Whoa! Old, amazingly preserved foal found in Siberia is more than 10,000 years old

Siberian Permafrost reveals Perfectly Preserved Ice-Age Baby Horse

This Siberian mummy has been frozen in the ice for thousands of years and is the best-preserved old horse ever found.

Acknowledgments: Michil Yakovlev / SVFU / The Siberian Times

The amazingly intact body of a young foal that died between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago has recently been excavated against melting permafrost in Siberia. The mummified remains were so well preserved by icy conditions that the skin, the hooves, the tail and even the small hairs in the nostrils of the animal and around the hooves are still visible.

Paleontologists found the mummified body of the young horse in the 328 meters deep (100 meters) Batagaika crater during an expedition to Yakutia in eastern Siberia. The researchers announced the discovery of the mummy on August 11, reported The Siberian Times.

The colt was probably about two months old when it died and possibly drowned after falling into "a sort of natural trap," Grigory Savvinov, deputy head of the Northeastern Federal University in Yakutsk, Russia, told The Siberian Times. [Photos: A 40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Autopsy]

Remarkably, the body is complete and undamaged and measures about 39 inches (98 centimeters) high at the shoulder, according to The Siberian Times. Scientists have collected samples from the hair and tissue of the foal to test and the researchers will examine the intestinal contents of the animal to determine the diet of the young horse, said Semyon Grigoryev, director of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, Russia. Siberian Times.

Wild horses still inhabit Yakutia, but the foal belonged to an extinct species that lived in the region 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, Grigoryev told The Siberian Times. Known as the Lena horse (Equus caballus lenensis), that old species was genetically different from modern horses in the region, said Grigoryev.

The skin, hair and soft tissue of the old foal have remained intact for more than 30,000 years.

The skin, hair and soft tissue of the old foal have remained intact for more than 30,000 years.

Acknowledgments: Michil Yakovlev / SVFU / The Siberian Times

Siberian permafrost is known for the conservation of age-old animals over tens of thousands of years, and many beautiful specimens have emerged as global temperatures continue to rise and permafrost melts. Recent discoveries include a 9,000 year old bison; a 10,000-year-old woolly rhinoceros baby; a mummified ice age that could be a cave or lynx; and a baby mammoth with the nickname Lyuba who died after 40,000 years ago being suffocated in the mud.

Surprisingly, a type of animal that had been kept in the Siberian permafrost for tens of thousands of years was recently brought back to life. Small nematodes – a kind of microscopic worm – frozen in ice since the Pleistocene was defrosted and revived by researchers; they were documented exercise and food for the first time in 42,000 years, previously reported Live Science.

But sometimes the thawing of permafrost reveals surprises that are definitely unpleasant. In 2016, anthrax spores that had been frozen in Siberia for 75 years were revived during unusually warm weather; the subsequent "zombie" anthrax outbreak killed more than 2000 reindeer and made sick to more than a dozen people.

Original article about Live Science.

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