(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
A young Russian boy discovered the frozen remains of a teenage woolly mammoth in the Siberian tundra, Russian scientists announced on Friday. Eleven-year-old Yevgeny Salinder made the discovery of the mammoth with soft tissue, skin and hair intact, Live Science reported.
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The discovery, which was made in the Taymyr tundra, near the Seopkarga polar weather stations, prompted scientists to spend a week prying the 1,100-pound remains from the frozen ground. The mammoth was then transported to the Dudinka by helicopter and put into an ice chamber.
According to Live Science, the mammoth carcass is now waiting to be studied by paleontologists from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Researchers have determined that the remains belong to a male mammoth that died between the ages 15 or 16 around 30,000 years ago.
Alexei Tikhonov, the deputy head of the Zoological Institute in the Russian Academy of Sciences, told The Associated Press that the animal was "pretty small for his age."
The mammoth, which has been unofficially named "Zhenya" after the boy, with its intact hair and skin, also included a tusk, bones and reproductive organs. The scientist also told the AP that splits on the mammoth's remaining tusk may represent "possible human touch."
Tikhonov told The Moscow News, "Despite the fact that is is not common in scientific circles to name the adult remains of ancient animals, the mammoth was called Zhenya. Officially the animal will be known as the Seopkarginsky mammoth."
Despite being so well preserved, Zhenya's DNA was damaged by low temperatures, which are unsuitable for cloning, Tikhonov told the AP. Another mammoth discovery in Russia was made early last month gave scientist some hope for cloning.
Woolly mammoths are thought to have become extinct around 10,000 years ago, although some scientists believe that small groups of them lived longer in Alaska and on Russia's Wrangel Island off the Siberian coast.