Mammoth remains found in Siberian lake | Polarjournal
Scientists carried out an initial examination of the remains of a mammoth found a few days ago in Lake Pechevalavato, 25 kilometres from the village of Seyakha in the Yamal region. (Photo: Artem Cheremisov)

Russian scientists are working to retrieve the well-preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth from a lake in northern Siberia. Fragments of the skeleton were found a few days ago by local reindeer herders in the shallows of Pechevalavato Lake in the Yamalo-Nenets region. They found part of the skull, the lower jaw, several ribs and a foot fragment with still intact tendons.

On July 22, 2020, researchers and villagers dig in the mud at Pechevalavato Lake in the Yamalo-Nenets region and search for mammoth bone fragments. (Photo: Artem Cheremisov)

Experts concluded that the bones most likely belong to a full-grown mammoth. The inhabitants of the village who discovered the remains lifted part of the animal’s skull, lower jaw, several ribs and a fragment of a foot with preserved tendons to the surface. To preserve the finds, the remains were left in the water to avoid drying out. Specialists who arrived at the scene also discovered more than a dozen rib bones, phalanges (finger or toe limbs), thigh bones and other fragments. All this is sent to the I.S. Shemanovsky Museum, where it is conserved and further investigated.

Digging and retriving mammoths requires teamwork and strength. (Photo: Artem Cheremisov)

“Now we have to collect everything that was found by locals. Then we will examine the deeper water at the site. This requires a boat. If we can’t see anything, we’ll put at least one point on the map to continue searching later,” said Evgenia Khozyainova, head of the humanitarian research department at the I.S. Shemanovsky Museum.

According to Andrei Gusev, a senior researcher in history and archaeology at the Scientific Center for Arctic Exploration, part of a massive pelvic bone looms at the site that expedition members were unable to excavate. In addition, there were tendons on the large bones of the hind legs. Scientists believe the rest of the skeleton lies in the mud at great depth, which requires special equipment and time to dig.

Ljuba is the mummy of a female woolly mammoth calf that died about 40,000 years ago at the age of about a month. It is the most fully preserved discovered mammoth mummy in the world.

The discovery of the remains of mammoths in Yamal is always accompanied by great scientific interest and helps to learn more about the life of the giants of the Ice Age and the reasons for their extinction. On the Yamal Peninsula, the most famous finds in the region were made in 1988 and 2007 with the mammoths Masha and Lyuba.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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