Mummified animals discovered from Ice Age – with fur intact

Long Lunch 20/09/2018
The preserved wolf pup. Photo: Government of Yukon.

The preserved remains of a wolf pup and caribou have given the world a glimpse of life some 50,000 years ago in Canada.

The creatures, which were found in 2016 in the Yukon by gold miners, have been determined to be among the oldest mummified mammal soft tissue in the world.

“It’s incredibly rare,” said Grant Zazula, a Yukon palaeontologist.

The wolf pup was likely to have been around eight weeks old when it died, says Yukon palaeontologist Grant Zazula.

“It looks like a little puppy that maybe died last week and got taxidermied... It’s cute, it really is.”

According to the BBC, the caribou remains include the torso, head, and front limbs.

Both animals were discovered with fur, skin, and muscle tissue intact.

Photo: Government of Yukon.

The mummified animals were likely preserved due to the Yukon’s notoriously cold environment, where the animals were probably buried by sediment and then encased in permafrost.  

“It’s really like an animal that was kept in a deep freeze for 50,000 years,” he told RadioLIVE.

While the woolly mammoth and a now-extinct species of camel once roamed this rugged area of Canada, both the wolf and caribou remain species that continue to live in the Yukon.

The remains are anticipated to help the science community understand the Canadian landscape during the Ice Age. 

Listen to all the full interview with Grant Zazula above.

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