The woolly mammoth cloning project might have just gotten a massive boost from a brand new find on an isolated Siberian island. Scientists discovered a frozen fully-grown female mammoth carcass with parts of it in immaculate condition. Not only that, but they found its blood, preserved and still liquid despite it being -10C.
The mammoth's lower half seems to have been completely caged in ice, preserving the 10,000-15,000-year-old tissue as if it was a steak you'd just thrown in the freezer. The huge beast seems to have been between 50 and 60 years old at its death, and the researchers reckon it had fallen through some ice becoming trapped, with its top half open to predators, but its bottom half fully protected and preserved for millennia.
The strange thing about it was that there was a pocket of the animal's blood preserved below the carcass, which was still liquid at well below freezing, indicating that it must have some sort of cryoprotectant properties, a bit like anti-freeze. Samples have been taken for analysis, so hopefully we'll find out more soon.
Given the immaculate state of the muscle tissue and other bits and pieces, there's a good chance researchers will be able to find intact DNA, and possibly enough cells to give the mammoth cloning project something to work with. Currently the whole thing has stalled a bit because there just wasn't enough good mammoth tissue to get things started. Whether it's right or wrong to bring the beast back from the dead, it would be amazing to see the things roaming the tundra again. [RT]