A 30.000-year-old mummified baby mammoth has been found by a Canadian gold miner. Researchers say the mammoth found is the most complete mummified mammoth ever found in North America. The 1,4-metre-long baby mammoth was only one month old at the time of death.
A miner working in the gold mines of the Klondike region discovered a 30.000-year-old baby mammoth, almost completely mummified, in a permafrost region of Canada.
Officials described the perfectly preserved newborn as "the most complete mummified mammoth found in North America." Because he was only 4,5 feet (1,4 meters) tall, and most of his hair and skin was thin.
The creature was given the name "Nun cho ga", meaning "large baby animal" in the Hän language, because it was found on Eureka Creek, in First Nation territory of Tr'ondk Hwch in Canada's Yukon region. The calf, which was a female and was about a month old at the time of death, was biologically roughly the same age as another woolly mammoth calf known as "Lyuba" found in Siberia in 2007, according to the analysis. Lyuba is a 42.000-year-old discovery.
"As an ice age paleontologist, encountering a real woolly mammoth was one of the biggest dreams of my life," said Grant Zazula, a paleontologist with the Yukon government's Department of Tourism and Culture.
This dream came true today,” he said. In a statement. “Nun Cho Ga is very beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified ice age animals ever discovered in the world. I am excited to get to know him better.”
The remains were found after a miner at the Klondike goldfields south of Dawson City felt his loader hit something unexpected while digging near a creek. The mummified mammoth was discovered in the mud by him and his superior when he sought help. Two geologists traveled to the area to recover the extinct animal's remains and collect samples from the area, and while they were there, all mining operations were halted.
“The amazing thing is that within an hour of being there to complete the job, the sky cleared, it got dark, it started to flash and it started to rain,” Zazula told the Canada Broadcasting Corporation. Therefore, if he had not been present at that moment, the storm would have taken him away.
Mummified mammoths were previously discovered by miners in the area. For example, a gold mine in the nearby US state of Alaska unearthed the fragmentary bones of a giant calf known as Effie in 1948. But none of the earlier finds were extraordinarily well preserved.
Woolly mammoths roamed the freezing arctic plains of northern Europe, Asia, and North America alongside wild horses, cave lions, and colossal bison until they went extinct as recently as 5.000 years.
Nun cho ga may have been grazing at the time of her death and may have died after she was out of sight of her mother a little. This may have caused him to become trapped in the mud, submerged in water and succumbing to his wounds. “This event lasted a very, very short time, until it got stuck in the mud and was buried,” Zazula said.
The discovery of the mammoth remains was "the most exciting scientific thing I've ever been a part of," wrote earth scientist Dan Shugar, an associate professor of recovery at the University of Calgary, on Twitter. The remains were preserved down to the intestines and individual toenails.
“This is a remarkable recovery for our nation and we look forward to collaborating with the Yukon government in the next steps in moving forward with these remains,” Roberta Joseph, Chief of Tr'ondk Hwch, said in a statement. A way that honors our traditions, culture and laws.”
Source: Live Science