Unique in Palaeontology: Liquid Blood Found Inside a Prehistoric 42,000 Year Old Foal
Permafrost preserved the ‘oldest blood in the world’ boosting hopes of bringing extinct species back to life.
Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, said today: ‘The autopsy shows beautifully preserved internal organs.
‘Samples of liquid blood were taken from heart vessels - it was preserved in the liquid state for 42,000 years thanks to favourable burial conditions and permafrost.
‘The muscle tissues preserved their natural reddish colour.
‘We can now claim that this is the best preserved Ice Age animal ever found in the world.’
Dr Grigoryev revealed in an interview with TASS that the foal is in an exceptional condition without any visible damage.
‘This is extremely rare for paleontological finds, because some of them are either incomplete, fragmented, with serious body deformations or strongly mummified,’ said the expert.
‘The foal’s hair is intact on its head, legs and part of its body.
‘Its tail and mane are black, the rest of the foal’s body is bay.
‘Having preserved hair is another scientific sensation as all previous ancient horses were found without hair.’
The 42,000 years old foal. Pictures: North-Eastern Federal University
This is the second month of intense joint work of the Yakutian university team and scientists from South Korean Sooam Biotech Research Foundation.
‘Our studies showed that at the moment of death the foal was from one to two weeks old, so he was just recently born,’ said the scientist.
‘As in previous cases of really well-preserved remains of prehistoric animals, the cause of death was drowning in mud which froze and turned into permafrost.
‘A lot of mud and silt which the foal gulped during the last seconds of its life were found inside its gastrointestinal tract.’
Scientists have already indicated that they are 'confident of success’ in extracting cells from this foal in order to clone its species - the extinct Lenskaya breed - back to life, as previously reported by The Siberian Times.
Work is so advanced that the team is reportedly choosing a mother for the historic role of giving birth to the comeback species.
Michil Yakovlev, editor of the university’s corporate media, said: “Hopefully, the world will soon meet the clone of the ancient foal who lived 42,000 years ago.”
The foal was found in the Batagai depression in Yakutia.
An attempt to restore the species to life is seen as paving the way for a similar effort to restore to life the giant woolly mammoth.
The same scientists are working on both projects.
The international team of scientists working in the laboratory of North-Eastern Federal University, the foal held by Semyon Grigoryev after it was found, the Batagai depression. Pictures: NEFU, The Siberian Times
The unique foal will become one of the key exhibits of one year long The Mammoth exhibition in Japan, starting in June this year.
‘More than 30 exhibits from Yakutia will travel to the exhibition,’ said Dr Grigoryev.
‘For the first time we’ll show the world’s only frozen woolly mammoth trunk, as well as the carcass of the Yukagir bison, an ancient partridge and the Batagai horse.’
Blood of Maloyakhovky mammoth found in 2013. Malolyakhovskiy mammoth ready for the trasportation. Modern-day Yakut horses. Pictures: NEFU, The Siberian Times