Research Says There Were Blond and Redheaded Woolly Mammoths
Posted on July 6, 2006New research shows that woolly mammoths may have come in lots of colors. Scientists now believe that there may have been blond, brunette and even redheaded woolly mammoths roaming the plains.
Blond and redheaded woolly mammoths: who would have thought? Next, they'll be telling us that the dinosaurs were pink with purple spots. Although now that we think of it, they already found a dinosaur that had feathers which is more than enough to inspire some Jurassic-sized nightmares about a feathered T-Rex coming after us. So, why not pink dinosaurs?Researchers led by Holger Roempler of the University of Leipzig in Germany were able to extract DNA from a 43,000-year-old mammoth bone from Siberia.
They report in Friday's issue of the journal Science said that the mammoth DNA included the gene Mc1r. That gene codes for a protein that affects hair color in humans and other mammals. Reduced activity of that gene produces red hair in humans and cows and yellow hair in mice, horses and dogs, for example.
Thus it is possible, the researchers concluded, that mammoths existed with a variety of hair colors.