tech2 News StaffApr 23, 2019 18:27:01 IST
The remains of an extinct Lenskaya horse species was found in permafrost in Batagaika crater in Yakutia. The foal had a bay-colored body and a black tail and mane. Aged just one to two weeks old at the time of his death, the horse drowned in mud that later froze into the permafrost. It has remained intact for 42,000 years, and researchers have taken samples from the incredibly well-preserved remains for study this week.
"A lot of mud and silt which the foal gulped during the last seconds of [the foal’s] life were found inside its gastrointestinal tract," Semyon Grigoryev of Yakutia’s Mammoth Museum told Russian news agency TASS.
The young horse didn't seem to have any signs of external damage. The skin, tail, hooves and hair on its legs, head and other body parts were preserved in perfect condition according to the TASS report. The body also contained liquid blood and urine — a major find for the global paleontology community.
Researchers from Russia’s North-Eastern Federal University and the South Korean Sooam Biotech Research Foundation have extracted liquid blood and urine from the specimen. They hope that this will give us more information about their now-extinct Lenskaya species, their evolution and the reasons for their extinction.
They also hope to find out more about the Earth and land at the time the foal was alive.
Scientists found a 42,000 year old foal in Siberia. It still had liquid blood. This is the oldest blood in the world pic.twitter.com/k9HBKOYM7V
— Whoa Interesting (@WhoaInteresting) April 17, 2019
Cloning of the long-dead horse and resurrection of the extinct Lenskaya lineage is a potential path that researchers are interested in exploring. That said, cloning the animal will require viable (biochemically-alive) cells from blood samples and grow them in the lab. Researchers think the right horse to play the role of surrogate mother to the foal clone is the Korean mare. But that's easier said than done — scientists have tried (unsuccessfully) to clone the horse 20 times so far by sampling the 42,000-year-old foal's long-dead cells.
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