Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New mammoth called "best preserved"

Ten thousand years ago, a six-month old female mammoth died on what is now the Yamal peninsula of Siberia. The mammoth calf was found by a reindeer herder as the ice and dirt covering it eroded away. Scientists were thrilled to see the animal was so well preserved its trunk and even its eyes are intact. It's being sent to Japan for expert examination. In the photograph accompanying this BBC article, the little pachyderm looks so "normal" one would not be surprised to see it get up and walk. (If it could, it would stand about 1.3 meters tall.) There is a possibility, however slight, that the new discovery might have DNA so well preserved it could contribute to a far-out idea some specialists think could actually happen: a cloning experiment that would lead to a living mammoth, or at least a half-mammoth.

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