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Scientist examines the hair of a woolly mammoth

Scientist examines the hair of a woolly mammoth

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Credit

PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Examining mammoth hair. Scientist Professor P. Lazarev holds a magnifying glass to the well- preserved hair on the posterior limb of a woolly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius. The specimen is 13,000 years old. Thick "woolly" hair reached up to 90 centimetres in length. It served to insulate the animal to its cold climate, together with a 9 centimetre layer of fat beneath the skin. Well- preserved tissue like this is due to mammoth remains being deep frozen in permafrost. Some specimens are so intact to enable research to be conducted on internal body organs and DNA genetic material, to study the lifestyle of mammoths.

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