People look at the skeleton of a mammoth at an open-pit coal mine in Kostolac, some 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Belgrade June 27, 2012. Archaeologists in Serbia say they have discovered a rare mammoth field containing the remains of at least five of the giant beasts that lived here tens of thousands of years ago. (Photo : Reuters)
A Russian-led international group of scientist has discovered the remains of a well-preserved woolly mammoth in the Yakutia region of Russia's Arctic coast, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
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According to the report, the team found remains along with fur and bone marrow with some cell nuclei intact and hopes to discover living cells in order to clone the long extinct creature. The discovery was made last week by the Yana 2012 expedition in a 16-20 feet deep tunnel dug by locals.
Seymyon Grigoryev, a professor at North-East Federal University told Reuters, "All we need for cloning is one living cell, which means it can reproduce autonomously. Then it will be no problem for us to multiply them to tens of thousands cells."
Grigoryev added that remains would need to remain in a stable temperature of -4 and -20 Celsius (between 28 and -4 Fahrenheit) to be viable. "We are counting on our region's permafrost to have kept some cells alive. But it is unlikely," he told Reuters.
Some confusion has been reported over whether scientist had discovered living cells or intact cells. "What we have found are intact cells, with a whole nucleus," Grigoryev said. Finding living cells would provide the necessary material to make a clone.
A South Korean scientist, Hwang Woo Suk, will examine specimens found to determine if the cells are living, Reuters reported. The scientist's Sooam Biotech is responsible for several animal clonings in the past. Despite numerous attempts, scientists have been unable to clone the woolly mammoth.
According to the Washington Post it could take months of research to determine if living cells have been found. Grigoryev told online newspaper Vzglvad, "Only after thorough laboratory research will it be known whether these are living cells or not," the Post reported.
Woolly mammoths are believed to have become extinct about 10,000 years ago, although some scientist believed that small groups of them lived longer in Alaska and on Russia's Wrangel Island off the Siberian coast, the Washington Post reported.