Sunday, October 7, 2012

Boy finds mammoth

  • 6 Oct 2012
  • The Guardian
  • Associated Press Moscow

Boy, 11, finds mammoth in frozen mud

A well- preserved mammoth that may have been killed by ice age humans has been found in the permafrost of northern Siberia.

Prof Alexei Tikhonov, of the Zoology Institute in St Petersburg, announced the discovery of the mammoth, which was excavated late last month near the Sopochnaya Karga cape, 2,200 miles north-east of Moscow.

The 16-year- old mammoth has been named Jenya, after the 11-year-old Russian boy who found the animal’s limbs sticking out of the frozen mud. The animal was two metres (6ft 6in) tall and weighed 500kg (1,100lb). “He was pretty small for his age,” Tikhonov said.

Jenya had a missing left tusk that made him unfit for fights with other mammoths or human hunters who were settling the Siberian marshes and swamps some 20,000-30,000 years ago, Tikhonov said. The splits on Jenya’s remaining tusk show a “possible human touch”, he said.

Examination of the body has already proved that the massive humps on mammoths seen in ice age cave paintings from Spain and France were not extended bones but huge chunks of fat that helped them survive the long, cold winters, Tikhonov said.

Jenya’s carcass is the best-preserved since a 1901 discovery near the Beryozovka river in Russia’s north- eastern Yakutia region, he added.

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