42, 000 years after death and still preserved

A perfectly preserved baby mammoth which died 42, 000 years ago is on display at the National History Museum in London.

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The mammoth was found in 2007 in Siberia, Russia by a reindeer herder who named his discovery – the mammoth – Lyuba, which in Russian means love. Yuri Khudi and his sons stumbled across it while searching for wood along the Yuribei River.

The baby mammoth was almost fully intact when she was found. The only defect was a damage to her tail which was gnawed off by other animals. Her fur has almost entirely fallen off, making her resemble her distant elephant relatives, and her body is slightly deflated thanks to being mummified under ice for thousands of years.

Lyuba had clay on her trunk, leading scientists to believe she suffocated on it while trying to get water from the river where she was found. She measures 130cm tall and weighs 50kg – scientists predict she died at just one month old.

Paleontologist Professor Adrian Lister has this to say:

“To see a three-dimensional mammoth in the flesh is absolutely extraordinary.

“To be eyeball to eyeball with a creature from the Ice Age which is so perfectly preserved and lifelike, looking like she is lying down and might walk away at any minute, is really moving.

“I have to pinch myself to think she died 42,000 years ago.”

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I find this utterly intriguing as Mammoths are said to have first appeared on Earth some 4.8 million years ago, but died out around 5,000 years ago thanks to both climate change and human hunters.

Having the body of one so perfectly preserved gives us a view of what the world was like during the ice age, right? I sincerely wish I can get a chance to see Lyuba.

What about you?

 

***culled from mirror.co.uk***

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