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Image Gallery: Stunning Mammoth Unearthed

Mammoth unearthed

a mammoth fossil unearthed in Siberia

(Image credit: Semyon Grigoriev | North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

In May 2013, researchers Semyon Grigoriev and colleagues at North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk recently unearthed an astonishingly well-preserved mammoth carcass on an island off the coast of Siberia.

Fresh blood

mammoth blood

(Image credit: Semyon Grigoriev | North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

The researchers said the carcass, which had been partially buried in the ice, was so well preserved that it contained flowing blood.

Oozing blood

ancient mammoth oozing blood

(Image credit: CNN Screen Grab)

When the team struck at it with a pick, blood flowed from the carcass.

Pristine condition

A scientists holds a vial of mammoth blood

(Image credit: Semyon Grigoriev | North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

The blood found suggests that the mammoth was possibly the best preserved mammoth found.

Tissue find

a mammoth carcass unearthed in Siberia

(Image credit: Semyon Grigoriev | North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

But though the blood is a promising sign, there's no telling whether the cells inside the mammoth are in good enough condition to yield usable DNA. The ultimate goal is to clone a woolly mammoth.

Partially eaten

mammoth tissue

(Image credit: Semyon Grigoriev | North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

The team estimates that the mammoth lived about 10,000 years ago. The upper torso and legs were gnawed on by predators.

Carrying back

A sled team carries a mammoth carcass

(Image credit: Semyon Grigoriev | North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

After the discovery, the researchers carried the mammoth across the frozen terrain on a sled.

Research hopes

researchers on sleds

(Image credit: Semyon Grigoriev | North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk)

If the team finds intact white blood cells or tissue cells, they may be able to extract relatively long segments of DNA. Still, it's incredibly unlikely that the material will be in good enough condition to make cloning a mammoth a reality.

Cloned creature

(Image credit: Photo by Jonathan S. Blair/National Geographic)

South Korean, Japanese and Russian teams are working to clone a mammoth by piecing together snippets of DNA found in mammoth fossils using the elephant genome as a template. Afterwards, they would inject mammoth DNA into the egg of an elephant and have an elephant gestate the extinct creature for 22 months.