Scientists at the Mammoth Museum dissect an ancient bison at NEFU
© M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University

NEFU specialists dissect an ancient bison

An ancient bison was discovered in the summer of 2022, and a dissection was carried out by scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University’s Mammoth Museum.

“The find was not a complete carcass: it included the head, forelimbs and part of the chest, which are well preserved. During the dissection, samples of soft tissues, muscles, skin, and wool were taken and the brain was removed,” the article on the university website reads.

According to a preliminary expert assessment, it was a young individual aged 1.5–2 years, but it has not yet been established when exactly it died.

“The geological age of the bison discovered in 2009 and 2010 was 8,000 to 9,000 years, while the biological age was about 2 months and 4 to 4.5 years, respectively. We can say that the new finding is intermediate in terms of biological age, thanks to which we can trace the ontogeny of ancient bison. This bison was discovered in the summer of 2022 in the Verkhoyansk region at the new Khaastaakh site and was donated to the Mammoth Museum for free. We would like to give our special thanks to those who found it. This summer we are planning to visit the site where other remains of animal fossils might be found,” NEFU Mammoth Museum Head Maxim Cheprasov said.

During the dissection, samples were taken for microbiological, histological, cellular, radiocarbon studies; and tomographic, morphological studies and 3D scanning were previously carried out for subsequent visualization. The analyses will be carried out at various scientific institutions in Russia. The selected materials are placed in the museum freezer and in special environments. Once the soft tissue samples were selected, the staff at Molecular Paleontology Center and their Korean colleagues immediately began cell research.

“We are working with a unique find that could be cloned in the future thanks to the selected materials. This is now possible due to cooperation with a strong team of leading scientists from North-Eastern Federal University,” said NEFU Professor Hwang Woo Sok, Director of the UAE Biotechnology Research Foundation.

The results of this research will provide information on the geological and biological age, structural features and ecological conditions of the bison’s habitat.