A gold seeker has unearthed a paleontological treasure from the Canadian permafrost

A gold seeker has unearthed a paleontological treasure from the Canadian permafrost

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Nun cho ga has been perfectly preserved for 30,000 years in Canadian permafrost.

In Canada, a gold prospector recently made an unexpected, but absolutely exceptional discovery. And even if it does not contain a gram of precious metal, its value is still priceless. By mining through the permafrost of the Yukon, he cleared the mummified remains of a baby mammothperfectly preserved from the ravages of time during 30,000 years old.

The Yukon is one of the most popular areas for paleontologists, and for good reason: the permafrost (or permafrost), this pile of eternal ice that never completely melts on the scale of a human life (at least, without global warming) it plays the role of a huge freezer.

There are many animals dating from the Ice Age, and often in an excellent state of conservation. But once they got there, the researchers found that this tiny juvenile female was an exceptional specimen, even in the context of this scientific treasure chest.

A fantastic specimen of woolly mammoth

Experts are unanimous: nun cho ga — that’s its name — is quite simply the best-preserved beast ever discovered in North America. Grant Zazula, a federal paleontologist from the Yukon province, even called it ” most important paleontological discovery in North America » ; a reflection that weighs heavily on the part of this specialist who is accustomed to beautiful specimens.

It’s very simple: samples of this quality can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Nun cho ga seems about as well preserved as Lyuba, another baby mammoth unearthed in Russia which served as an absolute reference until then.

© Government of Yukon
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And it’s hard to contradict them when you look at the pictures. In the first photo, taken directly from the site of the find, Nun cho ga looks almost asleep. The impression fades as soon as one observes it in its entirety, but its state of conservation remains no less spectacular.

She still has fingernails, hair, and her trunk. Even his digestive system is still almost intact; the researchers found his last cast of half-digested grass in his intestines!

In the footsteps of the last mammoths

They also made some assumptions about his living environment and his last moments on the English channel Chanel Weather. According to them, poor Nun cho ga had ventured a little too far from her mother. She would then have gotten bogged down in a pool of mud from which she would never have been able to extract herself.

The condition of his remains suggests that it was not finished off by a predator. In all likelihood, she therefore ended up drowning or dying of exhaustion while trying to escape this trap. His remains would then have been quickly covered by ice during an episode of rapid cooling, which would explain its impressive state of preservation.

It will now be studied from every angle. The objective will be to learn more about woolly mammoths. These gigantic pachyderms were hunted by our ancestors for their meat, skin and tusks. With any luck, the study of Nun cho ga will finally make it possible to determine whether it is this exploitation which caused their extinction, or if they died out under the effect of a sudden climate change.

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