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Woolly mammoth skin found 'well preserved in permafrost' gives new hope for cloning

By 0 and 0 and 0
08 October 2015


The discovery is seen as highly significant by Russian and South Korean experts working to bring the mammoths back to life through cloning. Picture: NVK

The dramatic find was made this summer on the remote Lyakhovsky Islands off the northern coastline of the Siberian land mass. The scientists located the remains of six woolly mammoths and well preserved skin at least 10,000 years old - as well as an unexpected discovery of the tusk of a 'pygmy mammoth'. 

Currently the skin is being examined at a special laboratory in Yakutsk, capital of Siberia's Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, and the discovery is seen as highly significant by Russian and South Korean experts working to bring the hairy creature back to life through cloning. 

Mammoth skin

Lyakhovsky Islands are located off the northern coastline of the Siberian land mass and are the southernmost in the New Siberian archipelago. Picture: The Siberian Times

Head of the expedition Semyon Grigoryev said: 'The skin is especially interesting for the 'Revival of the Mammoth' project. Our Korean colleagues believe that skin is the best material for cloning attempts through finding viable cells. Now we are studying the skin in our new laboratory.'

He added: 'The Lyakhovsky Islands are considered to be the centre of the mammoth continent. One of the world's greatest concentrations of mammoth remains is here, so we deliberately chose this area to carry out the research.' 

Mammoth skin

'Our Korean colleagues believe that skin is the best material for cloning attempts through finding viable cells.' Pictures: NEFU 

The islands are the southernmost in the New Siberian archipelago.

The find of the 'pygmy mammoth' tusk has also intrigued the experts. A distinct species with this name has been identified in what is now California, while tiny mammoths found on Wrangel Island, in Russia, were seen as small variants of woolly mammoth. 

EXCLUSIVE: Siberian scientists announce they now have a 'high chance' to clone the extinct woolly mammoth

The famous Malolyakovsky mammoth was found on the same archipelago about 2 years ago. Pictures: Semyon Grigoryev

'The mammoth tusk belongs to an old specimen,' said Dr Grigoryev. 'Even experienced paleontologist Pavel Nikolsky said that he witnessed the pygmy mammoth for the first time. We have to figure out what it is: a micro population or an individual feature of this particular mammoth.'

Previously on Maly Lyakhovsky island was found the carcass of old mammoth, a mother of nine, with preserved blood and muscle. 

The expedition to the site was initiated by the North-Eastern Federal University, in Yakutsk, with the support of Russian Geographic Society

Comments (7)

The goal is not just to clone the mammoth but to produce a cross breed that can withstand cold weather. This way the African elephant can extend its range away from poachers
Steve, Usa
01/08/2019 10:21
´Sería muy interesante vincular el mamut de pequeño tamaño con los restos encontrados en la isla de Flores (indonesia)
María del Carmen Díaz, Argentina
28/10/2015 21:19
As a lover of science fiction, I'd naturally love to see mammoths re-created. Where you'd keep them though is another matter. I don't think they'd do too well here in Australia. But of course when I think of the fuss made about rabbits, cane toads, camels, horses etc, I'm sure they wouldn't be allowed in anyway.
John, Australia
12/10/2015 09:50
Wouldn't the money spent on trying to clone a long extinct animal be better spent on trying to protect the animals that are in danger of extinction? We are currently on the verge of another mass extinction event! Much as I celebrate and believe in expanding scientific frontiers, in my opinion cloning a Woolly Mammoth would be ethically wrong. Why should we resurrect an ice age species into a warming world that can't support it, and that is becoming increasingly unstable for the species that are currently adapted to it. While it would be amazing to see a real live mammoth, it also seems so bizarrely ironic and intellectually arrogant to spend money and effort on artificially producing one mammoth to feed our rabid curiosity, while naturally sustainable populations of wild elephants are pushed to extinction by human impact.
Karin Weber, Mississauga Canada
10/10/2015 00:19
Watch the strange lines on the island, similar are found in other parts of the world 75°45'52.48"N141°50'2.99"E
Farid Roushy, Cairo Egypt
09/10/2015 17:40
What noticeable is that the remains are found on a relatively small island which raises questions how could such huge animals exist on such a small area. The answer is that this island was a part of the main land before the collision that separate the island from the main land which caused the extinction of the mammoths at the same time. Read:
Farid Roushy, Cairo Egypt
09/10/2015 17:38
Wrangell Island was annexed by the United States Government on August 12, 1881, It was added to the District of Alaska on May 17, 1884.

The Lomen Brothers Company of Nome, Alaska has owned that island from April 1, 1924. That was the same day that Della Adams was born on Wrangell Island. Her son currently lives in Wainwright, Alaska.

Maybe, Putin will make an other theme park and remove the remains of Della Adams back to her place of her birth on Wrangell Island. Putin has been trying to get dead Russian bodies back to Russia from their burial places in the United States.

Putin has placed a monument at the Eastern point of Wrangell Island for Commander Robert Bartlett, USNR,
who walked from Wrangell Island to Siberia in 1914.

Mark Seidenberg, Aliso Viejo, USA
08/10/2015 21:45

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