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The corpse of a little woolly mammoth, very well preserved thanks to the permanent cold of Siberia, has been examined by an international team of scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Yakutsk, who have found evidence that the animal was shot down by predators, probably lions, and then preyed upon by the greatest predator of all, man. If the initial findings are confirmed, it would be the first well preserved mammoth carcass despite evidence of interaction with humans
The mammoth, whose name is "Yuka”, Was discovered frozen in ice near the arctic ocean by hunters of mammoth tusks. Bernard Buiguess of the Mammuthus scientific exploration organization acquired the body to scientific research, saving it from falling into the hands of private collectors. Through dental analysis, it is known that Yuka had a few two years and a half and died about 10,000 years ago. Radiocarbon tests are in progress and once they are done your exact date of death will be known.
- Yuka, the little mammoth
Although various parts of the animal are losses due to predators, much of the soft tissue is in good conditions. The pads of the legs, the trunk, strips of fur and hair are so intact that they could pass through a fresh prey.
His red skin is also interesting. Its alot longer and clearer than other mammoth skins previously discovered. In 2006, University of Manitoba scientist Kevin Campbell published a DNA sequence of mammoth hemoglobin. He also found genes that could be from lighter hair. Campbell is excited to find a mammoth that keeps light hair well, because if Yuka's DNA is properly extracted, researchers will have a chance to link the DNA sequence to the light-haired phenotype.
But it is Yuka's death that is causing the greatest expectations, due to both the lion's attack and the possible human intervention.
Healed cuts found in the skin indicate that survived the lion attack in its relative short life. However, similar deep cuts that did not heal suggest that a new attack close to his death. Furthermore, by moving one of his legs, Professor Fisher recognized the evidence of a recently broken leg when he died and suggests that it may have happened when he was trying to flee from their attackers.
The lions in question (Phanthera leo spelea) are a endangered subspecies of the African lion, commonly known as the Eurasian cave lions, but they were present in the times of the mammoth. “Did we know that lions hunted mammoths? We imagine they did. But could we have expected to see such graphic evidence? No but here it is”Explains Professor Fisher.
The Lions they hunt baby elephants in Africa today, but after gutting it in the belly, they eat its guts. Yuka does not appear to have been destroyed in the style of lions. In fact, there are marks that indicate a disembowelment with the help of tools.
This includes a "long and narrow cut that goes from the head to the center of the back " as well as "very unusual aperture patterns"On the skin and"wavy margins”At the top of the right flank.
The skull, spine, ribs, and pelvis were removed from the body, but the skull and pelvis were found nearby. However, most of the spine and three-quarters of the ribs they are lost.
These wavy marks on the skin are made by 15-30 small stretch marks what "could be small movements of a human tool"And there is"some amazing brandsIn the leg bones, according to Fisher.
The scientists questioned the ivory hunters who found the corpse to see if they they could have made the cuts. They denied it, since would not have had monetary interest smash the salable object. There are people today who practice lion poaching, so it is not a crazy proposition.
A Documentary film The discovery of Yuka has been shot from its discovery by ivory hunters, to subsequent examinations by the Academy of Sciences. Woolly Mamooth: Secrets From the Ice aired on BBC Two in Great Britain. The date of emission in the Discovery Channel of the United States is pending.
Graduated in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was little I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.