Gold miners discovered two mummified Ice Age animals – a wolf pup and a caribou calf – in Yukon, Canada.
A Facebook post shows the remains of the caribou calf, estimated to be older than 50,000 years based on radiocarbon dating.
The caribou was found alongside a bed of volcanic ash called Dominion Creek tephra, which dates back to 80,000 years, wrote the Danoja Zho Cultural Center. Follow us on our Twitter account, @amomama_usa, to learn more.
Because of this, the mummified caribou calf – found by Tony Beets’ crew on Paradise Hill on July 3, 2016 – is believed to be the oldest mummified flesh, skin, and hair in the world.
“Genetic studies will tell us how this caribou relates to modern herds in the region,” the Danoja Zho Cultural Center added.
SPECIES STILL LIVING TODAY
The mummified animals were unveiled at a ceremony in Dawson in Yukon on September 13, 2018.
The caribou calf is partially preserved, with head, torso and two front limbs intact. The wolf pup is kept in its entirety, including exceptional details of the head, tail, paws, skin, and hair.
“Interestingly, both the wolf and caribou specimens are of species that are still living today – those that did not go extinct at the end of the ice age like the woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed cats,” the center noted.
“To our knowledge, this is the only mummified ice age wolf ever found in the world,” said Grant Zazula, a local paleontologist working with the Yukon government.
“When Grant sent me the pictures and asked me to participate I was really, really excited. I was sort of beside myself,” said Julie Meachen, a carnivore morphologist at Des Moines University and will soon be researching the wolf pup.
Mummified Ice Age animals have earlier been discovered in the remote and icy north of the Yakutia Republic in Siberia.
The area has become well-known for the discovery of remains of Ice Age mammals within its thick permafrost deposits, including the Yukagir bison, Kolyma woolly rhinoceros, Selerikan pony, and the Yuka mammoth.
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