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Posted on Wednesday, July 11 - 2007

A baby mammoth unearthed in the permafrost of north-west Siberia could be the best preserved specimen of its type, scientists have said. The frozen carcass is to be sent to Japan for detailed study. The six-month-old female calf was discovered on the Yamal peninsula of Russia and is thought to have died 10,000 years ago. The animal's trunk and eyes are still intact and some of its fur remains on the body. Mammoths are an extinct member of the elephant family. Adults often possessed long, curved tusks and a coat of long hair. The 130cm (4ft 3ins) tall, 50kg Siberian specimen dates to the end of the last Ice Age, whenthe great beasts were vanishing from the planet.

It was discovered by a reindeer herder in May this year. Yuri Khudi stumbled across the carcass near the Yuribei River, in Russia's Yamal-Nenets autonomous district. Last week, an international delegation of experts convened in the town of Salekhard, near the discovery site, to carry out a preliminary examination of the animal. "The mammoth has no defects except that its tail was bit off," said Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a member of the delegation. "In terms of its state of preservation, this is the world's most valuable discovery," he said. Larry Agenbroad, director ofthe Mammoth Site of Hot Springs research centre in South Dakota, US, said: "To find a juvenile mammoth in any condition is extremely rare." Dr Agenbroad added that he knew of only three other examples. Some scientists hold out hope that well preserved sperm or other cells containing viable DNA could be used to resurrect the mammoth lineage. Despite the inherent difficulties, Dr Agenbroad remains optimistic about the potential for cloning. "When we got the Jarkov mammoth [found frozen in Taimyr, Siberia, in 1997], the geneticists told me: 'if you can get us good DNA, we'll have a baby mammoth for you in 22 months'," he told BBC News. To view the rest of this article, please visit thesource...


Views : 10030

Posted on Monday, August 26 - 2013

Prehistoric monster - Leedsichthys grew up to 50ft.
Image Credit: CC 3.0 Dmitry Bogdanov

The monstrous 16m-long Leedsichthys problematicus would have swam the ocean 160 million years ago. The fossil remains of the sea-faring behemoth were unearthed at a quarry by an internationalscience team led by Professor Jeff Liston of the National Museums of Scotland.

The discovery is important because it shows that while the dinosaurs were increasing in size on land, creatures in the world"s oceans were also getting larger.Small fragments of Leedsichthys specimens have been found before however until now it wasn"t possible to get a proper idea of the creature"s full size. So problematic in fact was the collection of information about the species that these difficulties were even reflected in its name"problematicus".Despite its huge size, Leedsichthys would have been a gentle giant, feeding on shoals of plankton by sweeping it up through its gills which acted like a filter. This mechanism proved highly effective, helping the species to thrive in the world"s oceans until it was wiped out along with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Source: Guardian

Views : 632

Posted on Thursday, August 08 - 2013

The pre-mammalian rodent-like creature is offering new insights in to how our distant ancestors lived.The almost intact fossil was discovered in China and is one of the earliest known examples of a hairy mammal-like creature ever found. While appearing very similar to today"s mammals, the species actually pre-dates true mammals and instead lived alongside dinosaurs in a humidworld around 165 million years ago.

The find is being hailed as one of the most significant pre-mammalian discoveries to date."Research always assumed that these were primitive and not highly specialized, but this animal shows that they were already highly specialized and highly adapted to special feeding strategies," said palaeontologist Thomas Martin. "An extremely well-preserved rodentlike fossil recently discovered inChina provides some of the best evidence yet for how the earliest human ancestors lived."  

View: Full article |  Source: Live Science  

Views : 879 | Comments : 1

Posted on Tuesday, August 06 - 2013

Archaeologists have unearthed a new species of prehistoric shark with devil-like horns on its head.The creature"s Latin name is Diablodontus michaeledmundi however it is perhaps better known as "Devil tooth" or "Devil shark". Dating back 260 million years, the species somehow survived a mass extinction event between the Permian and Triassic eras that took place 252 millionyears ago and wiped out 96% of life on the planet.While closely related to modern sharks the Devil shark was part of a now extinct group known as the hump-toothed sharks.

With razor sharp teeth and an unusual pair of horns on top of its head, the shark is believed to have grown up to 3.5ft and would have fed on small fish and sea mammals. "Archaeologists in Arizona have discovered a previously unknown prehistoric shark,with horns on its head and razor-sharp teeth."  

View: Full article |  Source: Telegraph  

Views : 641

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