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Perfectly preserved trunk of woolly mammoth sparks new cloning excitement

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 24th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A recently retrieved vial of blood may be the key to bringing woolly mammoths back to life. Scientists are expressing new found excitement after discovering "the world's best preserved trunk" buried in the Siberian permafrost.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Research teams that are seeking to recreate the DNA of the extinct mammoths, with a view of regenerating the extinct species back into modern times are likewise hopeful.

The aforementioned trunk was frozen for around 10,000 years on an Arctic island off diamond-rich Sakha Republic, the largest region in Russia. "It is the best preserved adult mammoth trunk ever found," Semyon Grigoriev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, leader of the expedition told reporters. "It's red meat, skin and hairs are in good condition. It looks like a freshly killed animal meat."

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Research has begun into the "living cells" with scientists in South Korea, the U.S., Canada and Holland are all seeking permission to export samples for detailed DNA analysis.

"We have many partners now, and they all want samples," Grigoriev says. "Of course, we hope to find so called "living cell" in the samples."

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The trunk "will give us an opportunity to completely decode the DNA of the mammoth."

"Mammoth blood" was earlier found in the permafrost close to the carcass in May of this year in the New Siberian Islands. These are still undergoing analysis.
At the time, the existence of the "perfectly preserved" trunk, separated from the other remains of the female mammoth,  aged between 50 and 60 when she perished, was not known.

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"It smells like not very fresh meat. Sometimes the corpse remains of ancient animals are so decomposed that the smell is unbearable. It all depends on the preservation, here it was better and the smell was not so strong," Grigoriev adds.

"There were suspicions that marks on the beast indicated it had been killed by man. Subject to further tests, the current theory is that the woolly mammoth died perhaps from drowning after becoming mired in an ice hole or frozen swamp or possibly from illness."

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Other scientists have expressed their enthusiasm for the recent discovery. "This is the best preserved trunk of an adult mammoth," Daniel Fisher, Professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan and a member of the international team that probed the creature's remains, said.

The discovery "will contribute new insights that will be relevant for the study of mammoths everywhere," he said.

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