10 February 2012

LIVE Woolly Mammoth Spotted in Siberia (video/pic)

Scepitical? Look at the clip and you tell me...

Siberian Woolly Mammoth

Red furry coat,
giant tusks... elephants 
of any sort not native to the region, either!

The Siberian Woolly Mammoth -which we are taught disappeared abruptly at the end of the last Ice Age (~8000 B.C.)- has long been a source of fascination, as on occasion examples are found in a highly-preserved, mummified state under the Arctic territory's thick layer of permafrost. 

Similar in appearance to a modern elephant, the Mammoth was actually just slightly larger (~3m at the shoulder) yet with a shorter trunk, longer tusks, ears only 10% the size of their contemporary brethren, and a thick-coat of reddish body hair (that grew to 1m in length) to aid survival in the brutal cold.

Since numerous frozen, non-fossilized Mammoths have been unearthed in the past -including a completely intact baby Mammoth- their close genetic relationship to elephants had scientists and buffs speculating for years as to whether DNA could be extracted from the remains and the species could be resurrected from extinction by gene splicing, cloning, etc. ala Jurassic Park.
highly-preserved baby Siberian Mammoth carcass (80kg)

But now me may not have to bother with all that, as a Russian civil engineer has filmed what appears to be a live, breathing Woolly Mammoth out in the wilds of Siberia (Chukotka Autonomous Okrug region). Of course Russians are quite fond of (and skilled at) photo hoaxes and online get-rich-quick-dishonestly schemes, but MAN does this thing look real... 
the gait, the color, the proportions:

And while it seems like being 'extinct' for over 10,000 years makes the likelihood of finding a live Siberian Woolly Mammoth extremely remote, consider that a residual isolated population of the beasts is known to have survived on
(now Russian) Wrangel Island up until 1700 B.C.

Other species thought to be long-gone have indeed been rediscovered, including a hyper-ugly deep sea fish (Coelacanth, caught in 1938 off South America) that scientists had previously declared extinct for over 65 million years- suddenly 3700 years ago doesn't sound like all that much.

I wonder if Putin will choose to put Tiny out back behind that tacky new mansion of his, or sell the thing to the highest international bidder. Perhaps he just won't be able to pass-up the opportunity to make a video of himself finishing it off with a hunting knife (my guess).