Boy Stumbles Onto Frozen Woolly Mammoth That Is Well-Preserved, Near-Complete

An 11-year-old boy may have been traumatized by his accidental discovery of a near-complete and well-preserved woolly mammoth carcass, but that doesn’t make the find any less historic or significant.

According to the Moscow News, Yevgeny Salinder stumbled upon the 30,000-year-old remains of an 1100-pound (500-kilogram) woolly mammoth in the tundra of the Taymyr peninsula in northern Russia. Scientists worked for a week to to carefully excavate the centuries-entombed mammoth carcass with axes and steam, reports Short Sharp Science.

Finding woolly mammoths entombed in permafrost is not unusual. Well-preserved specimens have been found in Siberia’s tundra since as early as 1929, but 11-year-old Salinder’s discovery is especially significant because his woolly mammoth discovery is among the best preserved. The animal’s tusks, mouth, and rib cage are all plainly visible and intact.

MSN notes that the woolly mammoth has been named Zhenya, the nickname of its 11-year-old discoverer, Yevgeny Salinder. The carcass is officially the Sopkarga mammoth. It’s already being shopped for study by paleontologists in Moscow and St. Petersburg before its ultimate and permanent display at the Taymyr Natural History Museum.

The well-preserved woolly mammoth has also sparked early discussions regarding the potential for mammoth cloning. Though degraded, ice-damaged DNA is a formidable obstacle, a team of Japanese scientists are reportedly already working on such a project.