March 07, 15:33
KRASNOYARSK, October 4 (Itar-Tass) — A body of a mammoth which perished almost 30,000 years ago has been found on Cape Sopochnaya Karga on the Taimyr peninsula in the north of Russia. An eleven-year-old boy, Yevgeny Salinder, found the mammoth and told his parents about the find, who informed local Polar researchers.
Shortly after a full-scale research expedition was sent to make excavations on the site where the mammoth was seen. The find proved to be the second best preserved mammoth body ever found in the history of paleontology. A similar mammoth body which remained almost intact had been earlier found on the Berezovka river- a tributary of the Kolyma river, in 1901.
Organizers of the expedition told Itar-Tass that as the excavation was going on they realized that it was not a mere mammoth skeleton, but a whole mammoth body weighing almost half a ton which had fragments of animal skin, flesh and even some of the inner organs. It was a rare thing to find which happens once in a hundred years, the scientists said.
To retrieve the mammoth body from soil bound by permanent frost the researchers used traditional axes and picks and even made a special steam bowl which they used to melt pieces of frost-bound soil.
Even a casual examination of the mammoth body enabled the researchers to confirm several scientific hypotheses- to prove that a mammoth hunch is a kind of a fat deposit similar to the one carried by a camel, rather than part of its skeleton. First, a mammoth hunch was seen featured on drawings dating back to the paleontological era. People wondered since why the animal was so hunch-backed and thought the hunch was a continuation of the animal's vertebrae protruding from a mammoth chest, which proved wrong.
In fact, the animal was well-adapted to endure the hard conditions of the north. A powerful fat belt on its body used to protect the animal in winter cold. The animal, which obviously perished in a summer period because it had no fur sub-coat on its skin, proved to have a sufficient enough fat reserve, said Deputy director of the Zoological Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Tikhonov.
The mammoth will be turned over to the Taimyr history museum. The museum administration has already agreed to let the Russian Academy of Sciences study the mammoth at the Zoological and Paleontological Museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The retrieved mammoth body will be cleared of earth and dirt and then subjected to a detailed examination. Experts decided to name the mammoth Zhenya - a shortened name of the schoolboy who found the mammoth- believed to be a discovery of the century.