Mummified Wolf And Caribou Discovered
Canadian gold miners found the ancient remains, which, thanks to radiocarbon-dating, are said to be 50,000 years old. The crew was working around an 80,000-year-old ash bed when they came across the bodies. Officials believe they could be among the oldest in the world.
In a statement, the Minister of Tourism and Culture Jeanie Dendys said, “These specimens will help scientists learn more about the ancient mammal species that roamed Beringia, increasing our knowledge and ability to share the stories of this lost, ancient land.” The Ice Age animals were discovered in the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Traditional Territory, a First Nation territory in Yukon.
Following the extremely rare find, researchers with the Yukon Paleontology Program analyzed the remains, which include intact tissue, fur and skin. Premier Sandy Silver hopes that the wolf pup and caribou will help to “shed light on Yukon’s fascinating Ice Age history and will help us understand how these long gone creatures lived in the environment they inhabited.” The wolf pup was preserved in its entirety, while the caribou was only partially preserved.
They were unveiled in a ceremony at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre and will soon be moved to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre in Whitehorse. Des Moines University’s Jean Meachen, a carnivore morphologist who works with Ice Age mammals, told the Guardian, “We want to do an ancient DNA test to see who it’s related to and look at its microbiome to see if there are gut bacteria still there.” The University of Edinburgh’s Elsa Panciroli, a paleontologist, told the British publication, “Ice Age wolf bones are relatively common in the Yukon, but having an animal preserved with skin and fur is just exceptional … It’s an evocative glimpse into the Ice Age world.”