Ten thousand years ago, a young mammoth probably got into a scuffle with a large predator, and was then apparently butchered by ancient settlers of Siberia. Both lions and humans may have been involved in its death, according to the BBC.
Today, the mammoth's remains are some of the best-preserved of their kind, thanks to the low temperatures in the area where it was discovered.
The team of scientists that are studying Yuka (the creature's nickname) estimate that the mammoth was between 2 and 3 years old at the moment of its death.
“This is the first relatively complete mammoth carcass – that is, a body with soft tissues preserved – to show evidence of human association,” Daniel Fisher, curator and director of the University of Michigan’s Museum of Paleontology, told Discovery News.
Fisher explained that the settlers removed “parts include most of the main core mass of Yuka's body, including organs, vertebrae, ribs, associated musculature, and some of the meat from upper parts of the legs,” but the rest remained intact.
Kevin Campbell of the University of Manitoba is one of the scientists involved in the investigation, and hopes that this finding could lead to one of the most controversial bioengineering experiments: the cloning of a mammoth.
Yuka’s discovery will be broadcasted in the BBC/Discovery Channel TV show “Woolly Mammoth”, produced and directed by Tim Walker. Walker told Discovery News that it could take years or even decades to clone this extinct species.