A child has made a unique find on Cape Sopochnaya Kagra in northern Russia. Not just a skeleton, but a complete and well-preserved mammoth.
According to scientists, such finds are very rare and the carcass found by Evgeny Salinder is the second-best preserved mammoth ever discovered in the history of paleontology.
Salinder found the mammoth on Cape Sopochnaya Kagra on the Taimyr Peninsula, Krasnoyarsk Region, some 3,000 kilometres north-east of Moscow, and immediately told his parents, who then got in touch with authorities.
Scientists now claim that this find is unique, as it is not merely a skeleton, but is the entire hulk of the Ice Age animal. They say the find can tell them a lot about the ancient animals. The remains are so well preserved, that they are complete with meat, fat, fur and organs.
Initial examination of the carcass has revealed that humps on the mammoth's back are actually fat and are similar to those of camels. Previously scientists have thought that the humps were part of the bone structure of the creature.
Aleksey Tikhonov of the Zoological Institute at the Russian Academy of Scientists said, "We can see that this animal was very well adapted to the northern environment, accumulating massive amounts of fat. This animal likely died during the summer period as we can’t see much of its undercoat, but it had already accumulated a sufficient amount of fat.”
The mammoth, named Zhenya (a nickname based on Evgeny) by the palaeontologists, will become the main exhibit at the Taimyr Regional Museum.
Now a full-scale excavation work has begun to probe the area for more remains.
According to Itar-Tass news agency, a similar discovery was last made in Russia over a century ago and it took palaeontologists a week to retrieve the carcass from the permafrost, using special steam generators to free the carcass from the frozen soil and snow.
Images of the unique find can be viewed here. The video above, while in Italian and Russian, does show the discovery in some detail.