10,000-year-old mammoth found in Siberia4-foot gray-and-brown baby could help in climate change studiesMOSCOW – The well-preserved carcass of a 10,000-year-old baby mammoth has been unearthed in the northern Siberian permafrost, a discovery scientists said could help in climate change studies.The 4-foot gray-and-brown carcass, discovered in May by a reindeer herder in the Yamal-Nenets region, has its trunk and eyes virtually intact and even some fur remaining, said Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Zoological Institute.The animal’s tail and ear were apparently bitten off, he said.“The mammoth is an animal that you look at, and you see that there is an entire epoch behind it, a huge time period when climate was changing,” he said in comments broadcast last week.“And of course when we talk about climate change, we must use the knowledge that we will get from them (mammoths).”Scientists believe mammoths lived from 4.8 million years ago to around 4,000 years ago.Studies suggest climate change or overkill by human hunters as possible reasons leading to their extinction.Tikhonov said the mammoth would be sent to an institute in Japan for further study.
Woolly mammoths roamed northern Eurasia and North America for tens of thousands of years during the last Ice Age, disappearing about 10,000 years ago.There is evidence that smaller-statured island populations persisted for much longer, with one group possibly lasting until 2000 B.C.Tikhonov said the mammoth would be sent to an institute in Japan for further study.
Mummified remains of a 37,000-year-old may hold key to mammoths' extinction
Last updated at 00:23am on 5th January 2008More by this author »
The frozen body of a baby woolly mammoth that died some 37,000 years ago could shed new light on why the giant creatures became extinct.
The six-month-old female calf – discovered in the permafrost of northern Siberia by a reindeer herder – is one of the best-preserved mammoths ever found.
Its trunk and eyes were still intact, while it still had some fur left on its body. Its tail and ear were bitten off, probably in a fight with a predator or another mammoth, but there are few clues as to how it died.
Deep freeze: this mammoth calf, standing 4ft 3in tall and weighing 110lb (7st 8lb), still had some tufts of her wooly coat attached when she was unearthed in Siberia
"This is what we've all been waiting for – the chance to explain everything about the mammoth," said Professor Naoki Suzuki of the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, who is leading the first stage of an international study of the carcass's structure.
"Our findings will be a big step toward resolving the mystery of their extinction."
Woolly mammoths first appeared around 4.8million years ago. They died out around 5,000 years ago, long after the end of the last Ice Age.
Scientists are unsure whether climate change or human hunting caused their demise.
The 4ft long grey and brown mammoth, named Lyuba, was found in the remote Yamal-Nenets region of Siberia in May.
It arrived in Tokyo last week and has now been given a computerised tomography scan.
Using information from the scan, the scientists have been able to piece together a threedimensional model of the baby – giving them an almost surgical view into the body.
Unlike other mammoth carcasses, which have been badly damaged or are incomplete, Lyuba is almost perfectly preserved. Scientists hope to analyse the 3-D data to get a better understanding of her internal organs and structure and will look for clues about her diet and why she died.
They will also analyse tiny air samples in her lungs for clues to the Earth's atmosphere during the Ice Age.
The frozen mammoth has already triggered global interest. Scientists from Japan, the United States, Canada, Russia and other European countries are scheduled to take part in the research.
"Lyuba's discovery is an historic event," said Bernard Buigues, vice-president of the Geneva-based International Mammoth Committee.
"It could tell us why this species didn't survive and shed light on the fate of human beings."
Lyuba will be on public display in Tokyo until the end of next month.
Woolly mammoths were the most successful of their species. They lived in Europe, Asia and North America, surviving the Ice Age with a thick, hairy layer of fur.
Most mammoths were extinct around 8,000 years ago. However, a group survived on Russia's Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean until 2,500 BC.