A baby horse that went extinct about 40,000 years ago was found almost intact, flesh and skin, frozen in the Siberian Arctic. Scientists now want to clone this foal back to life as a precursor to the planned resurrection of the Woolly Mammoth.
A team of scientists made up of researchers from Russia and South Korea have come together to sequence the baby horse's genes and maybe try and bring it back to life, notes a report by the Mirror. This experiment is seen as a first step before they take a crack at the Mammoth. The foal, say the researchers was frozen in ice for a long time -- between 30,000 and 40,000 years and was reportedly found in a region called the mouth of hell, inside a crater near the coldest city in the world.
The ice perfectly preserved the animal which, according to the researchers died just 20 days after it was born. The animal was completely black -- tail and mane included, except for a distinct stripe along its spine. Its features came to light after the scientists washed it down, removing the thousands of years worth of dirt and mud off its body, notes the report.
А вот и эксклюзивные фотографии с презентации туши древнего жеребенка, найденного в Верхоянском районе и жившего 40 тысяч лет назад. Ученые университета взяли образцы шерсти, крови, плоти и кости для дальнейшего изучения.
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Lead researcher at Russia's Mammoth Museum Dr Semyon Grigoriev, speaking about the animal revealed that the animal's muscle tissues were undamaged and well preserved, "so we managed to get samples from this unique find for biotechnology research."
Professor Hwang Woo Suk from South Korea, known as a specialist in cloning, also flew to Russia to lead the search for any living DNA that can be extracted from the animal and can be put to use in trying to bring it back to life.
"If we manage to find a cell," he said, "then we will do our best to clone the unique animal."
To breed this clone, scientists are working on a horse species similar to the now extinct Lenskaya breed as a surrogate, he explained. This is similar to a plan of using a modern day elephant to clone a mammoth, however, this is not a direct comparison, he said. This is because the differences between a modern horse and the extinct one are far less when compared to the Woolly Mammoth and the elephant, says the professor.
There is "a very big distance between the ancient mammoth and the elephant", he said adding that there was a million years of evolution between the two species.