Monday, July 9, 2007
Prehistoric Mammoth Found Frozen in Siberia
Not long ago, in a place far, far away (Siberia), a reindeer herder stumbled upon a frozen carcass. Embedded in the permafrost was a 4-foot, 110-pound woolly mammoth. (An extinct species related to the African elephant, mammoths lived in frigid climates. They were covered in dense, reddish-brown hair, stood up to 12 feet at the shoulder, and could weigh up to 8 tons.) It wasn’t the first time one of the species has been found trapped in the ice, but this discovery was still remarkable. Most frozen mammoths are little more than a pair of tusks and a few tufts of hair. Though estimated to be more than 10,000 years old, the female calf the herder had uncovered was perfectly preserved—it still had its eyes, trunk, and some of its fur.
The baby is now being shipped to Japan for study. It’s one of the few times a complete mammoth body will be analyzed by science.
In related news, some Japanese scientists have already announced their intentions of extracting DNA from woolly mammoth carcasses. They want to use it to bring the species back to life. In fact, they’ve already chosen a home for their creations in northern Siberia (also known as Pleistocene Park). Though it’s unlikely that the same scientists will get their hands on the latest arrival, one has to wonder if this latest discovery might be the beginning of something really, really big.
For more on other wooly mammoth discoveries, click here.
UPDATE 7/11: See video footage of the baby mammoth here. Unfortunately, sounds like the audio is in Russian. Anyone care to translate?
(Below: An adult mammoth)