Herder finds baby mammoth

2011-08-19 14:16

Moscow - A reindeer herder in Russia's Arctic has stumbled on the pre-historic remains of a baby woolly mammoth poking out of the permafrost, local officials said on Friday.

The herder said the carcass was as perfectly preserved as the 40 000-year-old mammoth calf Lyuba discovered in the same remote region four years ago, authorities said, adding that an expedition had set off hoping to confirm the "sensational" find.

"If it is true what is said about how it is preserved, this will be another sensation of global significance," expedition leader Natalia Fyodorova said in a statement on the Arctic Yamalo-Nenetsk region's official website.

Scientists planned to fly the mammoth's remains to the regional capital Salekhard, where it would be stored in a cooler to prevent the remains from decomposing.

Giant woolly mammoths have been extinct since the Earth's last Ice Age 1.8 million to around 11 500 years ago.

Scientists worldwide were stunned by the discovery of Lyuba, named after the wife of the hunter who discovered her.

Arctic ice kept the extinct specimen so immaculately preserved that although her shaggy coat was gone, her skin and internal organs were intact.

  • Fredster69 - 2011-08-19 14:58

    Whoopsie, another blow for Evolution....BANG!!!!

      paulmichael.keichel - 2011-08-19 15:20

      By that, I presume you mean it's another discovery in support of it?

      kagiso pheto - 2011-08-19 15:37

      it is a discovery in against it. you are incorrect mr keichel, do you understand it?

      Bhlynd - 2011-08-19 15:41

      Probably my own stupidity but how does this disprove the evolution theory?

      JMan - 2011-08-19 15:44

      How exactly is that a blow to evolution? You still in the ice ages too?

      paulmichael.keichel - 2011-08-19 15:46

      Kagiso. Why, exactly, do you say that it is against it? Without clarification, you have made nothing more than a bold (unsubstantiated) statement. And, yes: I do believe that I understand it.

      paulmichael.keichel - 2011-08-19 15:47

      Oh - please don't respond with a verse from the bible. We're talking fact here.

      kagiso pheto - 2011-08-19 16:10

      i dn need2 eplain if you cannot understand. can you not explain why its supports evolution? finding a mammoth calf is evidence in support of evolution? wand what has the bible to do with this? i found an old bone in my backyard one day - is that also evidence of evolution?

      theDriver - 2011-08-19 16:15

      hehehe, I know this is no joke but Kagiso & Fred are you okay?, what the heck are you smoking this time of the day?. What does finding a mammoth calf have anything to do with evolution?

      kagiso pheto - 2011-08-19 16:18

      exactly, wht does a mammoth calf hv2do anything with evolution?

      paulmichael.keichel - 2011-08-19 17:01

      Kagiso, silly billy: it is very significant in supporting the theory of evolution. It is well preserved, meaning that they will be able to extract DNA, compare that DNA to that of other fossils and living creatures and, thereby, to expand our knowledge on the tree of life (on which tree, we find ourselves at the outer-most branches). And, Kagiso, just to make it clear: when you make a statement like "it is a discovery against it", you are making an allegation and, therefore, bear the onus of proof (which onus is only discharged by positive evidence, not by passing the buck and calling on others to prove why they have called upon you to prove your case).

      paulmichael.keichel - 2011-08-19 17:16

      Also, you finding a bone in your back yard could very well support the theory of evolution. Upon analysis (that of evolutionary biologists, not you, as you're probably only qualified to chew on it) comparisons could be made with the bones of current-day creatures. You might find that it is, in fact, a current-day creature, in which case, it's no significant find. But, it may be the bone of an evolutionary ancestor, which, when compared with current-day bones, allow us to fill in blanks as to the origins of what is around today. The real significance will come from the fact that you will find that bone EXACTLY where you expect it to be (in a layer of rock, the age of which corresponds EXACTLY with the creatures that we know to have been alive at that time). There have been no exceptions to these findings and that is exactly what makes the theory such a solid one (the fact that it is so easily falsifiable - all it would take is one current-day bone found in an old layer, or, one prehistoric bone to be found in a current day layer).

      paulmichael.keichel - 2011-08-19 17:21

      And, just in case you decide to pick up on the point: yes, it was found in ice and not rock, but, it is ice that can be accurately dated (so, the falsifiability element remains).

      MBossenger - 2011-08-19 17:45

      If ever there was any doubt that the levels of education in this country are low, we present kagiso and fredster as evidence...

      Mac - 2011-08-19 22:58

      according to the idiots-once ice starts to melt did you not know it evolves into a woolly mamoth

      Justin.A - 2011-08-20 07:50

      //Whoopsie, another blow for Evolution....BANG!!!! //

      Vanessa M - 2011-08-20 09:15

      I'm not even sure what the hell you guys are on about. Finding mammoth remains would be IN SUPPORT of the theory (which it's not, it's fact)of evolution. Sometimes I find News 24 users a little incompetent - you guys don't think before you comment. If you're going to say something, at least make it constructive. This is an awesome discovery in support in evolution and I hope the Christians are putting it in their pipes and smoking it.

      kagiso pheto - 2011-08-20 09:39

      "it is very significant in supporting the theory of evolution" and "It is well preserved, meaning that they will be able to extract DNA, compare that DNA to that of other fossils and living creatures and, thereby, to expand our knowledge on the tree of life" those two arguments do not follow. the first says it will support evolution. the second does not explain why; it just says we can use it to compare dna to expand our knowledge of the tree of life - thus you assume expanding knowledge is the same as supporting evolution. possibly it could stand in support of evolution, and just as likely the dna sample give evidence to the can you assume it will support evolution before assessing the results of your dna tests? you should be more open minded

      CTScientist - 2011-08-20 09:48

      @ Vanessa M: Evolution is not a fact. Science does not work that way. It is actually a theory, which is vastly different from a hypothesis. I think that most people confuse those two terms, thus the confusion. In any regards.. this particular theory (like every other scientific theory) is peer-reviewed, generally accepted by the scientific community, and has vast amounts of inter-disciplinary evidence supporting it.

      paulmichael.keichel - 2011-08-20 10:11

      Wow - Kagiso ... If you're so interested in learning about this, how about reading a book on the subject? I hardly think that is the job of the News24 comments section to provide you with an education. And, on that point: the fact that you are ignorant on a topic does not, somehow, discredit it. It would be useful to keep this in mind for future comments. However, for the sake of clarity: DNA comparisons allow biologists to analyze the extent to which one species' genetic code varies from that of another species (be those species close or distant). From this, you can map (with reasonable accuracy) the point at which (a few thousand/million generations back) the one species split from the other (i.e. the point at which it's genetic code had mutated sufficiently for us to classify it as a different species). What this reveals (on the 'tree of life' that has been mapped) is that EVERY species on earth shares a common ancestor at some point far back, just as you, on the outer most branches, will eventually reach the trunk (shares by all branches) if you look far enough back. Now, Kagiso, you are correct. I made an assumption. I assumed that DNA analysis of this mammoth will reveal the same thing described above. I suppose that there is a tiny possibility that it won't. However, this will not be the first DNA analysis ever undertaken. There have been countless in the past that have all revealed the same thing. Why do you propose that this will be different?

      Vanessa M - 2011-08-20 11:05

      @ CTScientist: thank you, now that was constructive. No good hanging around here if I can't learn something. Have a great weekend!

      kagiso pheto - 2011-08-20 12:53

      ignorant card is alwys a fn game to ply, like da race card is fn. vry clevering paragraph you write you know alot about this topic but it deviates from your starting point - does the discovery in itself inherently support evolution. at the start you said "it's another discovery in support of it" and now you say "I suppose that there is a tiny possibility that it won't [support it]" to lean either way without first considering what the evidence says (your dna results) is to portray inherent bias. also seems you think i am against evolution - evoltion is science fact i am not arguing agnst it. it is better to cosider evidence first and then see what it pints to rather than first thinking how to use it to support a predisposition before looks where itleads. dat way u cn understnd2b openminded

  • pwcrook - 2011-08-19 15:27

    Wonder if we'll ever clone mammoths back into existence...

      ReThan - 2011-08-19 15:30

      Well then JM will have a family tree!

  • Goose - 2011-08-19 15:28

    Now if that reindeer herder was smart, he would have skinned it and portioned the meat, and then sold it off at $12,000 per kg as the most expensive biltong on earth.

      jevoixtout - 2011-08-19 16:27

      Well I hope the reward him well for reporting it and not destroying it. Good thing it was not found in Africa.

      theDriver - 2011-08-19 16:34

      @jevoixtout> do you have any idea how many fossils have been discovered in Africa and paleontologists used for their research?. In the future please comment on topics in your level of intelligence or just keep quiet and no one will know what an idiot you are.

      jevoixtout - 2011-08-19 16:40

      En net n droll kan dryf.

      Goose - 2011-08-19 17:45

      @theDriver, I think what jevoixtout is trying say is, that although many fossles have found in Africa, including some of the earliest known hominids on the planet, its lucky that this particular 'mammoth' wasn't foud here, as the mammoth has been frozen in suspended animation to the point that it's meat is still fresh-ish, ...albeit perhaps a little tough. And that if it were found in Africa, it would have been eaten, ...or sold at $12,000/kg worth of mammoth biltong. Of course, if it were to have been found in Africa, it wouldn't have been frozen, ...but no need to squabble over details.

      str4f3 - 2011-08-19 17:58

      Well I dont know about biltong etc. But I can guarantee you that were it found in Africa, the scientists might well have found the carcass intact, but by the time they got there, the tusks would be gone...

      Goose - 2011-08-19 19:08

      lol @str4f3

  • carlkristen - 2011-08-19 16:23

    so for how long did the ice preserve this speciman? is that possible?... was there always ice there?..just asking

      theDriver - 2011-08-19 16:38

      Yes it's possible & it's not the first time. Once they do more research they will reveal how long ago it died. Chances are it's less than 50 000 years so radio carbon dating will work just fine.

      CTScientist - 2011-08-19 19:30

      @Carlkristen: Once you reach -12 degrees Celsius nothing can effectively survive to cause any degradation to the body. Most bacteria themselves will actually freeze if exposed to these temperatures. Considering that these preserved specimens are usually deep underground over long periods of time, it is highly unlikely that any scavengers and/or bacteria would be able to cause significant taphanomic damage, even during interglacials. The typical agent for uncovering such specimens is erosion (here probably wind blown). @theDriver: How do you figure the chances are that the specimen is less than 50 thousand years old? They have an age range of, effectively, one million years. Chances are it could date back to multiple ice ages, not just the most recent. It clearly has to be older than the European megafaunal extinction, at the very least.

      Zion - 2011-08-20 11:35

      Some years ago a similar find was made in the Alps. Several so far have been found on the Steppes (Not like in stoep)

      john_jones - 2011-08-20 13:11

      @CTScientist where do you get the figure of 12 degrees from ? . Not disputing _ just curious. I remember watching a programme on Mars and a scientist was saying that the very very low temperature on Mars was not a cause to rule out life on Mars.

      CTScientist - 2011-08-20 14:40

      @ John_jones: It is a figure gleaned from physical anthropology research into decomposition. I am sure that this is not Universal and probably has some inherent bias for where (US) the study was done. And I'm not saying that life wouldn't be able to sustain itself under those conditions. Only that the bacteria which are vital for decomposition do not operate under those conditions. And an exceptional amount of taphonomy is caused by insects and animals, which would not even appreciate conditions closer to 0 usually.

  • - 2011-08-19 18:04

    One day, I am going to read the comments in News24 and they will be intelligent and thoughtful. For now, I see only ignorance and bullying and badgering from a handful of clowns with only racial slurs and biased opinions to offer. Meh !

      CTScientist - 2011-08-19 19:31

      There are many people who comment on News24 who try to do so constructively. Sometimes they give in to anger and/or frustration. But I've yet to meet a human being who does not, now and again.

  • Redwine - 2011-08-19 19:38

    I would like to know if the big daddy of this creature also made it onto the floating boat with all them nasty dino`s and flying creatures we since found complete with lions, elephants and the like we find now a days. You explain this to me and I am happy to abort my idea about evolution and start believing this fairytale story you guys always quote from.

      capetonian - 2011-08-19 23:14

      Best comment I've read in a long while!

      smurfdogg - 2011-08-20 01:50

      It's quite obvious that there were no mammoths or dinosaurs on Noah's ark. The whole point of the exercise was to rescue the animal kingdom, not to put them on a menu for a couple of T-rexes. Have you found a live mammoth ? How about a live T-Rex ? The Gap Theory (just a theory same as evolution) puts dinosaurs and meteorites hitting the earth between the first 2 verses in the Bible. If the last ice age ended some 11 500 years ago, how in the heck did anything survive those temperatures to evolve into something today ?

      CTScientist - 2011-08-20 07:38

      @smurfdogg: Technically the last LGM was circa 24 - 20ka and was receding globally shortly after that, at latest by 18ka. And we (Homo sapiens) survived the LGM pretty well, with little to no physical adaptations. As did most of the fauna and flora present today. Which, I suppose, is your point?

  • snarf17 - 2011-08-20 10:50

    Sorry to disappoint everyone, but News24 need to update this article - it turns out that it wasn't a mammoth at all; it was just a walrus skull. Google it.

      middelvinger - 2011-08-20 14:46

      Oh sh@t. Evolution and the Bible in hulle moer in

  • Gobsmacked - 2011-08-20 11:16

    Wonder if one day maybe they will find a live baby mammoth and everyone will go Oooooooooooooooooh Wooooooooooooow Amazing, instead of b!tching about evolution. Just my 5 cents worth!

      thelittlegreenhouse - 2011-08-20 19:11

      I'm guessing more than the fair share might say something like: "Oooooooooooooooooh Wooooooooooooow Amazing! A Wooly Elephant that is 11500 years old!" ;-)

  • thelittlegreenhouse - 2011-08-20 19:07

    Spot the 11500 year-old eye-witness... ...or did some of us just believe that as a matter of unquestionable truth? ;-)

      CTScientist - 2011-08-20 22:03

      No one said this particular specimen was around 11.5ka. That is just when the species went extinct. So you would not expect to find any after this period. As for an eye-witness? Yes. There are many of them. They're each called the 'fossil record' and they span the globe. They're also unbiased and do not mind being subjected to rigorous scientific testing in order to validate our ever growing data on the past. ;)

      thelittlegreenhouse - 2011-08-22 12:09

      Does the general statement "Giant woolly mammoths have been extinct since...around 11 500" not include "this particular specimen"? Are you suggesting that this "this particular specimen" lived after the species had become extinct? Objects are indeed objective (pun intended), but that does not make an object an eye-witnesses... ...neither does a wonderfully elegant tall tale, which turned out to be a pile of Walrus meat anyway ;-)

  • Richard - 2011-08-21 02:32

    I have found out how Mammoths were cryogenically frozen... Quick-Frozen Mammoths by Cryovolcano

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