There was more than a ripple of excitement in the scientific community on Friday as news spread that a reindeer herder had discovered the remains of a baby woolly mammoth in Russia’s Arctic.
The herder reportedly discovered the carcass – which he claims has been “perfectly preserved” by the permafrost surrounding it – in the same remote region where Lyuba, another woolly mammoth calf, was found just 4 years ago.
“If it is true what is said about how it is preserved, this will be another sensation of global significance.”
In the case of Lyuba (seen in the picture above), the Arctic ice kept the extinct mammoth so well preserved that although her shaggy coat was gone, her skin and internal organs were intact, enabling scientists to perform a series of test which shed new light on the ancient beast’s lifestyle.
From Lyuba’s remains, scientists were able to determine that her diet consisted of her mother’s milk, and that she ate the feces of adult mammoths as a method of building up an intestinal flora of bacteria that would have allowed her to digest normal plant material.
The tests also revealed that Lyuba was quite healthy, unlike other mammoths discovered in the past, whose less intact remains indicated that they were starving at the time of death.
The team of experts in charge of handling the new discovery plan to fly its remains to the regional capital Salekhard, where it will be stored in a cooler to prevent the remains from decomposing.
According to Scientists, giant woolly mammoths – creatures that grew up to ten feet tall and weighed up to eight tons – have been extinct since the earth’s last Ice Age, which they say occurred 1.8 million to roughly 11,500 years ago.