Paleontologist says the baby woolly mammoth is “one of the most incredible mummified Ice Age animals ever discovered in the world.”
Miners in the Klondike goldfields in Canada’s far north have made a rare discovery, unearthing the mummified remains of a nearly complete woolly baby mammoth.
Members of the local Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation called the calf Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal.”
Paleontologist Grant Zazula said in a statement Saturday that the tiny tyke, who has retained his skin and hair, is “beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified Ice Age animals ever discovered in the world.”
“I’m excited to get to know her better,” he said.
The baby mammoth’s remains were discovered on June 21 during excavations through permafrost south of Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory, which borders the US state of Alaska.
The animal is believed to be female and would have died during the Ice Age, more than 30,000 years ago when woolly mammoths roamed the region along with wild horses, cave lions and giant steppe bison.
Zazula told the CBC station that Nun cho ga was probably about a month old when she died, most likely after getting stuck in the mud.
The discovery marks the first nearly complete and best-preserved mummified woolly mammoth found in North America.
A partial mammoth calf named Effie was found in 1948 in a gold mine in the interior of Alaska.
A 42,000-year-old mummified baby woolly mammoth known as Lyuba was also discovered in Siberia in 2007. Lyuba and Nun cho ga are about the same size, according to the Yukon government.
It noted that Yukon has “a world-renowned fossil record of Ice Age animals, but skin-and-hair mummified remains are rarely unearthed.”