A woolly mammoth some 39,000 years old has arrived in an exhibition hall in Yokohama, Japan to be put on public display from July 13 until September 16. UPDATE: We now have video of the woolly mammoth being unboxed in Japan. Go down to the bottom to see it.
This well-preserved woolly mammoth female, now named Yuka by her discoverers, is the same animal that Siberian researchers announced that they had found in March. In that well-publicized report, Museum of Mammoths head Semyon Grigoriev stated that they had found flowing blood with the specimen and that it seemed to enjoy a natural form of anti-freeze:
“It can be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryo-protective properties.”
In the original announcement, because of the woolly mammoth’s excellent state of preservation, the Yakutsk, Russia team who found her originally estimated her age at only 10,000 years old.
However, a Metro UK report pointed out that DNA tests revealed that she was actually much older.
The Independent explained that she was originally found trapped in ice. She did have permafrost on her shoulders but much of her body was in soil, allowing her to be preserved in exceptionally fine condition.
The woolly mammoth has been the subject of much speculation that she will eventually be cloned to re-create the now-extinct species. The Russians have teamed up with Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea in pursuit of the project.
An Asian elephant female would probably be used as the surrogate mother to any baby mammoth produced by the cloning team.
The pay-off could be considerable. Each pair of pandas on display in public zoos is leased for nearly one million dollars a year.
The first zoo to host a living mammoth might well pay considerably more — and still make an impressive profit on the woolly mammoth.
Here is a second video of the unboxing of the Yuka, the woolly mammoth:
[Woolly mammoths in Europe as they might have looked in life painting by Mauricio Antón and the 2008 Public Library of Science via Creative Commons]
[Woolly mammoth top painting by Flying Puffin via Wikimedia Commons]