37,000-year-old baby mammoth discovered

May 3rd, 2009 - 3:51 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 3 (ANI): The secrets of now extinct ice age beasts have been revealed after the discovery of a body of a 37,000-year-old baby mammoth.

The perfectly preserved frozen body was found in the artic tundra.

For 37,000 years, the baby mammoth has been kept locked in the rock hard permafrost of the Arctic tundra. It was discovered at the side of a river by reindeer herders on the Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia.

Clumps of brown hair still cling to the three-foot tall body, hinting at the coarse coat that would have once covered the infant, reports The Telegraph.

The bone month old female is helping scientists to unravel how the extinct ice age giants once lived.

Her stomach’s contents 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.

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.

“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,” the expert added. (ANI)

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