A young, woolly rhino has been thawed whole after as much as 40,000 years frozen in Siberian permafrost.
During an unveiling for Russian press on Tuesday, scientists in Yakutsk officially cataloged the 8-foot-long beast, believed to have perished between 25,000 and 40,000 years ago, as a healthy adolescent of 3 or 4 years old.
“The level of preservation is unique,” said Dr. Valery Plotnikov, chief researcher of the Mammoth Fauna Study Department at the Academy of Science of the Republic of Sakha, in a statement to East 2 West News agency. Its thick hazel-colored hair was once only assumed based on ancient cave paintings in France, he said of the rare discovery.
Plotnikov, whose excavations throughout Yakutia — one of the coldest regions on Earth — has revealed remarkably well-preserved specimens such as a giant wolf head, noted that the teenage rhino had been “very well-fed at the moment it died.”
“Even its under-skin fat was preserved as a powder,” he added. The team also found a rhinoceros horn, which is now believed to have belonged to the recently thawed fossil, at the site. The horn was first discovered in August 2020 — stumbled upon by a local resident — and revealed to the public last month.
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SOURCE: New York Post, Hannah Sparks