A woolly mammoth carcass, still with liquid blood in it, was recently discovered in the Arctic. The 10,000-year-old mammoth was found in the remote New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean. A place where temperatures get as low as -10 Celsius. The mammoth is estimated to have been about 60 years old when it died.
Listen to this story though, it’s crazy: “We suppose that the mammoth fell into water or got bogged down in a swamp, could not free herself and died,” expedition leader Semyon Grigoryev told the Siberian Times. “Due to this fact the lower part of the body, including the lower jaw, and tongue tissue, was preserved very well.”
But the best part — when the researchers broke the ice that was around the mammoth’s belly, dark, thick blood started flowing out. Blood flowing out of a 10,000-year-old body — sounds like something out of a cheap movie.
“This is the most astonishing case in my entire life,” Grigoryev told the Agence France-Presse. “How was it possible for it to remain in liquid form? And the muscle tissue is also red, the color of fresh meat.”
The researchers also collected the mammoths teeth, bones and muscle tissue. Which have been sent to labs in Yakutsk. Some researchers have peculated that there may be some compounds in mammoth look that act like an antifreeze.
It’s worth noting that the area that the mammoth was found in has been experiencing significant permafrost melting and rising temperatures in recent years — which no doubt factored into the discovery.
This discovery has led to some further talk about potentially cloning such an animal, the idea has been brought up quite a bit in recent years. “In 2012, North-Eastern Federal University signed a deal with the South Korean foundation that cloned the world’s first dog in 2005,” with the idea of exploring the possibility of cloning a mammoth. If it were to be done, researchers would use a rather different species of animal — an African elephant — as a surrogate.
In my opinion, such projects are solely about human vanity, and offer no real benefits. Bringing an animal back from extinction this way is practically impossible and very resource intensive. Even if the cloning process was more reliable and produced healthier animals than it does — without significant genetic diversity species simply can’t survive.
Bringing back even a couple of different specimens would simply result in animals that are significantly inbred and very susceptible to environmental changes and disease, and probably developmental disorders. Not to mention the fact that the world that these animals lived in is long gone. And also that species evolve in mutualism with the myriad numbers of bacteria, viruses, and other small organisms that live within and on them, and also that constitute their environment — without such species, animals can’t survive. Without the microbes that live within us, we could not survive for even a few minutes.
The world is an entirely different one now, and would not be benefited by bringing a mammoth back. If resources are to be spent anywhere, it should no doubt be to stem the enormous rate of extinction and habitat loss that is currently occurring. It’s been estimated that as much as “that if the current rate of human disruption of the biosphere continues, that one half of all of the world’s multicellular life forms will be extinct by 2100.”
Spending significant resources to bring back a single specimen of mammoth while most of the other large animals on this planet are rapidly headed onwards extinction — does that make sense?