Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Baby mammoth found

Expand Messages
  • minnesotastan
    Off-topic, but an amazing find - be sure to go to original link and click to enlarge the photo! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6284214.stm Baby
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 10, 2007
      Off-topic, but an amazing find - be sure to go to original link and
      click to enlarge the photo!

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6284214.stm


      Baby mammoth discovery unveiled
      By Paul Rincon
      Science reporter, BBC News


      The mammoth's trunk and eyes are still intact

      Enlarge Image
      A baby mammoth unearthed in the permafrost of north-west Siberia could
      be the best preserved specimen of its type, scientists have said.

      The frozen carcass is to be sent to Japan for detailed study.

      The six-month-old female calf was discovered on the Yamal peninsula of
      Russia and is thought to have died 10,000 years ago.

      The animal's trunk and eyes are still intact and some of its fur
      remains on the body.


      In terms of its state of preservation, this is the world's most
      valuable discovery
      Alexei Tikhonov, Russian Academy of Sciences
      Mammoths are an extinct member of the elephant family. Adults often
      possessed long, curved tusks and a coat of long hair.

      The 130cm (4ft 3ins) tall, 50kg Siberian specimen dates to the end of
      the last Ice Age, when the great beasts were vanishing from the planet.

      It was discovered by a reindeer herder in May this year. Yuri Khudi
      stumbled across the carcass near the Yuribei River, in Russia's
      Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.

      Missing tail

      Last week, an international delegation of experts convened in the town
      of Salekhard, near the discovery site, to carry out a preliminary
      examination of the animal.

      "The mammoth has no defects except that its tail was bit off," said
      Alexei Tikhonov, vice director of the Zoological Institute of the
      Russian Academy of Sciences and a member of the delegation.

      Map, BBC
      "In terms of its state of preservation, this is the world's most
      valuable discovery," he said.

      Larry Agenbroad, director of the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs research
      centre in South Dakota, US, said: "To find a juvenile mammoth in any
      condition is extremely rare." Dr Agenbroad added that he knew of only
      three other examples.

      Some scientists hold out hope that well preserved sperm or other cells
      containing viable DNA could be used to resurrect the mammoth.

      Despite the inherent difficulties, Dr Agenbroad remains optimistic
      about the potential for cloning.

      "When we got the Jarkov mammoth [found frozen in Taimyr, Siberia, in
      1997], the geneticists told me: 'if you can get us good DNA, we'll
      have a baby mammoth for you in 22 months'," he told BBC News.

      Lucrative trade

      That specimen failed to yield DNA of sufficient quality, but some
      researchers believe it may only be a matter of time until the right
      find emerges from Siberia.

      Bringing mammoths back from the dead could take the form of injecting
      sperm into the egg of a relative, such as the Asian elephant, to try
      to create a hybrid.

      Alternatively, scientists could attempt to clone a pure mammoth by
      fusing the nucleus of a mammoth cell with an elephant egg cell
      stripped of its DNA.

      But Dr Agenbroad warned that scientifically valuable Siberian mammoth
      specimens were being lost to a lucrative trade in ivory, skin, hair
      and other body parts.

      The city of Yakutsk in Russia's far east forms the hub for this trade.

      Local people are scouring the Siberian permafrost for remains to sell
      on, and, according to Dr Agenbroad, more carcasses could be falling
      into the hands of dealers than are finding their way to scientists.

      Japan transfer

      "These products are primarily for collectors and it is usually
      illicit," he explained.

      "Originally it was for ivory, now it is everything. You can now go on
      almost any fossil marketing website and find mammoth hair for $50 an
      inch. It has grown beyond anyone's imagination."

      Dr Agenbroad added: "Russia says that any mammoth remains are the
      property of the Russian government, but nobody really pays attention
      to that."

      The Yamal mammoth is expected to be transferred to Jikei University in
      Tokyo, Japan, later this year.

      A team led by Professor Naoki Suzuki will carry out an extensive study
      of the carcass, including CT scans of its internal organs.

      Mammoths first appeared in the Pliocene Epoch, 4.8 million years ago.

      What caused their widespread disappearance at the end of the last Ice
      Age remains unclear; but climate change, overkill by human hunters, or
      a combination of both could have been to blame.

      One population of mammoths lived on in isolation on Russia's remote
      Wrangel Island until about 5,000 years ago.
    • bigalemc2
      Stan - That was a great article about the baby mammoth. It happens to be one of the things Rick and I are touching on, but if it is off-topic I won t go any
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 4 9:54 PM
        Stan -

        That was a great article about the baby mammoth. It happens to be one
        of the things Rick and I are touching on, but if it is off-topic I
        won't go any further on it, not here.

        . . . . Steve
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.