discovery might herald the possibility of bringing mammoths to life in the future, although much controversy exists about the process.
Scientists believe that mammoths died off around 4,000 years ago and there is much dispute as to the exact cause of their demise, including hunting by man and climate change.