Ancient Siberian mammoth bones, dated from 43,000 to 25,000 years old, reveal exactly how these strapping arctic beasts were able to survive in sub-zero hunting grounds.
A team of scientists, led by Professor Kevin Campbell from the University of Manitoba in Canada, have been able to use DNA preserved in the bones to bring back the mammal’s blood.
Blood tests reveal the mammoth used more than their thick woolly sheaths to survive in the harsh frozen realms. The blood contained a type of anti-freeze, or a genetic adaption in the beast’s haemoglobin, which enabled them to subsist at high altitudes whilst using relatively little body heat.
In short, these mammoths carried a genetic capability that allowed their blood to literally run cold. Dr Campbell asserted that without this adaption, the mammoths would have had to eat more to replace lost body heat, and with food being scarce during winter, this molecular structure was an obvious advantage.
Furthermore, unlike the modern elephant, which cools itself through its gargantuan ears, the mammoth had both small ears and tail to help preserve its core temperature.
Professor Cooper, Director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, and a member of Dr Campbell’s team, said they chose haemoglobin as a means to revive information as “normally in animals it is quite sensitive to temperature”.
While the news has delighted palaeobiologists across the globe, members of the Underground Jurassic Park Haemoglobin Society (UJPHS) are eating mothballs of despair, claiming this approach was giving new hope to their previously scoffed at amber DNA park revival.