- A local resident of #Yakutia, #Siberia, found the ancient carcass of a juvenile woolly rhino in the melting permafrost.
- #Researchers said the carcass was between 20,000 and 50,000 years old and the most complete young woolly rhino ever found.
- #Most of the rhino’s fur coat, hooves and internal organs are intact – the researchers even found the animal’s horn nearby.
- #An expert thinks the rhino drowned when he was three or four years old.
- #Visit the #Business #Insider homepage for more stories.
#Alexei #Savvin stumbled upon an unprecedented discovery while walking near the #Tirekhtyakh #River in #Yakutia, #Siberia, last #August: an almost perfectly preserved woolly rhino carcass.
#Most of the rhino’s hooves, teeth and internal organs were still intact. The animal still had part of its thick fur coat, and researchers even found its horn, which had broken off but was lying nearby.
#After analyzing the carcass, #Siberian scientists announced on #Tuesday that the rhino likely lived between 20,000 and 50,000 years.
#It is one of the most intact ancient rhinos ever found.
“The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when he died, possibly by drowning,” #Valery #Plotnikov, a paleontologist at the #Russian #Academy of #Sciences, told the #Siberian #Times.
“The rhino has a very thick short undercoat, it most likely died in the summer,” #Plotnikov added.
The rhino used its horn to forage for food
#Siberian scientists hope to take the carcass to a radiocarbon dating lab next month to get a better idea of when the animal died several thousand years ago. There they set out to also find out what kind the rhino was.
#For now, they are waiting for roads to open between where #Savvin found the rhino and the nearby town of #Yakutsk.
#According to #Plotnikov, finding the rhino’s little horn was a fluke.
“#It’s a rarity because it breaks down quite quickly,” #Plotnikov told local #Yakutia 24 TV. #Researchers found signs of wear and tear on the horn, suggesting the rhino used it to collect food, #Reuters reported.
#Woolly rhinos lived throughout #Europe and #North #Asia until they disappeared about 14,000 years ago, towards the end of the last ice age. The creatures had two horns — a small horn between his eyes and a large one protruding upward — and were covered with a thick coat of fur.
These herbivores nibbled on herbs; adults could grow to lengths of 13 feet and weigh up to 2.2 tons (4,400 pounds).
#Not the first find of its kind
#Findings like this are likely to become more common as #Earth’s temperatures continue to rise.
#As the planet warms, permafrost – soil in the northern hemisphere that stays frozen year round – begins to thaw. #As it melts, #Ice #Age creatures like this woolly rhino that have been buried for tens of thousands of years begin to be unearthed.
#In 2014, scientists found a carcass of a baby woolly rhino – nicknamed #Sasha – in the same region of #Siberia that this new rhino was found.
#Sasha lived 34,000 years ago and was covered in strawberry blonde colored fur, according to the #Siberian #Times.
The baby rhino died at the age of seven months and had two small horns.
#Yakutia gave another discovery in 2019: #Scientists found a 40,000-year-old severed wolf head, complete with fur, teeth, brain and handkerchiefs on the banks of a river.
#In a similar discovery last #September, #Siberian researchers announced they had found a perfectly preserved adult cave bear – with its nose, teeth and internal organs still intact. #Scientists believe the bear died 22,000 to 39,500 years ago. #Its species, #Ursus spelaeus, lived during the last ice age and then became extinct 15,000 years ago.
The #Lyakhovsky #Islands, where the bear was found, are also teeming with the remains of woolly mammoths from the last ice age.
The #Siberian permafrost has also revealed two perfectly preserved extinct cave lion cubs, as well as an ancient baby horse that died in a mud pit 42,000 years ago. The foal’s hair, skin, tail and hooves were all intact.