Skip to content

Baby mammoth discovery

By on July 11, 2007 in EDGE Updates, Uncategorized

Source: BBC News Online 

A baby mammoth unearthed in the permafrost of north-west Siberia could be the best preserved specimen of its type, scientists have said.

The six-month old female calf was discovered on the Yamal peninsula of Russia and is thought to have died 10,000 years ago.

The animal is almost perfectly preserved.  Its trunk and eyes are still intact and some of its fur remains on the body.  Only three other specimens of juvenile mammoths are known to scientists.

A full size reconstruction of a mammoth species, the woolly mammoth, at Ipswich Museum, Ipswich, Suffolk

Mammoths were members of the elephant family that went extinct at the end of the last Ice Age.  They first appeared in the Pliocene Epoch, 4.8 million years ago, and would certainly be considered EDGE species if they were still around today.  Adults often possessed long, curved tusks and a coat of long hair.

It is thought that climate change and overhunting by humans may have been factors in the disappearance of the mammoths and many other large mammals at the end of the last Ice Age.


Bringing mammoths back from the dead…

Some scientists hold out hope that well preserved sperm or other cells containing viable DNA could be used to resurrect the mammoth.

Bringing mammoths back from the dead could take the form of injecting sperm into the egg of a relative, such as the Asian elephant, to try to create a hybrid.

Alternatively, scientists could attempt to clone a pure mammoth by fusing the nucleus of a mammoth cell with an elephant egg cell stripped of its DNA.

For more information and a photograph of the baby mammoth see:

BBC News

BBC Wildfacts (Woolly mammoth)