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A miner has discovered a near complete mummified baby woolly mammoth.
It has since been named in the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin's Hän language as Nun cho ga which translates to 'big baby animal'.
The mammoth was found with its skin and hair still intact.
It has been called 'beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified ice age animals ever discovered in the world' by palaeontologist Dr Grant Zazula.
"I don't know how to process it all right now, to be honest with you. It's amazing," he told CBC.
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
The mammoth was discovered close to Canada's border with Alaska in its Yukon territory in Dawson city.
She was stumbled upon during an excavation project.
Woolly mammoths roamed the area over 30,000 years ago alongside cave lions, giant steppe bison and wild horses.
The most incredible thing about Nun cho ga is the preservation…toe nails, hide intact, hair, trunk, intestines… pic.twitter.com/A8sY0ztsNF— Prof Dan Shugar (@WaterSHEDLab) June 24, 2022
Nun cho ga is believed to have died during the ice age according to Dr Zazula as she was 'found in permafrost'.
The palaeontologist predicts the mammoth died when she was around 30 to 35 days old.
She has also been identified as female.
Discovered by placer miner who called Grant Zazula @yukonberingia, who put out call to any geologists in area to recover before it thawed. We were incredibly lucky to be in Dawson w Jeff Bond & Derek Cronmiller from Yukon Geol Survey. Was a fast drive down 60km of mining roads.— Prof Dan Shugar (@WaterSHEDLab) June 24, 2022
The baby woolly mammoth is the best-preserved to ever be discovered in North America.
She is also the first near-complete mummified remains of the animal to ever be found and the second-ever baby mummified mammoth to be found in the world.
"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.
"She's perfect and she's beautiful," Dr Zazula said.
We were able to study the permafrost section that the mammoth came out of… pic.twitter.com/IXQr5q3tH8— Prof Dan Shugar (@WaterSHEDLab) June 24, 2022
Michael Caldwell, a palaeontologist at the University of Alberta, reflected how it's a 'miracle of sorts' to have discovered a near-complete mammoth so well preserved.
Particularly as the weather turned immediately after the discovery was made, a storm of which could have resulted in the mammoth being lost.
Caldwell called the discovery a 'scientific gold mine and simply a beautiful thing'.
"For all paleontologists, this is amazing, but for those who work on such things it is breathtaking," he reflected.
Incredibly grateful to miner Brian from Treadstone and to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in for the opportunity to be part of this— Prof Dan Shugar (@WaterSHEDLab) June 24, 2022
The mammoth's discovery is the 'most important discovery in paleontology in North America' according to Dr Zazula.
The palaeontologist resolved: "It's going to take days and weeks and months to sink in and it's going to take days and weeks and months working with Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in to decide what we do and learn from this.
"[...] And this has been something that I've always dreamed of, to see one face to face. This week, that dream really came true."
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