Another mammoth has been discovered in Siberia – this time, however, the find is that of a well-preserved juvenile with its strawberry-blonde hair still intact. Even better – it shows both scars of predators and human contact.
“This is the first relatively complete mammoth carcass — that is, a body with soft tissues preserved — to show evidence of human association,” Daniel Fisher, curator and director of the University of Michigan’s Museum of Paleontology, told Discovery News.
The BBC and Discovery Channel helped fund the expedition to recover the carcass; estimated to be more than 10,000 years old.
“It appears that Yuka was pursued by one or more lions or another large field, judging from deep, unhealed scratches in the hide and bite marks on the tail,” Fisher said in recreating what may have happened to the 2.5 year-old mammoth. “Yuka then apparently fell, breaking one of the lower hind legs. At this point, humans may have moved in to control the carcass, butchering much of the animal and removing parts that they would use immediately.”
“They may, in fact, have reburied the rest of the carcass to keep it in reserve for possible later us,” he added. “What remains now would then be ‘leftovers’ that were never retrieved.”
Look for the BBC/Discovery special “Woolly Mammoth” featuring Yuka to premiere soon.