Dinosaur discovery: ‘Best-preserved’ Ice Age woolly rhino found in Siberia

Baby 33,000-year-old woolly rhino is unveiled in Moscow

The superbly-preserved Ice Age woolly rhino was uncovered with many of its internal organs still intact. The precious carcass was recovered from permafrost in Russia’s extreme northern region.

Russian state media reported how the holly rhino was revealed by melting permafrost in Siberia’s Yakutia province in August last year.

A small nasal horn has also been preserved – this is a rarity, since it decomposes rather quickly

Dr Valery Plotnikov

Dinosaur researchers are now waiting for ice roads in the Arctic region to become passable so it can be delivered to a laboratory for more extensive studies.

The find is thought to be among the best-preserved specimens of the Ice Age animal ever discovered.

The carcass has most of its soft tissues still intact, including part of the intestines, thick hair and fatty lumps, while the animal’s horn was found close nearby.

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Major discoveries of mammoths, woolly rhinos, Ice Age foal, and even cave lion cubs have been made in recent years.

This is because the permafrost is vanishing at accelerating rates across vast areas of Siberia due to man-made climate change.

Yakutia 24 TV quoted Valery Plotnikov, a paleontologist with the regional branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as suggesting the woolly rhino was probably three or four years-old when it died.

Dr Plotnikov added the young rhino very possibly died after drowning.

She said in a statement: ”A small nasal horn has also been preserved – this is a rarity, since it decomposes rather quickly.

The marks of wearing on the horns indicates the wooly rhino was actively using it to find food.

The animal likely lived during the late Pleistocene era, which ended 11,700 years ago, dinosaur experts at the Russian Academy of Sciences added.

The extinct species roamed the diamond-producing region of Yakutia between 20,000 to 50,000 years ago.

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More precise dating will be possible once radiocarbon studies have been conducted.

The carcass was found on the bank of the Tirekhtyakh river in the Abyisk district.

This is nearby to where another young woolly rhino was recovered in 2014.

Researchers dated that specimen, which they dubbed Sasha, at 34,000 years old.

In September, a well-preserved carcass of a bear, also from the Ice Age, was discovered in north-eastern Russia’s Lyakhovsky Islands.

And the same month saw Russian scientists unearthing the furry head of an Ice Age wolf, also perfectly-preserved in the Siberian permafrost.

Dr Plotnikov added at the time how the animal belonged to an ancient subspecies of wolf that lived at the same time as the mammoths and became extinct alongside them.

Experts estimated it was an adult, approximately 25 percent bigger than modern-day wolves.

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