Mummified mammoths are a big deal in the science community as they give us a better look at life thousands of years ago. We got our best look yet in 2007 when scientists discovered an almost perfectly preserved baby mammoth and now British citizens will finally get to see it in person.
BBC News reports that the Natural History Museum in London will be putting 2007’s mummified baby mammoth on display. The specimen is said to have lived 42,000 years ago, is 51 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds. Everything on the mummified mammoth is intact except for the tail which was chewed off by dogs following its discovery.
So, how was the mammoth so perfectly preserved? Like most mummified things, it’s all about preventing outside forces from decomposing the flesh. In the case of this particular mammoth, scientists believe the specimen was covered in ice for thousands of years. The ice only recently melted and allowed a local reindeer breeder in Russia to discover it. From there, the mammoth moved around a bit before it ended up in the hands of scientists at Russia’s Shemanovsky museum who named it Lyuba after the breeder’s wife.
If you’re of morbidly curious type, it’s like that Lubya died from suffocation. Scientists found clay in its trunk which leads them to believe that it was drinking water, but got clay stuck in its trunk. Lubya died and was soon after buried in ice.
Here’s what it looks like:
You may be wondering why Lubya doesn’t have any fur. While ice may preserve skin and the organs, it doesn’t preserve hair. Except for a few tufts here and there, all the hair was already gone when Lubya was found.
If you want to see even more, GE scanned Lubya a few years ago and made a mini-documentary about it. Check it out:
Those interested in seeing Lubya up close will have a chance when it goes on display starting May 23 at London’s Natural History Museum. It will remain at the museum until September 7.
Image via Wikimedia Commons