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'Gennadii Iudin, the Krasnoyarsk distiller made millions in the liquor trade and built Siberia's greatest private library'
W.Bruce Lincoln

Exclusive: The first pictures of blood from a 10,000 year old Siberian woolly mammoth

By Anna Liesowska
29 May 2013

Remarkable images show a test tube blood sample from a female of the long-extinct species.

First ever sample of mammoth's blood was discovered by Siberian researches. Picture: Semyon Grigoriev

Scientists say they have found both blood and muscle tissue - perfectly preserved in the ice - from a Siberian mammoth. 

The blood had dripped out of the giant animal into a natural ice capsule and it represents a dream discovery for researchers.

It comes amid a hotly contested debate on whether scientists should try to recreate the extinct species using DNA, though there now seems little doubt that this WILL happen, and the Russian team from Yakutsk that made the find is working in a partnership with South Korean scientists who are actively seeking to bring the mammoth back to life. 

first ever sample of mammoth's blood Siberia

'We were really surprised to find mammoth blood and muscle tissue,' said Semyon Grigoriev, head of the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North Eastern Federal University. Picture: Semyon Grigoriev

The find was made in temperatures of minus 10C on the New Siberian Islands - or Novosibirsk Islands, off the coast of the Republic of Sakha. 

'We were really surprised to find mammoth blood and muscle tissue,' said Semyon Grigoriev, head of the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North Eastern Federal University. 

'It is the first time we managed to obtain mammoth blood. No-one has ever seen before how the mammoth's blood flows'. 

He explained: 'The approximate age of this animal is about 10,000 years old. 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. Due to this fact the lower part of the body, including the lower jaw, and tongue tissue, was preserved very well. 

'The upper torso and two legs, which were in the soil, were gnawed by prehistoric and modern predators and almost did not survive.'

Despite this, he hails it as 'the best preserved mammoth in the history of paleontology. 

first ever sample of mammoth's blood Siberia

'For now our suspicion is that mammoth blood contains a kind of natural anti-freeze'. Picture: Semyon Grigoriev

The scientists believed from studying her teeth that this mammoth died when she was between 50 and 60 years of age. 

'Of course, we all heard the stories, that indigenous northern people found frozen mammoth meat and fed their dogs with it. However, even if this actually happened, they did not get into hands of scientists. 

'We hope that at least one living cell of the mammoth was preserved, but even in such a good condition of the carcass the chances of this are small.

'Yet it is great luck that the blood preserved and we plan to study it carefully'. 

first ever sample of mammoth's blood Siberia


first ever sample of mammoth's blood Siberia

'We have taken all possible samples: samples of blood, blood vessels, glands, soft tissue, in a word - everything that we could'. Picture: Semyon Grigoriev

'For now our suspicion is that mammoth blood contains a kind of natural anti-freeze.

'In 2010, Canadian researchers compared the DNA of the mammoth and its closest relative the Indian elephant. It turned out that mammoth haemoglobin let go of its oxygen much more readily at cold temperatures.'

With the newly-discovered mammoth 'we have taken all possible samples: samples of blood, blood vessels, glands, soft tissue, in a word - everything that we could. 

'Luckily we had taken with us on our expedition a special preservative agent for blood. 

'We decided that taking the whole carcass by helicopter to Yakutsk would be very dangerous and that we could lose invaluable material because of defrosting. We did not take the risk, and moved the rest of carcass - it weighs about a ton - from the islands to the mainland and put it into an icehouse. 

'In late July - early August, we plan to go there with our foreign colleagues for further researches.'

first ever sample of mammoth's blood Siberia


first ever sample of mammoth's blood Siberia

'We moved the rest of carcass from the islands to the mainland and put it into an icehouse'. Pictures: Semyon Grigoriev

Last year a deal was signed giving South Korean scientists exclusive rights on cloning the woolly mammoth from certain tissue samples found in the Siberian permafrost. Stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-suk's private bioengineering laboratory confirmed he is poised to make a bid to return the extinct Siberian mammoth to the planet. 

Once the tissues have been treated to a nuclear transfer process, the eggs will be implanted into the womb of a live elephant for a 22-month pregnancy.

Comments (115)

"Fred is a moron," Fred is not a moron. Woolly Mammoths appear to have gone extinct through a combination of (non-human caused) climate change and (human-caused) over-hunting. If only there were some kind of easily-accessible, global computer network you could fact-check these things on before you go calling other people "idiots."
Erik Even, Los Angeles, CA
30/05/2013 05:29
1
1
"...he, not nature has caused to go extinct..." WTF? I don't know where Fred locates himself, but like it or not, we ARE nature. We are just a really, really effective mammal. If you want to make the case for heroically saving other species, that's an easy and (probably) necessary case to make. You don't have to blame the human animal for doing what animals do. The idea behind evolution implies that there are winners and losers. The winners often eat the losers. Just as the losers did when they were formerly winners.
jeffman48, MA, US
30/05/2013 04:27
3
1
Fred, please explain to us how the human race is responsible for the mammoth's extinction.
Fred is a moron, Reality
30/05/2013 04:08
22
1
"isn't this almost the exact plot of jurassic park? seems like a bad idea" So was the movie.
Ricky Romero, Anytown, USA
30/05/2013 03:29
0
46
They are going to clone it so that rich people can hunt them and mount them on their wall.
MrDude, US
30/05/2013 03:26
8
3
This is a chance for man to start righting the wrongs he has don to this planet by restoring the species that he, not nature, has caused to go extinct. Mammoths, Tasmanian tigers, passenger pigeons, dodo birds... The list goes on...
Fred, USA
30/05/2013 03:10
0
48
"Suppose we bring back to life something that is not necessarily good?" Yea.. like Jeebus.
Jimbo Buckshot, US of A
30/05/2013 03:09
1
6
Just to study the blood with it's antifreeze like properties, might be the answer to cryogenic type long term space travel. Alot of scientific imformation to be had even if they're unable to clone the animal.
BRIAN, GEORGIA-USA
30/05/2013 03:00
21
1
"Scientists should have learnt by now that playing with mother nature ALWAYS comes back to hit us in the face..........ALWAYS! "



lol, agriculture?
linda what?, sumer
30/05/2013 02:52
13
1
isn't this almost the exact plot of jurassic park? seems like a bad idea
steve holt, sunnyvale
30/05/2013 02:42
0
6
Suppose we bring back to life something that is not necessarily good?
JackO, USA
30/05/2013 01:53
0
20
The attempted cloning of the Wooly Mammoth will be a great scientific event...
Karla F, MN, USA.
30/05/2013 01:21
19
1
"Scientists should have learnt by now that playing with mother nature ALWAYS comes back to hit us in the face..........ALWAYS!" Except for the hundreds of thousands of times playing with mother nature has advanced our civilization, increased our understanding of biology, unlocked new paths of exploration, etc.
Mikey Cooper, Orlando, FL, USA
30/05/2013 01:17
77
1
I am excited to follow the attempted cloning of the Wooly Mammoth....
Karla F, MN, USA.
30/05/2013 01:14
15
1
I agree that it would probably be a bit cruel to bring something 'to life' in this manner, unless we are prepared to pamper it and give it a great life without continuously bombarding it with scientific testing. As long as it is "happy" I could think that cloning it would be really interesting. However, it all depends on the team responsible for their actions. There are plenty of people in the world today that are miserable, no need to create another one, even if it is a curiosity.
Jodran, NorCal/USA
30/05/2013 01:11
0
14

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