Sunday, 23 December 2012

Is there room in the fridge for a mammoth?

Mammoths emerge from the melting (and therefore increasingly inaccurately named) permafrost quite regularly. Some of these mammoths are in astonishingly good condition.

 Now, it takes a long time to freeze a mammoth right through, so just why are these mammoths in such good shape? Why haven’t their innards gone off while the frost was working its way through from the skin?

 It turns out that these mammoths were preserved before they froze. If they fell into a bog, poor things, then the lacto bacilli (they're rod-shaped bacteria) present in the water pickled the mammoths like huge hairy onions.

 One very brave scientist, Dan Fisher of the University of Michigan, has proved this by chucking chunks of meat into a pond and then coming back much later and eating them.

 Good grief...

 A great, brave man, Dan Fisher.

 I’m happy to announce he survived the experiment.

 PS: At the moment there’s no room in my fridge for so much as a mouse!


1 comment:

  1. Well done that man! It constantly amazes me what people put themselves through in the name of science for which we must be grateful. IT would have to be a chocolate mammoth and on a very small scale to fit in my fridge. Perhaps OUP might have a word with Cadbury's and produce some tiny choccy mammoths to celebrate publication!