A mummified mammoth is set to become the new star attraction at London’s Natural History Museum and will be unveiled in just two days time.
Lyuba, as she is called, is approximately the size of a large dog and was just one month old when she died 42,000 years ago.
Lyuba, which means “love” in Russian, was buried in wet clay and mud and then frozen, which ensured she was preserved for all these years. She was discovered by a reindeer herder and his sons while they were foraging for wood along the Yuribei River in Siberia.
The discovery of the mummified mammoth was a tremendous achievement as Lyuba was the most complete woolly mammoth ever found.
She will be on display from May 23 through September 7 at the museum and stands at just three feet tall, measuring four feet from tip to toe. Professor Adrian Lister, the museum’s mammoths expert, said:
“It’s an honour to be showcasing the world’s best preserved mammoth for the first time in western Europe. Lyuba is hugely important for helping us to understand the lives of ice age animals. This exhibition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet this amazing creature from more than 40,000 years ago.”
The professor went on to discuss the tricky subject of cloning a mammoth and talked about how it might be possible. “One question everyone asks is can you clone a mammoth. We’re a little bit cool about that. I don’t think the technology is there; the DNA is very fragmented,” he said, suggesting that such a thing might not be so simple.
If you find yourself in London anytime during the dates when the mummified mammoth is on display at the Natural History Museum, it’s well worth paying a visit and seeing a piece of prehistoric history. After all, it’s not every day you get to see something that is over 42,000 years old.