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Baby Mammoth Found Intact

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the pleistocene-park dept.

Biotech 227

knoll99 writes "Scientists unveiled the discovery Wednesday of a baby mammoth found in the permafrost of north-west Siberia. The remains of the six-month-old female mammoth were discovered in a remarkable state of preservation on the Yamal peninsula of Russia in May, a Reuters report said. The specimen is believed to be the best of its kind to date."

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227 comments

Go well with (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832305)

some scrambled T-rex eggs, but then again I'm just that type of mutha fuckin balla.

Re:Go well with (5, Funny)

painworthy (979388) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832411)

In other news, Rosie O' Donnell still reported to be missing.

Criminologists believe that she may have been abducted, but a truck powerful enough to hold such capacity is not known to man.

Re:Go well with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832661)

Ooh, that smells WIIIILD!

Chapelle was a freaking genius... sniff, sniff.

Re:Go well with (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832907)

Make sure you sprinkle some diamonds in that shit. It's the most baller shit you can possibly do. Plus, it'll make your dookie twinkle, man.

Dear mods, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19833415)

please stop modding funny posts you don't understand as trolls.

that's nothing,just wait (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832323)

until they discover a frozen Draenei

Re:that's nothing,just wait (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832455)

Wikipedia article on Draenei [wikipedia.org] in case anybody is as lost as I am. This is the great thing about wikipedia over any other traditional encyclopedia. Although some may say it's not as accurate, or reliable, it definitely has a wider breadth of knowledge and obscure articles than any other encyclopedia I've ever seen.

Re:that's nothing,just wait (4, Funny)

Evilest Doer (969227) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833227)

Although some may say it's not as accurate, or reliable, it definitely has a wider breadth of knowledge and obscure articles than any other encyclopedia I've ever seen.
Plus, it has the words "Don't Panic" enscribed in large, friendly letters on the cover.

Re:that's nothing,just wait (4, Funny)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832705)

In either case, the important question to be answered after having encountered the finest example of something we've never seen before is, "Will it Blend?" [willitblend.com]

*Note: I am not in any way affiliated with that site. I just want to see more crap go into blenders and be filmed.

Re:that's nothing,just wait (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832747)

I was surprised to read(in the iPhone: will it blend story) how many people haven't seen it. I would have been telling everyone about it, I just assumed I was the last to know.

In case you don't know, you can go to WillItBlend.com and suggest stuff to blend.

Tissue and fluids? (5, Insightful)

An Ominous Coward (13324) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832325)

The Jurassic Park-esque cloning talk is definitely going to be the focus of most of the discussion, but have any of the articles mentioned how well the tissues, organs, and fluids are preserved? This seems like an extraordinary chance to find hard evidence on what caused their extinction.

Re:Tissue and fluids? (4, Funny)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832371)

have any of the articles mentioned how well the tissues, organs, and fluids are preserved?
More importantly, what does mammoth taste like? Could this be the new secret ingredient in Iron Chef?

Re:Tissue and fluids? (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832391)

More importantly...will it blend?

Re:Tissue and fluids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832971)

LOL! Mod parent up :-D

Re:Tissue and fluids? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19833487)

More importantly, will it run Linux?

Re:Tissue and fluids? (4, Interesting)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832623)

Hah, you know, I was about to say "We already know what Mammoth tastes like as early explorers who found similar frozen specimens ate them"... but, well, I was wrong, no-one in modern times has to anyone's knowledge actually eaten mammoth meat [stupidquestion.net].

So, there you go, this is the best chance to find out!

And I was concerned when I read that it was being shipped to Japan that they would consider eating it, what with their terrible track record of eating endangered animals.

Re:Tissue and fluids? (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833439)

I'd wager heavily that the meat will be seriously tainted by freezer burn.

Re:Tissue and fluids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832961)

Of course they taste good! That's why they're extinct.

Re:Tissue and fluids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19833063)

The reuters video link says the baby mammoth will be sent to a Japanese university to be "studied". If they study mammoths the same way they study whales, I'm sure we'll find out what mammoths taste like soon!

Re:Tissue and fluids? (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832387)

I couldn't find any information on that. The article I read mentioned that they are looking into cloning it.

I hope the do so. I also hope it it purple with yellow spots, and smells like Green Apple flavored jolly ranchers.

That would be cool. it would also be a geneticist last day of work, but they would go down in history as the first great genetic prank.

Re:Tissue and fluids? (2, Informative)

saintjah (1126939) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832481)

That'd be interesting, but the fact that this mammoth most likely died from an unrelated cause and was frozen afterwards may work against it "holding" the information that we want to find out about extinction?

it's not that mysterious what caused extinction: (4, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832503)

us

whenever mankind shows up, the slowly reproducing, tasty giant beasts and megafauna disappear, sometimes pretty quicky

off the top of my head, it happened to

the auroch [wikipedia.org]

the irish elk [wikipedia.org]

the moa [wikipedia.org]

steller's sea cow [wikipedia.org] (wiped out in 30 years, go progress!)

i'm sure slashdotters here could pull out a couple of dozen other examples

Re:it's not that mysterious what caused extinction (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19833165)

other example: unfortunately, not you.

Re:Tissue and fluids? (2, Informative)

quantaman (517394) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832879)

The Jurassic Park-esque cloning talk is definitely going to be the focus of most of the discussion, but have any of the articles mentioned how well the tissues, organs, and fluids are preserved? This seems like an extraordinary chance to find hard evidence on what caused their extinction.
From TFA

"Such a unique skin condition protects all the internal organs from modern microbes and micro-organisms ... In terms of its future genetic, molecular and microbiological studies, this is just an unprecedented specimen."

But Tikhonov dismissed suggestions the mammoth could be cloned and used to breed a live mammoth. Cloning can only be done if whole cells are intact, but the freezing conditions will have caused the cells to burst, he Tikhonov.

Turkey Baster.. (2, Insightful)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832343)

Time to extract the DNA and impregnate an African elephant to mess with nature in a way we shouldn't.

Re:Turkey Baster.. (2, Informative)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832397)

According to TFA, they can't because they need intact cells, and they'll all have burst from the freezing process.

sequencing might still be possible... (2, Interesting)

reversible physicist (799350) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832807)

Biologists are getting good at sequencing [wikipedia.org] DNA very fast. This is done by breaking many copies of the DNA up into little overlapping pieces which are separately sequenced; then these overlapping subsequences are fit together, like a puzzle. A bunch of mostly intact DNA would be a lot like a bunch of mostly intact copies of the same puzzle. I would expect that it should be possible to get a completely correct sequence as long as the DNA in some of the cells isn't too badly damaged. They could also get a lot of help in this process from the sequences of close modern relatives. Synthesizing a complete undamaged copy of the DNA should eventually be possible. Maybe it could be done by doing search/replace using the diff's from a modern relative?

Re:Turkey Baster.. (2, Informative)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832865)

"...and they'll all have burst from the freezing process."

Technically, cell rupture occurs as a result of the thawing process, and is not related directly to freezing.

It is possible to control thawing and avoid cell rupture if an organism is found while still originally frozen. I suspect something such as this 6 month old Mammoth has been subjected to more than one cycle of being frozen and thawed out.

Re:Turkey Baster.. (2, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833037)

You don't need intact cells, but rather fairly intact nuclei. Nucleus is a more robust structure than the cell membrane, and I would't be surprised if we could find relatively intact nuclei in the tissue, depending on the amount of time that passed between the animal's death and the freezing of the body.

Re:Turkey Baster.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832415)

"...way we shouldn't."

Says who?

Re:Turkey Baster.. (1)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832717)

"Says me!" - The G-Man I'm a bit of a "prophet". I just don't think we should do things for the sole purpose of messing with nature.

Re:Turkey Baster.. (4, Insightful)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832975)

To be fair, the purpose isn't to "mess with nature." It's not like scientists are saying, "Let's screw up the natural order of things," right? The point of doing this, if it's even possible, would be some combination of these closely related reasons: (1) satisfying our curiosity about what these things were like, (2) giving a species a second chance to live, (3) creating something interesting that no living human has seen, and (4) profiting from building an Ice Age Park. Aren't any of those legitimate reasons?

Re:Turkey Baster.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832753)

Says that asshole. Don't listen to him; mess with nature.

Re:Turkey Baster.. (1)

the_tsi (19767) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832473)

Haven't you heard that song by Loverboy, "Mammoth and Elephant DNA Just Won't Splice"?

Re:Turkey Baster.. (4, Interesting)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832715)

not at all, humans killed off mammoths in the first place, brining them back would be righting a wrong of sorts.

Of course, what I _really_ want to see brought back is the giant ground sloth
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megatherium [wikipedia.org]
Imagine a huge furry clawed creature the size of a bull elephant wandering around on its hind legs towering over 20 feet tall. I can't wait.

Re:Turkey Baster.. (1)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832913)

I wonder if it could withstand the Balmer Chair of Death. That would be the most impressive animal if it were living.

Re:Turkey Baster.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832963)

humans killed off mammoths in the first place

That's been proposed as a possibility. But recent evidence [livescience.com] suggests a comet, not human activity, may be to blame.

Re:Turkey Baster.. (1)

quizzicus (891184) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833353)

Assuming we could get intact DNA, have we ever cloned a living animal in the uterus of a closely related species? Beyond that, the hormonal and chemical environment created by the mother has a huge effect on a developing fetus. I wouldn't expect the clone to come out anything like its descendant.

Cloning (1)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832363)

I've heard that scientists hope to extract DNA from a mammoth and then use that to make one (by means of a female elephant). I wonder if there are still scientists hoping to clone a mammoth, and if so, I wonder if this baby mammoth has some good DNA (to date, all known mammoths' DNA had degraded too much for use).

Re:Cloning (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832531)

Are mammoths and elephants even closely enough related for this to work? Wouldn't the body just detect the mammoth embryo (oxymoron) as a foreign substance and try to get rid of it. We have enough trouble with transplanting organs from the same species, I can't imagine you'd have much luck growing a fetus from one species in the womb of another species. Also, since the DNA specimens are so degraded, what's the chance that they could fill in the holes in the DNA with some other animal (possibly an Elephant) like they did in Jurassic Park. However, I think I'd have to recommend against using frog DNA.

Re:Cloning (3, Informative)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832633)

No idea. However, I just googled: mammoth elephan cloning and found some interesting things to read on the topic. From the first result:

October 17, 1999:
A team of French, American, Dutch and Russian paleontologists successfully airlifted a male, 23 tonne (25 ton) woolly mammoth from its grave in Siberia where it had been frozen for 20,000 years. It was almost complete except for its head which had been exposed to air in the past. Since the species has been extinct for over 10,000 years, some scientists have proposed that attempts be made to breed a living mammoth from DNA, sperm or cell nucleus retrieved from the carcass. A modern elephant ovum would be used, because it is the closest living relative to the mammoth.
This, sounds like the story I read about in which the scientists later decided the DNA was too degraded to use. As of the time I read the story the scientists were supposedly just hoping for a better specimen to come along. Perhaps they have one now.

Double-Bonus Find! (-1, Troll)

moehoward (668736) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832367)


Sweeet. The warm-a-nazis get to blame both the death and the finding of the mammoth on Global Warming.

They will probably spin it this way, though: "Global warming killed the parents of this poor little baby mammoth, which then died of loneliness and a broken heart. Do you want the same thing to happen to your children?!"

Can't wait for the Disney movie!

Re:Double-Bonus Find! (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832453)

But wait, if "global warming" ended the last ice age and drove cold-adapted species to extinction, then either a) cavemen had cars (hence the GEICO ads) or b) "global warming" can be a natural phenomenon.

I'm confused - we'd better ask Leonardo DiCaprio what he's been paid to think about all this!

Re:Double-Bonus Find! (-1, Troll)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832673)

Uh, this will probably come as a surprise to you "global warming" in the sense you put it IS a well-known natural phenomenon. Nobody in the "general scientific community" contests that, in fact it's all part of the science of "global warming" (the modern context). There are natural cycles. The whole point of the science is that it shows this isn't just another "natural cycle" we're in. Perhaps you should read up on it sometime.

Re:Double-Bonus Find! (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833279)

Hmmm . . .

A. Sarcastic humor. When replying to a funny post, one usually tries to also be funny. Or, so I've observed.

B. Brevity. Because long posts aren't funny and nobody reads them. Or, so I've been told.

C. Geology professor. At least, that's what my 20-50 students call me every semester.

Snippyness aside, I have read up on the issue. Extensively. Climatology isn't my specialty, but I understand it enough to know its an incredibly complex field. I will never disagree that promoting energy efficiency, recycling, renewable energy, and large-scale reforesting endeavors are good things. But, I worry that scaring people into "going green" by declaring a climate crisis may backfire and seriously injure the credibility of all scientists. Its bad enough that FDA screw-ups are causing many parents to forego immunizing their children against serious diseases. Imagine what will happen if all of Earth science gets written off as a bunch of over-zealous, money-grubbing hippies.

I really believe that we need more time and research before we declare ourselves the murders of Mother Earth. And, when I say research I don't mean surveys on environmental awareness and expeditions to take pictures of polar bears. I mean proper calibration of weather satellites so that they stop indicating cooling while ground stations measure warming, better correlation of the rock and ice core records with the Earth's 100Ka eccentricity cycle, and so on. There's still a lot to global warming that we don't understand entirely. If we promise people that buying a hybrid car will stop global warming and it doesn't, they're going to be upset. Torches-and-pitchforks upset.

And don't even get me started on the utter disinformation and confusion that the well-intentioned, well-paid celebrity activists and politicians are spreading. How does not using plastic bottles fix the climate? How does biodiesel reduce carbon emissions? Who decided "clean" and "coal" should go in the same sentence? Why is that when the state geologist goes in and tells beach-front property owners that dumping a million dollars worth of sand in front of their house that they've built five feet from the high-tide line won't save them from the next storm, nobody listens? But, when some dim-witted celebrity bats their eyelashes at a camera and tells people that the Earth is dying, women swoon and grown men cry!

Global warming is happening, most likely. I'm not yet convinced human activity is the sole cause and its arrogant and anthrocentric to assume that we are. The public should be educated about the Earth and the environment, not scared into action. We should cut back on carbon emissions because it makes the air clean and improves the economy, not to save the polar bears. People are more amenable to small steps with goals and results observable in their own lifetimes. Its bad enough our government is running on reactionary fear right now, I don't want to see science end up the same way.

I knew I should have "does wooly mammoth taste like chicken?" joke . . .

Wow, I need some vodka (-1, Offtopic)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832369)

1. Russian vodka
2. Frozen mammoth baby
3. ????
4. Profit

Re:Wow, I need some vodka (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832675)

I've got the answer to your question marks: Place baby mammoth in bottle with vodka, allow to infuse for about 1-8 weeks. PRESTO! Baby mammoth infused vodka!

Pics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832389)

or STFU!

probably no clones (1)

vg30e (779871) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832425)

From what I have read about this find, there are probably no cells that haven't been destroyed from the freezing process that would help produce a clone of the animal, there is always hope that some may still be intact.

obligatory Dr Stephen Colbert... (4, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832427)

It seems the the Siberian mammoth population has tripled in the past 6 months...

Re:obligatory Dr Stephen Colbert... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832741)

Pfft... Steven Colbert could hype it better than that.

"It seems the mammoth population in the today increased by INFINITY percent". By infinity we mean from zero to one. /stands up

"That's right WE DID IT!!! Whooo!!!!" /cue balloon drop

A question remains... (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832463)

How should it be prepared? I'm sure whatever they decide, it will be delicious.

Re:A question remains... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832899)

Ridiculous. Now its all freezer burned.

bad for future non-human paleozoologists (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832467)

Not only humans made mamooths extinct, but we also unearth all of their remains so that the next intelligent species after our own extinction won't find any of them, at least not in good shape.

Re:bad for future non-human paleozoologists (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832625)

they will find them laid out and properly identified, so really we're doing a service.

They will come to us! (1)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832997)

It's ok! Believe me, they will discover something even better!

The next intelligent species will find us and be amazed at how many human corpses they've found lying around next to an artifact with what seems to be a mice-shaped object in their hand. It might take them a while to guess what we were doing, unless Slashdot plans to be around by the year five million.

Re:They will come to us! (1)

feyhunde (700477) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833385)

The next intelligent species will find us and be amazed at how many human corpses they've found lying around next to an artifact with what seems to be a mice-shaped object in their hand. It might take them a while to guess what we were doing, unless Slashdot plans to be around by the year five million

What do you think caused our extinction? Not Digg for sure...

God must have put it there (3, Funny)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832469)

God must have put it there just to drive fundamentalists crazy ;-)

Re:God must have put it there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832933)

Why would finding a preserved mammoth drive fundamentalists (Christian?) crazy? I young Earthers would say that we should find things like this.

You might find yourself more prepared if you actually understood what both sides of any argument are before opening your mouth. Good humor requires an element of truth, which made your joke flop.

Re:God must have put it there (5, Funny)

Mr. Lwanga (872401) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832937)

TFA has a typo, its 4000 years old not 40,000. The mammoth will soon take its rightful place next to the Jesus horses at the Creation Museum.

Tom Dickson has a question: (-1, Redundant)

bazorg (911295) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832471)

will it blend?

Re:Tom Dickson has a question: (1)

phedre (1125345) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832575)

I suspect it will blend, into a quite interesting mammoth smoothie, but Blendtec will probably have to come up with a much larger blender for Tom to use.

Ray Romano (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832491)

Is that you ?

Isn't it thawing? (1)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832599)

Nobody in that video seems to be too concerned about the girl thawing and starting to rot. I'd expect it to rot in short order.

They found it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832679)

in my pants.

What the article didn't mention... (5, Funny)

heretic108 (454817) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832695)

...was the discovery, 5 metres away from the mammoth, of an inscribed granite slate. Archaeologists were set to work on translating the inscriptions, and came up with a bulletin with the headline:

Climate Change A "Myth"
Coming Ice Age a "Fabrication"

-- Energy Company CEO

A Mammoth? (3, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832739)

A Mammoth? That's huge.

Re:A Mammoth? (4, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832927)

Technically, it's not a Giant Baby Mammoth but the Economy Size Baby Mammoth, which feeds between 4 to 6 caveman families. Keep frozen until use. Do Not Refreeze.

Oven Preparation Instructions:

1. Place on large spit.

2. Build really big fire.

3. Keep Ugg, Son of Hoogah and his Sister Dimbo, away from fire.

Microwave Preparation Instructions:

(Hey, do you think we're stoopid? Cavemen didn't HAVE microwaves. They only had rotisserie cookers.)

Microwave Mammoth NOT RECOMMENDED.

For delicious mammoth recipes, write: Creation Science Cooking Institute, Atlanta, Georgia.

finally (1)

devilradish (637660) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832773)

didn't we find a frozen male ages ago now we can clone them both, and while i spend my time on the internet reading slashdot so I'm not too familiar with the mechanics of it, get them to mate and produce a whole army of mammoths, for meat and pets and giant woolly steads to conquer siberia.

Looks like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19832859)

We have the new ubuntu logo!

heartbeat (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832895)

Dude what the hell are you trying to listen for ..there is no heartbeat it's been dead for 10,000+ years

more pictures pls?? post links here. (2, Interesting)

rrobles (538832) | more than 6 years ago | (#19832973)

I want to share this discovery with my children which are very interested in dinosaurs and past forms of life that populated the earth ages ago.

I'd like to have more pictures than the currently released.

If you find a good source of pictures please reply to this post. Thanks.

I can tell that they are going to be very excited about this!!

and they will ask me tons of questions! =:-|

Sticking out of the snow... (1)

skeftomai (1057866) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833157)

The hunter initially thought the mammoth was a dead reindeer when he spotted parts of her body sticking out of damp snow.

Why was it not buried deep in the snow/ground?

(I do not mean to advocate anything, just would like to know).

Wonderful for science but... (2, Funny)

hzero (894267) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833185)

Will it blend?

(sorry, i just saw... never mind, my fault...)

Weird coincidence (1)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 6 years ago | (#19833229)

I was reading Clive Cussler's Polar Shift [amazon.com] yesterday, which has a fictional discovery of a baby Mammoth in Siberia. Then, I click on my /. RSS feed today, and there it is as the first entry.

In the book, I think they were planning to clone it with an elephant.

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