Part of complete coverage on
Will mammoths be brought back to life? Liquid blood find fuels cloning hopes
October 2, 2013 -- Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
- Scientists discover liquid blood in mammoth carcass in Siberia
- Head of expedition calls find "the best preserved mammoth in history"
- South Korean company to explore cloning mammoth using the blood
(CNN) -- Remember when woolly mammoths roamed the planet? No? Well don't worry if you missed the last ice age -- scientists have moved one step closer to possibly bringing the beasts back to life with the discovery of liquid blood in a well-preserved mammoth carcass in Siberia.
Researchers from the Northeast Federal University in Yakutsk found the 10,000-year-old female mammoth buried in ice on the Lyakhovsky Islands off the coast of northeast Russia.
Scientists say they poked the frozen creature with a pick and dark liquid blood flowed out.
"The fragments of muscle tissues, which we've found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat. The reason for such preservation is that the lower part of the body was underlying in pure ice," said Semyon Grigoriev, the head of the expedition and of the university's Mammoth Museum, in a statement on the university's website.
Scientists extract woolly mammoth blood
"The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities below the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out," he said. "Interestingly, the temperature at the time of excavation was -7 to -10ºC. It may be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryoprotective properties."
Ice age baby mammoth goes on display in Hong Kong
Cryoprotectant is a substance found in modern fish and amphibians living in the Arctic and Antarctic that minimizes the damage to the creatures' tissue in freezing temperatures.
Grigoriev told The Siberian Times newspaper it was the first time mammoth blood had been discovered and called it "the best preserved mammoth in the history of paleontology."
"We suppose that the mammoth fell into water or got bogged down in a swamp, could not free herself and died. Due to this fact the lower part of the body, including the lower jaw, and tongue tissue, was preserved very well," he said.
Grigoriev called the liquid blood "priceless material" for the university's joint project with South Korean scientists who are hoping to clone a woolly mammoth, which has been extinct for thousands of years.
The controversial Sooam Biotech Research Foundation is headed up by Hwang Woo-suk -- the disgraced former Seoul National University scientist who claimed in 2004 that he had successfully cloned human embryonic stem cells before admitting he had faked his findings.
Hwang, who also cloned the world's first puppy, was forced to admit he had fabricated the stem cell data and apologized in January 2006 after a panel of scientists found he had not derived human stem cells from eggs, as he claimed.
A one-hour documentary about the joint Russia-South Korean quest to clone a mammoth from the creature's remains aired on the National Geographic Channel in the U.S. in April.
Grigoriev says the mammoth carcass has not been moved yet for fear of damaging it -- and that his team will join foreign researches in Siberia for further research in July.
Newly discovered dinosaur fossil is a primitive bird
Part of complete coverage on
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1210 GMT (2010 HKT)
As fans of "Grey's Anatomy," "ER" and any other hospital-based show can tell you, emergency-room doctors are fighting against time.
May 29, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
Ask 100 robotics scientists why they're inspired to create modern-day automatons and you may get 100 different answers.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
From the air, the Namibian desert looks like it has a bad case of chicken pox.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)
The trend for nature-inspired designs has spread across industries from crab-style deep-sea vessels to insect-inspired buildings.
May 25, 2014 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
Consider it the taxonomist's equivalent of a People magazine's Most Beautiful List.
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1532 GMT (2332 HKT)
For the first time, scientists have shown it is possible to alter the biological alphabet and still have a living organism that passes on the genetic information.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1148 GMT (1948 HKT)
Do we really want to go the route of "Jurassic Park"?
May 2, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Catch a train from the sky! Perhaps in the future, the high-rise superstructures could help revolutionize the way we travel.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
In a nondescript hotel ballroom last month at the South by Southwest Interactive festival, Andras Forgacs offered a rare glimpse at the sci-fi future of food.
March 20, 2014 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
For a Tyrannosaurus rex looking for a snack, nothing might have tasted quite like the "chicken from hell."
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 2229 GMT (0629 HKT)
Everyone is familiar with Tyrannosaurus rex, but humanity is only now meeting its much smaller Arctic cousin.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1712 GMT (0112 HKT)
At about 33 feet long, weighing 4 to 5 tons and baring large blade-shaped teeth, the dinosaur Torvosaurus gurneyi was a formidable creature.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
This Pachyrhinosaurus can go to the head of its class.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Science is still trying to work out how exactly we reason through moral problems, and how we judge others on the morality of their actions. But patterns are emerging.
February 28, 2014 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
A promising way to stop a deadly disease, or an uncomfortable step toward what one leading ethicist called eugenics?
February 15, 2014 -- Updated 0107 GMT (0907 HKT)
Seattle paleontologists safely removed the largest fossilized mammoth tusk discovered in the region from a construction site.
April 23, 2013 -- Updated 1013 GMT (1813 HKT)
A mysterious, circular structure, with a diameter greater than the length of a Boeing 747 jet, has been discovered submerged about 30 feet underneath the Sea of Galilee in Israel.
January 17, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
Every corner of the planet offers some sort of natural peculiarity with an explanation that makes us wish we'd studied harder in junior high Earth science class.
November 14, 2013 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
Deep in a remote, hot, dry patch of northwestern Australia lies one of the earliest detectable signs of life on the planet, tracing back nearly 3.5 billion years, scientists say.
September 4, 2013 -- Updated 1910 GMT (0310 HKT)
We leave genetic traces of ourselves wherever we go -- in a strand of hair left on the subway or in saliva on the side of a glass at a cafe.
Today's five most popular stories