Russian Reindeer Herder Discovers Baby Mammoth in Arctic

Perfectly preserved woolly mammoth is 40,000 years old

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Aug 19, 2011  |  Updated 10:13 AM CDT
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The most complete woolly mammoth specimen ever found is the female woolly mammoth named Lyuba, who scientists believe died in Siberia about 42,000 years ago.

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A man herding reindeer in Russia's Arctic found the perfectly-preserved, 40,000-year-old body of a baby woolly mammoth.

The creature's carcass was sticking up out of the permafrost, local officials said. The discovery came in the same area a mammoth calf dubbed Lyuba was found four years ago, authorities told Reuters. They are sending out an expedition to examine the find and possibly recover it.

"If it is true what is said about how it is preserved, this will be another sensation of global significance," expedition leader Natalia Fyodorova said in a statement on the Arctic Yamalo-Nenetsk region's website.

Scientists hope to bring the remains to the regional capital Salekhard, where it would be stored in a cooler to prevent decomposition.

Giant woolly mammoths have been extinct for at least 12,000 years. In the case of Lyuba, arctic ice kept the mammoth so well preserved that skin and organs were intact. She was named for the wife of the hunter who discovered her.

Woolly mammoths grew to as much as 10 feet tall and eight tons. Some scientists believe it could be possible to bring the beast back from extinction is enough well-preserved genetic material can be taken from a preserved carcass. It is believed to be most directly related to the Asian elephant.

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