Woolly Mammoth Discovery

Would you like to go back in time and cuddle a Woolly Mammoth? Well, we can’t offer you either of those but we can tell you about an amazing discovery in the news recently.

Mummified remains of the woolly mammoth Image source: Yukon government

Miners in the Klondike gold fields of Canada’s far north made a rare discovery on 21 June 2022, digging up the mummified remains of a near-complete baby woolly mammoth.

Members of the local Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation named the calf Nun cho ga, which means “big baby animal”. The baby mammoth’s remains were discovered during excavation through permafrost south of Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon territory, which borders the US state of Alaska.

The animal is believed to be female and would have died during the ice age, more than 30,000 years ago when woolly mammoths roamed the region alongside wild horses, cave lions and giant steppe bison.

Mummified remains of the woolly mammoth Image source: Yukon government

Yukon Palaeontologist Grant Zazula told CBC that Nun cho ga was probably about a month old when she died, most likely after getting stuck in the mud. The discovery marks the first near-complete and best-preserved mummified woolly mammoth found in North America, with skin and hair still intact.

This is such a significant discovery and will help scientists better understand the lives and behaviours of woolly mammoths, including more details around what they looked like, and how they were able to move and interact with their environment.