37,000 Year Old Baby Mammoth

by

Secrets of 37,000 year old baby mammoth revealed
By Paul RinconBBC

Baby Mammoth

Baby Mammoth

Perfectly preserved, the baby mammoth looks like she has been asleep only for a moment – not for the 37,000 years she has spent locked in the rock hard permafrost of the Arctic tundra.

Clumps of brown hair still cling to the three foot tall body, hinting at the coarse coat that would have once covered the infant. Even her eylasahes are intact.
These extraordinary images show why scientists are so excited by the discovery of Lyuba – the most complete body of a woolly mammoth ever found

Area where Mammoth was Found

Area where Mammoth was Found

Discovered at the side of a river by reindeer herders on the Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia, the bone month old female is helping scientists to unravel how the extinct ice age giants once lived.

The contents of her stomach have provided scientists with valuable clues about what she and her fellow mammoths ate.

The baby’s layers of fat and minerals in her teeth have provided an unprecedented insight into her health and the health of her herd.

Palaeontologists now believe the information they have gleaned from the remains can help them understand what led to the woolly mammoths’ ultimate extinction around 10,000 years ago.

Mammoth Mummy

Mammoth Mummy

It is thought that mammoths died out as they were unable to adapt to the changing world around them as temperatures soared at the end of the last ice age, although some experts believe they may have been hunted to extinction by humans.

The findings have shown that the baby mammoth was in good health and well fed before its death, suggesting that its herd was able to find plenty of food at the time it was alive.

“Mammoths were the largest and most widespread of the many animals that went extinct near the end of the last ice age,” said Dr Dan Fisher, a palaeontologist at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Palaeontology who helped to study the baby mammoth.

“This is the first time we have been able to do a detailed comparison of a mammoth’s tusk and tooth data with soft tissues from the rest of its body.

“Though she is not large, no other specimen preserves this much of the original anatomy. That makes her a remarkable scientific resource.”

After spending 30 years studying mammoths, being able to see and touch one that so closely resembled how it would have looked when it was alive was an overwhelming experience for Dr Fisher.

He said: “When I saw her, my first thought was ‘Oh my goodness, she’s perfect. It looked like she’d just drifted off to sleep. Suddenly what I’d been struggling to visualise for so long was lying right there for me to touch.”

The frozen remains of the baby mammoth were discovered on a sandbar beside the Yuribey River in May 2007 by a Nenets reindeer herder Yuri Khudi and three of his sons as they tended their herd.

When they told the director of a local museum about their discovery it caused a worldwide sensation and officials named the calf Lyuba after Khudi’s wife.

Over the past two years palaeontologists from the US, Russia and Japan have been painstakingly examining the baby mammoth’s body. Their work will be revealed tonight in a National Geographic Channel documentary.

While around a dozen other frozen woolly mammoth carcases have been found in Siberia since the first in 1806, none of them have been as complete or as well preserved as this one.

Using the latest medical scanning technology, scientists at Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, were able to produce the first ever three dimensional scan of a woolly mammoth.

It provided new insights into mammoth’s anatomy and also gave clues about the baby’s death. Sediment was found packed inside the baby mammoth’s trunk, blocking the nasal passages, and also in the mouth and windpipe.

The experts believe that it may have suffocated to death after becoming trapped in the thick mud that eventually encased the body, where it had gradually pickled and was preserved.

They found the baby mammoth had recently fed, drinking its mothers milk. They also discovered dung inside the baby’s stomach, suggesting an origin of behaviour that is seen in modern elephants today.

Baby elephants eat the dung from adults in their herd to provide them with bacteria they will need in their stomachs to digest the grass they will eat in later life.

Comparisons with other mammoth specimens have also revealed how the mammoth calves changed as they matured.

The soles of the baby’s feet would have cracked as she aged to provide traction in the snow while fleshy pads behind her toes would have cushioned her steps, essential as fully grown mammoths weighed more than six tons.

Analysis on the milk tusks – the mammoth equivalent milk teeth which provide an almost daily record of the animal’s life history, like rings of a tree – will also help scientists find out what the climate was like at the time and if the mammoths underwent long migrations.

Palaeontologists also hope that by comparing the baby mammoth’s DNA with genetic information taken from other mammoth remains, it may be possible to understand what led to the mammoths’ ultimate extinction around 10,000 years ago.

The discovery of such a well preserved carcase has also raised hopes that scientists may one day be able to use DNA from the remains to clone a woolly mammoth by inserting genetic information from the frozen body into the egg of a modern elephant.

Alexei Tikhonov, from the Russian Academy of Science who also helped to study the baby mammoth, added: “Lyuba is a creature straight out of a fairy tale. When you look at her, it’s hard to understand how she could have stayed in such good condition for nearly 40,000 years.”

A baby mammoth unearthed in the permafrost of north-west Siberia could be the best preserved specimen of its type, scientists have said.

The frozen carcass is to be sent to Japan for detailed study.

The six-month-old female calf was discovered on the Yamal peninsula of Russia and is thought to have died 10,000 years ago.

The animal’s trunk and eyes are still intact and some of its fur remains on the body.

In terms of its state of preservation, this is the world’s most valuable discovery
Alexei Tikhonov, Russian Academy of Sciences
Mammoths are an extinct member of the elephant family. Adults often possessed long, curved tusks and a coat of long hair.

The 130cm (4ft 3ins) tall, 50kg Siberian specimen dates to the end of the last Ice Age, when the great beasts were vanishing from the planet.

It was discovered by a reindeer herder in May this year. Yuri Khudi stumbled across the carcass near the Yuribei River, in Russia’s Yamal-Nenets autonomous district.

Missing tail

Last week, an international delegation of experts convened in the town of Salekhard, near the discovery site, to carry out a preliminary examination of the animal.

“The mammoth has no defects except that its tail was bit off,” said Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a member of the delegation.

Map, BBC
“In terms of its state of preservation, this is the world’s most valuable discovery,” he said.

Larry Agenbroad, director of the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs research centre in South Dakota, US, said: “To find a juvenile mammoth in any condition is extremely rare.” Dr Agenbroad added that he knew of only three other examples.

Some scientists hold out hope that well preserved sperm or other cells containing viable DNA could be used to resurrect the mammoth lineage.

Despite the inherent difficulties, Dr Agenbroad remains optimistic about the potential for cloning.

“When we got the Jarkov mammoth [found frozen in Taimyr, Siberia, in 1997], the geneticists told me: ‘if you can get us good DNA, we’ll have a baby mammoth for you in 22 months’,” he told BBC News.

Lucrative trade

That specimen failed to yield DNA of sufficient quality, but some researchers believe it may only be a matter of time until the right find emerges from Siberia.

Bringing mammoths back from the dead could take the form of injecting sperm into the egg of a relative, such as the Asian elephant, to try to create a hybrid.

Alternatively, scientists could attempt to clone a pure mammoth by fusing the nucleus of a mammoth cell with an elephant egg cell stripped of its DNA.

But Dr Agenbroad warned that scientifically valuable Siberian mammoth specimens were being lost to a lucrative trade in ivory, skin, hair and other body parts.

The city of Yakutsk in Russia’s far east forms the hub for this trade.

Local people are scouring the Siberian permafrost for remains to sell on, and, according to Dr Agenbroad, more carcasses could be falling into the hands of dealers than are finding their way to scientists.

Japan transfer

“These products are primarily for collectors and it is usually illicit,” he explained.

“Originally it was for ivory, now it is everything. You can now go on almost any fossil marketing website and find mammoth hair for $50 an inch. It has grown beyond anyone’s imagination.”

Dr Agenbroad added: “Russia says that any mammoth remains are the property of the Russian government, but nobody really pays attention to that.”

The Yamal mammoth is expected to be transferred to Jikei University in Tokyo, Japan, later this year.

A team led by Professor Naoki Suzuki will carry out an extensive study of the carcass, including CT scans of its internal organs.

Mammoths first appeared in the Pliocene Epoch, 4.8 million years ago.

What caused their widespread disappearance at the end of the last Ice Age remains unclear; but climate change, overkill by human hunters, or a combination of both could have been to blame.

One population of mammoths lived on in isolation on Russia’s remote Wrangel Island until about 5,000 years ago.

Paul.Rincon-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk

6 Responses to “37,000 Year Old Baby Mammoth”

  1. Louis Says:

    A good day to whom it may concern.

    THE BABY MAMMOTH IS NOT THAT OLD.

    CARBON DATING DOES NOT WORK: http://www.drdino.com/read-article.php?id=72

    The baby Mammoth according to science and not lies, are younger than about 6400 years old.

    For more facts please for free, download any of Dr. Hovind’s videos: http://www.drdino.com/media-categories.php

    May The Lord Christ Jesus bless you with wisdom and peace.

    -Louis.

  2. Julia Says:

    thats cool

  3. R.Bigueras Says:

    Extra-Ordinary, Thank you to our Great Scientists!

  4. Kevin Sudds Says:

    why don’t u try to bring it back to life and I don’t mean zombie kind of bring it back to life I mean lets make more mammoths!!!

  5. Dave Says:

    If we brought them back to life it would be the first time we actually saved a species rather than destroyed a species.

    That would be a first and a good way to go!

  6. Jeff Says:

    maybee they should remain dead, maybee they were causeing disease, or the plague, and thats why we killed them off.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: