An astonishing well-preserved woolly mammoth has been retrieved from a lake in the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia, Russia, with soft tissues intact. Early reports indicate the remains include skin, tendon, and even woolly mammoth excrement from what is thought to be an adult male. The Pleistocene giant had been frozen in the permafrost, making it both a rare find and a unique opportunity for scientists to discover more about these ancient animals.
According to a report from the Siberian Times, the newly-discovered animal stood at around 3-meters (10 feet) tall and was a male aged between 15 to 20 years. They had initially believed the skeleton to be complete and conveniently still in anatomical order, but closer inspection of the remains has revealed the researchers had somewhat of a Pleistocene puzzle on their hands as only the back end of the skeleton was in any kind of order.
"[The] rest of the bones were in such chaotic order that it was impossible to guess where they were. We just had to go through centners of slit," said Andrey Gusevm, from the Centre of Arctic Research, in a report from the Siberian Times. "The way it stayed preserved is unique as the back part of the spine was still connected by the remains of tendons and skin."
This is the third woolly mammoth on record found on the Yamal Peninsula and the first adult. It's currently rumored to be named after those who were responsible for its discovery, Yakov and Alexander Tadibe from the village of Seyakha, taking their surname Tadibe.
‘We are incredibly grateful to our friend Konstantin Tadibe not only for being quick in informing us about the find, but also for this enormous physical help he and his brother Yakov gave us during the field work. We would also like to thank their father Alexander for raising such children," said Gusev.
Over the space of two trips, the researchers retrieved 90 percent of the animal's skeleton, including two feet and even a tail. "We have one front and one hind foot well-preserved, with tendons, soft tissues and pieces of skin," said Evgenia Khozyainova from Shemanovsky museum in Salekhard. "Also we have sacrum with adjacent vertebrae, including the tail preserved with tendons and a big piece of skin."
Bones of woolly mammoths are not uncommon in the Yamal region, but to find such well-preserved soft tissues is a rare and exciting event. We have the permafrost to thank for suspending the degradation of such old specimens, as it effectively locks them in a time capsule until such time that man-made climate change thaws them out again. Welcome back to the world, Tadibe. You’ve picked one hell of a year.
[H/T: Siberian Times]