Another surprising claim surfaces from mammoth carcass — blood

More hype and I remain… reserved.

Russian scientists claim to have found woolly mammoth blood in preserved carcass | Herald Sun.

An expedition led by Russian scientists earlier this month uncovered the well-preserved carcass of a female mammoth on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean.

Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the expedition, said the animal died at the age of around 60 some 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, and that it was the first time that an old female had been found.

But what was more surprising was that the carcass was so well preserved that it still had blood and muscle tissue.

“When we broke the ice beneath her stomach, the blood flowed out from there, it was very dark,” Professor Grigoryev, who is a scientist at the Yakutsk-based Northeastern Federal University, said.

“This is the most astonishing case in my entire life. How was it possible for it to remain in liquid form? And the muscle tissue is also red, the colour of fresh meat,” he added.

As far as I can tell, it has not been confirmed that this is blood. I’m not even clear if it could be blood or body fluid or just liquid that has leached through the carcass. If it was frozen solid for thousands of years, could it be? So, this is a very interesting story but as with almost all stories about cloning mammoth finds, we should be very cautious and not get hopes up yet. That’s a long time to still retain genetic material in a state where it can be used for cloning.

What’s more, the scientist, Grigoryev, has made similar “astonishing” [dubious] claims before.

He is associated with this conference presentation of a CT scan but not the lead author and this does not have mention of cloning possibilities.

Once again, I’m witholding judgement on this, the sources are shaky, the evidence dubious for now and we have a long way to go. Also, science isn’t done in local papers. There has been no analysis done on the findings yet.

Addition: I’m not the only “Hmmm…”

  9 comments for “Another surprising claim surfaces from mammoth carcass — blood

  1. Chris Howard
    May 29, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    This kind of stuff really makes me conflicted. I really want this to be true, but have been burned so many times before.

    Still, how cool would this be!

  2. Geoff Offermann
    May 29, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    What’s so interesting about it?

  3. scott auden
    May 29, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    even if it’s liquid now, it had to have been frozen; the cell damage must be extensive. It’s fascinating, but I’m not sure why this would promise better genetic material than hair or bone marrow.

  4. Nos482
    May 29, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Why would anyone want to clone mammoths in the first place?
    Earth is getting warmer, the next ice age could be hundreds if not thousands of years away… now I’m no expert by any means, but somehow I think that mammoths would prefer a cooler climate.

    Dinosaurs on the other hand… =P

    • scott auden
      May 29, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      I don’t believe the intent (in cloning a mammoth) is to re-introduce a population. Paleontologists have been severely limited in their attempts to visualize extinct animals. A living cloned animal would provide tremendous opportunities for study. Someday perhaps it will be possible to read dna directly, , but currently, growing what it encodes is the only way to really do that. That said, I refer only to researchers’ motives. the PT Barnums of the 21st century, likely have other plans.

  5. One Eyed Jack
    May 29, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    I’m still waiting for my Flintstones’ style bronto burger. Rack o’ mammoth ribs instead?

  6. May 30, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    It seems likely that a number of extinct animals will be resurrected within the coming years. If it can be done it will be done.

  7. May 30, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    Unless they’ve tested it, it seems pretty irresponsible to report it as blood. Ever bought a bloody steak from the supermarket? I’ll bet you haven’t—that red stuff is myoglobin, not blood. How could they tell the difference between the two in the field? I’m hopeful of a good find here, but we need to wait before we can say there was “blood flowing” as many media outlets are reporting.

  8. Sam
    May 30, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Bring back the woolly mammoth! Why to put the poor creature in a zoo or forbid a circus and treat them as well as we do elephants. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8e8Ttfz-pY

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