A Baby Woolly Mammoth, Aged 42,000 Years, Is Found Well Preserved in Yukon Permafrost

The Natural History Museum will debut a 42,000-year-old newborn mammoth next month for the first time ever seen in Western Europe.

It has been said that Lubya, named for the wife of the Siberian reindeer herder who discovered her, is the world’s most complete preserved mammoth.

The baby mammoth was just a month old when she passed away, but her body was still mostly intact, with bits of her eyelashes and some of her mother’s milk in her stomach.

According to Victoria Herridge, a paleobiologist from the Natural History Museum in London, “when they did the autopsy on her she is so complete that we could get a look at her insides and see her last meal,” the Sunday Times said.

“She may have been consuming her mother’s excrement because she had milk from nursing her mother and traces of feces in her stomach.

Living elephants do this because the bacteria in their excrement help the young absorb their food.

The Russian word for “love,” Lubya, is said to have perished after falling into a briny marsh bog and gradually dying in the muck.

The body was then preserved by the freezing mud until herder Yuri Khudi and his son happened upon it in north-western Siberia while looking for firewood by the Yuribei river.

Lubya is on display as part of a new exhibition called Mammoths: Ice Age Giants, which runs from May 23 to September 7, 2014. The spiral-tusked Columbian mammoth and the dwarf mammoth will be among the other species on display.

Herridge points out that although some enthusiasts would be expecting that this amazing specimen is sufficiently conserved to allow scientists to clone the mammoth, Lubya’s DNA will have “deteriorated” severely.

Contrary to popular perception, DNA only has a half-life of around 521 years, which means that, at least for the time being, cloning in the vein of Jurassic Park is not possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *