Horse Found Frozen in Tundra
An exceptionally-preserved foal has been found in Siberian tundra. Can scientists bring it back to life as a clone?
A baby horse, the “best preserved ancient horse ever found” according to Live Science, has been recovered in Siberia. But is it as old as claimed?
The astonishingly intact body of a young foal that died between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago was recently unearthed from melting permafrost in Siberia. Its mummified remains were so well-preserved by icy conditions that the skin, the hooves, the tail, and even the tiny hairs in the animal’s nostrils and around its hooves are still visible.
Scientists believe it was about 2 months old when it died. The Lena Horse, as it is being called, measures about one meter in length. Phys.org adds that “The foal was discovered in the Batagaika crater, a huge 100-meter (328-foot) deep depression in the East Siberian taiga.” Fox News adds that this crater is known locally as the “doorway to the underworld.”
The remains are so intact, Live Science says, that the research team believes it can recover details about the horse’s diet in the animal’s bowel. The foal is also genetically distinct from wild horses that inhabit the area today.
Mindy Weisberger’s report stretches credibility about the dates of this and other remains found in permafrost:
Siberian permafrost is known for preserving ancient animals for tens of thousands of years, and many superb specimens have emerged as global temperatures continue to rise and permafrost melts. Recent discoveries include a 9,000-year-old bison; a 10,000-year-old woolly rhino baby; a mummified ice age kitten that could be a cave lion or lynx; and a baby mammoth nicknamed Lyuba who died after choking on mud 40,000 years ago.
Amazingly, one type of animal preserved in Siberian permafrost for tens of thousands of years was recently brought back to life. Tiny nematodes — a type of microscopic worm — that had been frozen in ice since the Pleistocene were defrosted and revived by researchers; they were documented moving and eating for the first time in 42,000 years, Live Science previously reported.
Subtracting dates, this would mean that animals kept getting instantly entombed in permafrost for at least 31,000 years, such that even the contents of their stomachs were flash-frozen. Nothing like that is going on today. Why didn’t the animals migrate out of such inhospitable temperatures? And how could nematodes avoid cosmic ray decay for 42,000 years, only to revive when defrosted?
It seems more credible that all these animals perished together in a widespread catastrophe, the likes of which has never been seen before or since. That explanation, however, would not fit the current evolutionary paradigm.
Resurrecting the Horse
In a follow-up article on Live Science, Weisberger discusses the possibility of reviving this horse’s species by recovering its DNA. Researchers had already debated whether a woolly mammoth could be made “de-extinct” in this way. It’s a long shot, the article says, because recovering intact DNA after 40,000 years is unlikely. Nevertheless, this foal is genetically closer to a modern horse than a mammoth is to an elephant, so it could be step along the way to learning how to recover lost species.
Cloning is possible only when the original animal’s DNA is intact, and the majority — if not all — of the DNA in ice-age specimens is typically degraded “into tens of millions of pieces,” Love Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, told Live Science in an email.
If enough DNA from the mummified horse’s remains can be recovered, scientists might be able to construct a genome sequence by comparing the DNA of the extinct foal to the genomes of living horses, Shapiro added.
One geneticist remarked that the improbability of finding an intact nucleus is astronomical, but they’re not saying it is impossible at this point.
Update 9/16/18: The Guardian reports that a wolf pup and a caribou have been found in Canadian permafrost. The mummified specimens have been radiocarbon dated to be older than the horse: 50,000 years, but they don’t look 10,000 years older than the horse. The Yukon is a long way from Siberia where the horse was found. Did the same catastrophe entomb them all?
On the face of it, the Biblical creation account is much more credible than the evolution account with its requirement for reckless drafts on the bank of time. All these Ice Age animals perished in one-time conditions that prevailed during or after the Flood (depending on the model used). The vast spread of tens of thousands of years is pure fiction.
Additionally, this story defends the creation view that other animals like dinosaurs lived recently. Notice how the secular scientists expect DNA to decay rapidly, such that it is astronomically unlikely to expect DNA to remain intact after just 40,000 years. This is true of proteins and other molecular constituents, too. And yet dinosaurs with soft tissue, including remains of blood cells and stretchy tissues, have been reported to the complete astonishment and consternation of old-age evolutionists. The Jurassic Park films were premised on the notion that dinosaur DNA could be recovered. At this time, scientists dismiss that possibility. And yet dinosaur DNA has been reported, according to the Real Science Radio website, where host Bob Enyart keeps track of reported soft tissue finds.
If scientists do recover this foal’s DNA, and if dinosaur DNA cannot be disputed, what do you think evolutionists will say about it? You know what they will say. They will clutch their beloved geological timeline, and say, “Well, what do you know! Dinosaur DNA can last for 80 million years.”