Scientists Discover Perfectly Preserved Juvenile Woolly Mammoth
Over the years, paleontologists have been able to find many well-preserved remains of Woolly Mammoths like Lyuba, the 42,000 year-old baby that was discovered in 2007. However, none have been as complete or provided as much insight, as the remains of this 10,000 year old frozen mammal that was unearthed recently.
Discovered accidentally in the remote Siberian region of Yakutia by a pair of tusk hunters, the 6-foot long mammal, nicknamed Yuka has been frozen so perfectly, that it's young body is still covered with fur However, unlike the tufts of dark hair discovered on previous Woolly Mammoths, Yuka has soft strawberry blond fur. And, it gets even more interesting.
While the exterior of the body is complete, it is missing several major bones, including the spine, skull, ribs and pelvis. What's interesting is that two clean cuts on the animal's back indicate that this was not the work of wild animals but humans, providing the first evidence that the Woolly Mammoths were preyed upon during the ice age. This also suggests that humans may have been at least been partially responsible for the extinction of this mighty mammal.
Yuka, who scientists estimate was about 4-5 years old, also appeared to have had a really bad day, because it also had a broken leg and other injuries, which suggests to the experts, that it had been involved in a fight with a powerful predator such as a lion. How the humans were able to steal away the young animal from the lion, is something the scientists are still trying to determine.
As is always the case with such perfectly preserved specimens, scientists will be able to discover a lot of other mysteries about this mighty species - Including, how its predecessor, the African elephant evolved, so that it could survive in the bitter cold Ice Age environment.
Also, thanks to the extensive amount of body tissue, scientists can analyze its genome and maybe, just maybe, ressurect the Woolly Mammoths! Now that, would be exciting! Yuka's story, has been morphed into a fascinating documentary entitled Woolly Mammoths: Secrets from the Ice, and is scheduled to air on the Discovery Channel, in the near future.
Resources: gizmodo.com, yahoo.com, dailymail.co.uk