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Amazingly well preserved woolly mammoth discovered in Russia

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's still woolly . A female woolly mammoth found frozen in Russia last May has gone on display in an exhibition hall in Tokyo. The 39,000-year-old mammoth will be on display at the hall in Yokohama in the south of the Japanese city from now until September 16. So well preserved, it has caused some observers to say as if the mammoth "died yesterday."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Discovered in an ice tomb in the New Siberian Islands, or Novosibirsk Islands, the upper torso and two legs, found in the soil rather than the ice, were gnawed upon by prehistoric and modern predators and almost did not survive.

Visitors will be able to clearly see the mammoth's snout, legs and torso. Scientists who found the mammoth were also able to extract a blood sample from the beast, the first ever well-preserved sample of blood from a mammoth -- and could be used to recreate the extinct species.

Preserved muscle tissue was also found from the creature, aged between 50 and 60 when she died, according to the Russian team who discovered the carcass.
 
The discovery comes during 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.

Head of the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North Eastern Federal University Semyon Grigoriev, told reporters "We were really surprised to find mammoth blood and muscle tissue, hailing it as "the best preserved mammoth in the history of paleontology. It is the first time we managed to obtain mammoth blood. No one has ever seen before how the mammoth's blood flows."

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."

"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 said.

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