The body of a young woolly rhino, probably dead at the age of three more than 20,000 years ago, has been found in an exceptional state of preservation in permafrost deposits in northwest Siberia, revealed the local daily
The carcass, which was discovered already in August 2020, would be 80% preserved.
Parts of the intestines, hair, teeth and a piece of fat are said to be still intact.
It also has short and very thick fur.
Read also: The thaw of "permafrost", a climate bomb still poorly quantified
The young rhino
(of sex so far unknown)
was between three and four years old and lived separately from his mother when he died, most likely by drowning,
Valery Plotnikov, division paleontologist
, told the
regional of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Experts believe he probably died over the summer.
Early estimates point to a specimen that is 20,000 years old, but it could be 50,000 years old.
We are waiting for the radiocarbon analyzes to define precisely when he lived,
" said Valery Plotnikov.
According to Russian media, the carcass was found on a bank of the Tirekhtyakh River, near where a woolly rhino was previously found in 2014. Sasha, 34,000 years old, was the only baby of this species found so far. .
From its coat, “
we learned that woolly rhinos were covered with very thick fur.
Previously, we could only judge from the cave paintings discovered in France,
”said Valery Plotnikov.
Today we can conclude that rhinos were fully adapted to the cold climate from a young age,
” he continued.
Multiple discoveries due to melting permafrost
The discovery of the young animal is due to the melting of the ice and, more precisely, of the permafrost (in English,
), this subsoil impermeable and frozen for thousands of years.
The Siberian regions are particularly affected by this thaw, which reveals many animal carcasses.
On the banks of the same Tirekhtyakh river, a 40,000-year-old wolf's head appeared in the summer of 2018. In recent months, a 46,000-year-old bird, a 42,000-year-old foal and an 18,000-year-old canine have also been exhumed from the ice. Siberian.
And a perfectly preserved mammoth skeleton was discovered in a lake in the region in early 2020.