A frozen woolly mammoth named Yuka goes on display in Japan. The female was found in Russia and was 10 years old when she died. Scientists have made several unsuccessful attempts to revive the species. But mammoth expert Norihisa Inuzuka says Yuka should provide more information about these creatures.
Norihisa Inuzuka, mammoth expert, saying (Japanese): "With this, we can dig deeper into the reasons why species became extinct and apply the lessons learnt to the human race which might be facing its own dangers of extinction. I think it can help us learn to reflect more deeply about our own existence."
What makes the carcass special is that it is extraordinarily well-preserved with presence of liquid blood in it along with pink flesh and fur. The blood, according to scientists, could be used to clone the animal.
"When we broke the ice beneath her stomach, the blood flowed out from there, it was very dark. This is the most astonishing case in my entire life. How was it possible for it to remain in liquid form? And the muscle tissue is also red, the colour of fresh meat," Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the expedition that found Yuki said.
Yuka's lower part is well-preserved as it ended up in a swamp before it froze, but its head along with back show signs of gnawing, Grigoryev added.
Mammoths are an extinct group of elephants that belong to the genus Mammuthus. Their ancestors had migrated from Africa about 3.5 million years back. The most famous of these ancient elephants is the woolly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius, which is a close cousin of the modern elephant. The woolly mammoth appeared in the northeastern Siberia around 400,000 years back and was well-adapted to cold with dense fur, short ears and a dense undercoat.
The exhibition runs from July 13th to September 16th.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald