Humans likely butchered mammoth 10,000 years ago
April 5th, 2012
12:08 PM ET

Humans likely butchered mammoth 10,000 years ago

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.

The evidence also revealed signs of human interaction with animals in the region. The expedition was financed by the Discovery Channel and the BBC.

“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.

Read this story in Spanish from CNN Mexico

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Filed under: Discoveries • On Earth
soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. Hollywood Beach Hotel

    Wow, incredible weblog layout! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The overall glance of your website is excellent, as smartly as the content material!

    August 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  2. show me the platinum

    Help wanted

    Only experienced mammoth wranglers need apply.

    April 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  3. sledge2k

    From the full article:

    Prof Fisher said they had questioned whether the cuts could have been made more recently.
    "We asked the people who found this mammoth multiple times if they had done this. They replied 'No! We did not get our knives out' which suggests we're looking at some sort of interaction of humans, mammoths and lions."

    Is it also possible that the mammoth was found 1000 (or 100, or 2000) years ago and the cuts were made then? I don't see how we can reasonably conclude with any certainty that this mammoth lay undisturbed for 10,000+ years.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  4. Arden30

    Are you sure this is a dead mammoth? I would have sworn it was my dog taking a nap.

    April 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  5. Guest

    Awesome,clone it.I bet thats where Fred Flintstone gets that rack of ribs that tip his car over.

    And you're all wrong about the big bang.The big bang is what we called your moms 14th birthday party.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Guest

      Now she just calls it a slow weekend

      April 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • Primewonk

        Again, Poe's & Troll's are just as ignorant and pathetic as the fundiots (fundamentalist îdiots).

        April 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  6. Mike B

    10,000 years ago? How can this be? My preacher tells me the world is only 6,000 years old.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Primewonk

      Poe's & Troll's are just as ignorant and pathetic as the fundiots (fundamentalist îdiots).

      April 6, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Guest

      My preacher also tells me its not gay if he does it

      April 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  7. BKS

    Large Toupee found.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  8. Science?

    Why would we want this cloned and brought back? I understand science and history but why would this need to be done?

    April 6, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • GFreemanPHD

      We don't NEED to to anything except eat, sleep and mate. However our wants are greater than this and to achieve these wants information is extremely useful. A cloned mammoth would provide a host of useful information about cloning and mammoths.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  9. Republicans Back Then Even Huh....

    It's hard to think that the Republicans even back then butchered all the Animal and destroyed the earth for profit.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  10. BeReal

    They do not know that it is 10,000 years old. That is a guess. The method use to date these things is a theory and a guess.
    Look it up.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Primewonk

      BeReal – I'd like to ask you to do a couple things please –

      First, I would like you to post the scientific definition of the word theory – and include the science-based website you get the definition from.

      Secondly, I'd like you to post the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research published in referred scientific journals that support your contention that dating methods used by scientists are wrong.


      April 6, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Radiometric dating is so basic it is taught to freshman college students.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  11. Mike

    The "invasive species" threat is directly proportional to the available-niches in the biosphere to support the organism.

    A woolly Mammoth occupied the apex of temperate-zone herbivores. That relatively-narrow niche has shown declining populations throughout the Holocene, with the sole possible exception being the North American Whitetail, so it is unlikely that woolly mammoth represents a threat.

    Unfortunately, the scientists also thawed out a previously-extinct unicellular gram-negative coccobacillus, which immediately re-established itself within the research labs. A real nasty one, too. In approx 12-15 years, this will mutate into an even nastier zoonotic, and will kill several billion people over the subsequent decade....

    I hate it when that happens.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • lunchbreaker


      April 6, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Sielingfan

      Oh, relax. I'm sure this time the T-virus won't nearly wipe out human existence.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • DoubtingYourTheory

      Yes, enlighten us with your source, please

      April 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • VivKris2000

      Let the creature rest in peace

      April 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Matsi

      That would be a good thing after all the raping of the earth we've done for centuries.

      April 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Life's like that

      Easy come, easy go. But just to point to the bright side, we're immune to it already, they don't die out, they just encyst, however on the dark side, always keep your hands away from your mouth and eyes while in a hospital, and wash them often.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  12. Jurassic Park

    Clone it!!!

    April 6, 2012 at 9:52 am |
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