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Science » Planet Earth

Boy finds well-preserved body of mammoth

04.10.2012
 
Boy finds well-preserved body of mammoth. 48158.jpeg
Source: Vesti.ru

An 11-year-old boy from Russia's Krasnoyarsk region found unique remains of a mammoth that died about 30,000 years ago. The boy, Yevgeny Salinder, made his priceless finding at Sopochnaya Karga, three kilometers from Sopkarga polar weather station in Taimyr.

The mammoth was named Zhenya, which is Yevgeny for short, the official website of the Dolgan-Nenetsky Municipal District said. Officially, the found animal will be called Sopkarginsky Mammoth.

The boy, who lives with his family in the area of the meteorological station, told his parents of his finding. The parents shared the story with employees of the station. Soon afterwards, scientists started conducting excavation works.

This became the second incident in the history of paleontology, when such a remarkably preserved body of the prehistoric animal was uncovered. Last time, a similar finding was made in 1901 on Berezovka River - a tributary of Kolyma.

The organizers of the expedition said that it became clear during excavations that it was not just a carcass, but a whole body of a mammoth that weighed half a ton. The remains contain well-preserved fragments of skin, meat, fat, and even several organs. Experts said that the animal found in Taimyr is a male. The mammoth died at age 15 or 16 years.

To extract the prehistoric mammal from permafrost, scientists used traditional tools - axes, picks, and a specially designed device that allowed to thaw ice layers with the help of steam. During one week, the specialists extracted the remains of the ancient animal.

A quick examination of the mammoth gave scientists an opportunity to confirm a number of scientific hypotheses. For example, it became possible to prove that the mammoth hump is a fatty deposit, like that of a camel, rather than a structural peculiarity of the skeleton.

"For the first time, it was seen in Paleolithic drawings, and everyone tried to guess why the animals are humped. Scientists believed that it was so because the animals had very large neural spines of the thoracic vertebrae. Now it turns out that it is not true to fact. We can see that this animal was very well adapted to the conditions of the north. The animals were saving fat for winter," said deputy director of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Tikhonov.

The scientist said that, most likely, the mammoth died in summer: it did not have the undercoat, but it had saved a large reserve of fat.

The rare finding will be exhibited at Taimyr Regional Museum. The museum has already agreed to hand over the mammoth remains to the Russian Academy of Sciences. The unique finding will be studied at the Zoological and Paleontological institutes of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

 

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