While we are often bludgeoned with the narrative that our world is being ruined by the human beings who live here, the truth is that there are still plenty of natural mysteries and miracles to be had all around us.
Sure, there are some major cleanup initiatives in store for this planet, and the ever-steepening arc of technological progress is beginning to smother certain portions of our natural world, but we haven’t obliterated all of our ancient history just yet.
He might have hoped to strike a rich vein of gold in Canada’s Yukon. Instead, a miner there discovered something that has paleontologists’ jaws dropping: the mummified remains of a baby woolly mammoth. It’s the first time a fully preserved specimen has been discovered in North America and only the second time in the world, reports the CBC. A worker digging through the muck with a front-loader uncovered the remains in the Klondike gold fields, according to a news release from the Yukon government and the indigenous Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation, on whose land the discovery was made.
The animal was extremely well-preserved.
“She has a trunk. She has a tail. She has tiny little ears. She has the little prehensile end of the trunk where she could use it to grab grass,” says Yukon government paleontologist Dr. Grant Zazula. “She’s perfect and she’s beautiful.” The young female died during the Ice Age about 30,000 years ago, per USA Today, and she was only about 30 days old at the time. She appeared healthy and had eaten grass shortly before her death. One theory is that the animal became hopelessly mired in mud while walking near her mother.
Photos of the creatures were soon circulating online.
Being part of the recovery of Nun cho ga, the baby woolly mammoth found in the permafrost in the Klondike this week (on Solstice and Indigenous Peoples’ Day!), was the most exciting scientific thing I have ever been part of, bar none. https://t.co/WnGoSo8hPk pic.twitter.com/JLD0isNk8Y
— Prof Dan Shugar (@WaterSHEDLab) June 24, 2022
Holy smoke! 😮 A baby mammoth has just been discovered by a Yukon gold miner😍 It is more than 30000 years old! Preserved by permafrost ice❄️
Press release here: https://t.co/1tcIk5LEom pic.twitter.com/HT6Nramf6K
— Secrets Of The Ice (@brearkeologi) June 24, 2022
A full body picture of the baby woolly #mammoth found frozen in the permafrost of north-western Canada. It's thought to be more than 30,000 years old.https://t.co/fUifNRCpT4 pic.twitter.com/96Bv8cpUqO
— Nina Willburger (@DrNWillburger) June 25, 2022
Scientists in several parts of the world, working independently, have begun to explore a path toward bringing the Wooly Mammoth back to earth through genetic engineering, but it could still be a decade or more before we’re taking selfies with them at the local zoo.