Researchers apply a dilute formalin solution
to discourage growth of fungi that colonized
the carcass after it eroded out of a Siberian
riverbank. (Credit: Daniel Fisher, UM)
Global warming may expose even more secrets of the ice age. The well-preserved remains of a four-month-old baby wooly mammoth recovered from melting permafrost in Siberia last spring will now undergo sophisiticated testing and analysis at University of Michigan for testing.
Scientists hope to pinpoint exactly how long ago the creature died, among other things.
“It’s the best and most complete mammoth carcass — baby or adult — ever found,” said Daniel Fisher, curator of paleontology at the U-M Museum of Paleontology and part of a six-member international team that examined the frozen, nearly intact remains of a 4-month-old female wooly mammoth.
Woolly mammoths roamed the Far North for tens of thousands of years, one of the large mammals that thrived in a dry steppe that stretched from eastern Europe across Siberia and the exposed Bering Land Bridge into Alaska. The iconic ice age beasts — Alaska’s official state fossil — went extinct about 10,000 years ago, victims of changing climate and possible overhunting by spear-wielding humans.