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A Mammoth Display and Its Potential to Bring a Prehistoric Species out of Extinction

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A Mammoth Display and Its Potential to Bring a Prehistoric Species out of Extinction

A ridiculously well-preserved ancient woolly mammoth – fur and all – is now on display in Yokohoma, Japan.

The baby female, nicknamed “Yuka,” was found encased in ice earlier this year near the New Siberian Islands, an extremely remote Arctic archipelago (Seriously, Google it and see how far you have to zoom out to bring other land into the picture) off the already remote Siberian region of Russia. Yuka was a little beaten up – parts of her torso and legs were missing  – but her body was still generally intact, including her flesh and blonde-red fur. She was shipped with dry ice to a Yokohama exhibiton hall, where she will remain on display through mid-September

Scientists originally believed Yuka was 10,000 years old, but that number has since been bumped up to an insane 39,000 years old, according to the Siberian Times.

(Progressing to prehistory overload)

While Yuka was surely a victim of harsh conditions and vicious predators, her body shows clear signs of human interaction. They think she might have been chased down by predators and then butchered by cavemen:

“It appears Yuka was pursued by one or more lions or another large field, judging from the deep, unhealed scratches in the hide and bite marks on the tail,” Daniel Fisher, curator and director of the University of Michigan’s Museum of Paleontology told Discovery News. “Yuka then apparently fell, breaking one of the lower hind legs. At this point, humans may have moved in to control the carcass, butchering much of the animal and removing parts they would use immediately.”

…Okay that’s actually really sad to picture.

(Moving along, entering prehistory overload)

Now, get this: Scientists were actually able to extract a blood sample from Yuka, and are now working on getting DNA. If that happens, they could possibly clone her, essentially bringing the woolly mammoth back into existence. But, as is the case with most Jurassic Park-like stories, we wouldn’t count on that. Tim Walker, producer and director of the upcoming BBC/Discovery Channel show “Woolly Mammoth” (starring Yuka), said cloning a woolly mammoth could take years or even decades.

“Then, if it did happen, wouldn’t a single mammoth be lonely and sad?” he asked.

(Sigh) We suppose.

 

Check out a few pictures of Yuka, the consensus best-preserved woolly mammoth ever discovered:

Photo Credit: Kazhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Kazhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Kazhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Kazhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

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