Autopsy of a Perfectly Preserved Bison dating to 9,000 Years Ago Could Reveal which Parasites Infested Prehistoric Animals
- from PaleoramaEnRed/translated from Spanish
"This is the first autopsy to be performed on such an ancient bison and scientists are now searching for parasites that may have infected animals during [the early Holocene]. The animal was found perfectly preserved in July of 2011 in the Republic of Sakha, Yakutia. It was foudn on the banks of a lake district north of Ust-Yana, where remains of woolly mammoths have previously been located. Scientists are conducting a complete anatomical autopsy, including the removal of each organ and are conducting microbiological and genetic tests, with the hope that they will be able to recover vital scientific information regarding the extinction of certain bison taxa ~9 Ky.
Despite being 9000 years old, the bison cadaver gives the appearance of having only died a few days ago. Its body was exposed after part of the shore receded into the lake. ”The discovery has enormous value to scientists because it is the best preserved bison that has ever been found,” says Albert Protopopov, head of the Department of Mammoth Fauna Research in the Academy of Sciences Yakutiana.
Protopopov states: “We have determined that the bison lived 9,000 years ago, during the early Holocene and died when it was about four years old. Many mammoths had died here but bison survived longer. Careful and thorough review will provide us with answers to many questions, the first of which is why bison became extinct. ”
…Scientists in the United States have studied North American bison for quite some time and expect that Yakutianos compare their American relatives. The scientists hope to creature an environmental model via the study of food remains in the digestive tract of the bison and will publish their research year next. Yevgeniy Maschenko, researcher at the Mammal Laboratory of the Institute of Palaeontology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: “ This is the first study of an ancient mammal that has been conducted in the twenty years. We have a team of experts in various fields. We are eager to better understand the morphological aspects of the animal; all its internal organs will be weighed and described. Tissue samples will be taken. Any morphological study of an animal is connected to the study of adaptation to its environment and in this particular case study the paleoecology be very interesting. “
He also states that the histological samples (images of the microscopic anatomy of the animal’s cells and tissues) will be very interesting, as this will be the first opportunity for scientists to study the parasites associated with ancient bison. He noted that the parasites “may not have been preserved, but we will their DNA and evidence of their activity.” Biochemical tests comparing the ancient specimens with extant parasites will provide information regarding the types of parasites that lived 9,000 years ago. This is possible thanks to a new study oriented towards invertebrate DNA technology. It will be used for the first time an extinct animal. ”