Scientists discover intact Ice Age woolly rhino in Siberia
December 30, 2020
Paleontologists have found one of the best-preserved specimens of the Ice Age animal to date in Russia's extreme north. They dated the carcass as anywhere from 20,000-to 50,000-years-old.
Scientists in Siberia have discovered a well-preserved Ice Age woolly rhino that likely roamed Russia's extreme north thousands of years ago, local media reported on Wednesday.
The carcass was first revealed in August by melting permafrost in the diamond-producing region of Yakutia.
It is among the best-preserved specimens of the Ice Age animal found to date. Russian paleontologist Valery Plotnikov said the rhino was discovered complete with all its limbs, some of its organs including part of the intestines, its tusk, a lump of fat and even its wool, Russian news agency Yakutia 24 reported.
Erosion marks detected on the tusk indicates that the rhino probably used it to gather food, Plotnikov added. The rhino was likely 3- or 4-years-old when it died. Plotnikov said the young rhino likely drowned.
Climate change prompts discoveries
The carcass is estimated to be anywhere from 20,000- to 50,000-years-old. More precise dating will be possible once it is delivered to a lab for radiocarbon studies next month, when ice roads in the Arctic region become passable.
The rhino was found on the bank of the Tirekhtyakh river in the Abyisk district, close to the area where another young woolly rhino was recovered in 2014. Researchers said that specimen was 34,000 years old.
Recent years have seen similar major finds of woolly rhinos, mammoths, Ice Age foal, and cave lion cubs as the permafrost increasingly melts across vast areas of Siberia because of global warming. Climate change is warming the Arctic at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world.