Frozen Mammoth Yields Astounding Find

Blood poured from carcass, say scientists

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted May 30, 2013 8:59 AM CDT | Updated Jun 2, 2013 6:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – When Russian scientists who discovered a frozen mammoth half encased in ice prodded the 10,000-year-old animal with an ice pick, they were in for quite the shock: out poured blood, they claim. "This is the most astonishing case in my entire life," expedition head Semyon Grigoriev tells the AFP, adding that, more astounding still, "the muscle tissue is also red, the color of fresh meat."

The discovery was made last month on a remote island off the northern coast of Siberia. Though he believes the female's upper body was long ago eaten by other animals, the lower body was encased in ice, preserving two legs and the stomach. Grigoriev tells the Siberian Times (which has a bunch of photos) he believes the preserved condition is due to the lucky fact that the carcass didn't defrost and refreeze over the years; he also cited the blood's possible "cryo-protective properties," reports Wired. He says the discovery will go a long way in aiding South Korea's efforts to clone a mammoth: It "gives us a really good chance of finding live cells."

The frozen mammoth was 50 to 60 years old when it died. Researchers guess it fell through the ice while fleeing predators.
The frozen mammoth was 50 to 60 years old when it died. Researchers guess it fell through the ice while fleeing predators.   (Semyon Grigoriev/Northeastern Federal University)
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