Friday, May 1, 2009

Lyuba

The Wooly Mammoth, along with the Saber-tooth Tiger, is one of the most recognizable early animal inhabitants of our earth. They roamed the tundra of Siberia and the frozen wastes of North America during the Ice Age, from some 1.7 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago -- the Pleistocene Epoch. Mammoths, mastodons and modern elephants, are members of the order Proboscidea. The mammoths are closely related to the living elephants, especially to the Asiatic elephant.

Many fossilized remains of mastodons and mammoths have been unearthed, but one of the most surprising discoveries was made in May of 2007 by a reindeer herder in Russia, on the Yamal Peninsula. It was an intact, remarkably preserved female, baby mammoth thought to have died some 10,000 years ago, at the end of the Ice Age. The Russians named the baby, Lyuba, after the herder's wife.

The specimen is so well preserved that some scientists are hopeful of extracting sufficient genetic material to enable the "resurrection" of the mammoth. I wonder if that's such a good idea?

1 comment:

Anandi said...

Baby mammoth indeed.

If that's a baby, I'm an insect!