In the Soviet Union, the body of a baby mammoth has been found in a block of ice where it had been preserved in perfect condition for over 10,000 years.
In the Soviet Union, the body of a baby mammoth has been found in a block of ice where it had been preserved in perfect condition for over 10,000 years. A bulldozer driver made the discovery when he dug up a large block of ice. The mammoth carcass was revealed as the ice began to melt.
SYNOPSIS: Soviet scientists said the discovery in Eastern Sibera was almost unique because of the mammoth's perfect condition. It is only the second complete mammoth carcass ever to be found.
The body was moved to the nearby city of Magadan to be studied in a deep-freeze by members of the Academy of Sciences under the direction of Dr Nikolai Shilo.
He explained that the baby mammoth was between five and seven months old. It measured 104 centimetres (40 inches) in length and nearly 100 centimetres (39 inches) in height. Dr Shilo said mammoths had very ling, thick coats of hair to protect them from the intense cold. Although it was very young the baby mammoth had hair which was 10 to 12 centimetres (four inches) long.
"This find,' he said, "can yield more facts about the prevailing conditions and the climate of some ten to 14 thousand years ago when mammoths reamed the earth, and why they became extinct."
The mammoth's carcass had been preserves so well because the ground in the area of Siberia where it was found is covered in permanent frost and never thaws, even in summer.
Dr Shilo said that microbiologists, geologists and paleontologists would be particularly interested in examining the carcass. He estimated that researchers in ten or twelve different fields would be involved, carrying out studies under carefully controlled conditions in the chamber. If it was allowed to thaw the carcass would soon disintegrate. Because of this cameraman were only allowed to spend about one minute taking photographs inside the chamber.