Frozen Wooly Mammoth Remains Found, May Have Been Butchered
Remains of a young woolly mammoth were recently found preserved in ice along Siberia's Arctic Ocean shore.
A juvenile mammoth, nicknamed "Yuka," was discovered by an expedition crew funded by the BBC and the Discovery Channel, and is at least 10,000 years old.
The mammoth carcass is of particular interest because it shows signs of having been cut open by ancient humans. If confirmed, this would be the first mammoth carcass that provides evidence of human interaction in the region, Discover News reported.
Researchers have placed the mammoth's age at two and-a-half years old when it died.
Fisher explained how the animal might have met its end:
"It appears that Yuka was pursued by one or more lions or another large field, judging from deep, unhealed scratches in the hide and bite marks on the tail," Daniel Fisher, curator and director of the University of Michigan's Museum of Paleontology told Discovery News. "Yuka then apparently fell, breaking one of the lower hind legs. At this point, humans may have moved in to control the carcass, butchering much of the animal and removing parts that they would use immediately. They may, in fact, have reburied the rest of the carcass to keep it in reserve for possible later use. What remains now would then be 'leftovers' that were never retrieved."
According to Fisher, the animal's organs, vertebrae, ribs, surrounding muscles, and flesh from upper portions of the legs were removed. The legs' lower parts and trunk were left intact. This would explain early human interaction in that region that had previously been undetermined.