In this June 28, 2008 file photo a sculpture of mammoths is seen in the Siberian town of Khanty-Mansiisk, 2000 km (1250 miles) east of Moscow, Russia. A Russian university said Tuesday that an international team of scientists have discovered well-preserved frozen woolly mammoth fragments deep in Siberia that may contain living cells, edging a step closer to the possibility of cloning the prehistoric animal. AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File
(AP)—Scientists have discovered well-preserved frozen woolly mammoth
fragments deep in Siberia that may contain living cells, edging a tad
closer to the “Jurassic Park” possibility of cloning a prehistoric
animal, the mission’s organizer said Tuesday.
North-Eastern Federal University said an international team of
researchers had discovered mammoth hair, soft tissues and bone marrow
some 328 feet (100 m) underground during a summer expedition in the
northeastern province of Yakutia.
chief Semyon Grigoryev said Korean scientists with the team had set a
goal of finding living cells in the hope of cloning a mammoth.
Scientists have previously found bones and fragments but not living
told the online newspaper Vzglyad it would take months of research to
determine whether they have indeed found the cells.
after thorough laboratory research will it be known whether these are
living cells or not,” he said, adding that would take until the end of
the year at the earliest.
mammoths are thought to have died out around 10,000 years ago, although
scientists think small groups of them lived longer in Alaska and on
Russia’s Wrangel Island off the Siberian coast.
already have deciphered much of the genetic code of the woolly mammoth
from balls of mammoth hair found frozen in the Siberian permafrost. Some
believe it’s possible to recreate the prehistoric animal if they find
living cells in the permafrost.
who succeed in recreating an extinct animal could claim a “Jurassic
Park prize,” the concept of which is being developed by the X Prize
Foundation that awarded a 2004 prize for the first private spacecraft.
Source: The Associated Press