Perfectly Preserved Young Woolly Rhino Revealed By Melting Permafrost

The incredible find was about three or four years old when it died at least 20,000 years ago.


It is the best preserved juvenile woolly rhino ever found, with a lot of its internal organs – including its hazel-colored hair, intestines, lumps of fat and tissues – kept intact for thousands of years by permafrost.

The Ice Age creature was discovered in the thawing permafrost in the Yakutia region in Russia’s extreme north in August. It is thought to be the best-preserved woolly rhino found there yet.

“The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when it died, most likely by drowning,” Dr Valery Plotnikov from the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), who made the first description of the find, told the Siberian Times.

“The [sex] of the animal is still unknown. We are waiting for the radiocarbon analyses to define when it lived; the most likely range of dates is between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago.”
The perfectly preserved rhinoceros was discovered not far from another important recent find: Sasha, the only woolly rhinoceros in the world ever found, discovered in 2014. Sasha, has striking strawberry yellow plumage, dating back 34,000 years.

According to Dr Plotnikov, the newly found specimen had “very thick short undercoat”. Sasha helped scientists demonstrate that woolly rhinos were covered in thick fur – something previously only cave paintings suggested. The new discovery adds to evidence that woolly rhinos are fully adapted to cold climates as children.

Currently, the Ice Age relic is still in Yakutia, as ice roads have to be formed before it can be transferred to the region’s capital, Yakutsk, to be studied by scientists.


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