Woolly Mammoth Skeleton, Discovered In Siberia, Sold For $640,000 In France

A woolly mammoth skeleton being auctioned
Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

A skeleton of a woolly mammoth, found in Siberia about 10 years ago, was sold for €548,000 ($640,000; £483,000) at a French auction on December 16, 2017. This skeleton was nearly 10,000 years old, according to the BBC, and was in very good shape.

France-based auctioneer Claude Aguttes revealed that most of the bones (nearly 80 percent) in the structure were original, while the last 20 percent were made of resin. The structure was 3.4 m (11 feet) high and had two tusks—each measuring more than 9 feet in length.

The expected price of the skeleton was $530,000. The auction was held at the Aguttes auction house in Lyon, France, and the structure was finally sold to Pierre-Etienne Bindschelder, CEO of Soprema, a firm that specializes in waterproofing items. Bindschelder said the skeleton will be displayed in the lobby of Soprema’s main office.

According to the BBC, this skeleton was found by a hunter in Siberia about 10 years ago. Scientists who examined it noticed that the teeth of this male mammoth had decayed, suggesting the animal probably died due to starvation after being unable to graze.

Experts said the weight of the animal must have been approximately 1,350 kg (3,000 pounds).

In the past one decade, archeologists have unearthed several skeletons of mammoths in Siberia. The rising temperature in the region has caused the permafrost to melt at a very fast rate, helping researchers to find an increasing number of skeletons in Siberia.

“We’re getting things like fur, the skin, the muscles, the organs – and even the last meal,” David Gelsthorpe, curator of Earth Science collections at Manchester Museum, told the BBC.

Studies suggest that woolly mammoths lived along with early humans during the Pleistocene epoch. These animals are thought to have diverged from the steppe mammoth in East Asia about 400,000 years ago. The closest existing relative of woolly mammoths is the Asian elephant. Mammoths were herbivores and survived on grass, flowers, and plants. Several frozen carcasses of these animals have been found in Alaska and Siberia, allowing researchers to study them in greater detail. Archeologists have also discovered many prehistoric drawings of the animal, created by early humans, in different caves.

It is believed that a large number of woolly mammoth died around 10,000 years ago after being hunted by humans and due to changes in climate. Early humans hunted them for bones and tusks, which they used to create different tools and their dwellings. The last group of the woolly mammoth, which existed on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean, is believed to have vanished about 4,000 years ago.