By Yahoo News Australia and agencies

Russia is seeking to unlock unknown prehistoric viruses up to 50,000-years-old by extracting biological material from carcasses of ancient animals frozen in permafrost.

Scientists from the Kremlin’s equivalent of Porton Down are this week taking samples from a collection of beasts preserved in ice which have been found in recent years.

They are working with the remains of extinct woolly mammoths and hairy rhinos, as well as prehistoric dogs, horses, elk, rodents and hares.

The oldest animal is believed to be a 50,000-year-old lemming.

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