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A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia

By Valeria Sukhova
29 December 2020

The unique discovery was three or four years old when it died at least 20,000 years ago.

It is the best preserved to date juvenile woolly rhino ever found in Yakutia, with a lot of its internal organs - including its teeth, part of the intestines, a lump of fat and tissues - kept intact for thousands of years in permafrost. Picture: Valery Plotnikov

The juvenile rhino with thick hazel-coloured hair and the horn, found next to the carcass was discovered in the middle of August in permafrost deposits by river Tirekhtyakh in the Abyisky ulus (district) of the Republic of Sakha.

The sensational discovery is still in the Arctic Yakutia waiting for ice roads to form, so that it can be delivered to scientists in the republic’s capital Yakutsk. 

It is the best preserved to date juvenile woolly rhino ever found in Yakutia, with a lot of its internal organs - including its teeth, part of the intestines, a lump of fat and tissues - kept intact for thousands of years in permafrost. 

‘The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when it died, most likely by drowning’, said Dr Valery Plotnikov from the Academy of Sciences who has been to the discovery site and made the first description of the find. 

‘The gender of the animal is still unknown. We are waiting for the radiocarbon analyses to define when it lived, the most likely range of dates is between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago. The rhino has a very thick short underfur, very likely it died in summer’, Dr Plotnikov said. 

A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia


A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia


A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia



‘The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when it died, most likely by drowning’, said Dr Valery Plotnikov from the Academy of Sciences who has been to the discovery site and made the first description of the find. Pictures: Valery Plotnikov


The rhino’s carcass is 80 per cent intact; it was discovered by local resident Alexei Savvin close to the site where the world’s only baby woolly rhino called Sasha was dug out in 2014. Sasha’s aged has been since confirmed as 34,000 years. 

Two extinct cave lion cubs later called Boris and Sparta were also found in the Abyisky district of Yakutia last year close to the Tirekhtyakh River.

Sasha the wooly rhino was seven months old when it died and had lightly-coloured strawberry blond fur/hair. The baby rhino also had stubs of two horns.

Dr Plotnikov said of Sasha: ‘We have learned that woolly rhinoceroses were covered in very thick hair. Previously, we could judge this only from rock paintings discovered in France. 

'Now, judging by the thick coat with the undercoat, we can conclude that the rhinoceroses were fully adapted to the cold climate from a young age.’

Sasha the baby woolly rhino found in 2014 in Yakutia lived 34,000 years ago. Pictures: Albert Protopopov, The Siberian Times

A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia


A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia


A well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in the extreme north of Yakutia

Comments (12)

Congratulation's.... Excellan find.....keep me posted......:)
Luis Pereira, Norfolk
16/01/2021 08:05
0
0
Really wish people who are not scientists or are not there to actually witness this in person. Would be more understanding about these kinds of finds and quit being negative all the time and saying everything is bullshit, etc. We are all learning from these findings as well as the scientists themselves! People need to be more respectful, if you're not there and present please keep the negatively away! Some of us don't want to hear what you have to say!
Lisa Femrite , Wisconsin
12/01/2021 01:03
1
1
Gelukkig is het nog intact, anders had niemand dit gevonden
?, Belgium
07/01/2021 22:41
2
0
Opmerkend dat het nog intact is.
Ra ra ra, ?
07/01/2021 22:38
2
0
I see 13 people responded to my earlier post negatively. Do those same people believe the Earth is only 6000 years old? There is sound science that proves Earth's age is in the millions of years old. Just askin'.
caedan, Canada
07/01/2021 06:23
3
7


20,000 years old and it looks like it died yesterday? I call bs



bill, usa
05/01/2021 11:03
1
17
So, they say it drowned which means it was in water and somehow it was preserved? Sounds like another exhibit for cataclysmic crustal displacement.
Chris, North Carolina
05/01/2021 09:31
2
3
And yet some of those crazy evangelicals will say it's nonsense, Earth is only 6,000 years old.
caedan, Canada
05/01/2021 09:20
6
22
It’s amazing what the melting permafrost first is unveiling! I hope to live long enough to see clones of all these extinct creatures? Does anyone know how long until that day comes?
Patricia Graham, Los Angeles, CA, USA
04/01/2021 04:01
6
3
The Siberian Times articles and photography are as amazing, fascinating and rich in diversity as it's exquisite region is...

Was just wondering if the woolly Rhino is originally of the same family as the black and white rhino's still existing (unfortunately critically endangered) in Africa?

However Siberia was separated from the super continents of Gondwana and Pangaea in the Neoproterozoic period 550 million years ago, thus making me uncertain of any prehistoric connection of the species... Amazing find and congratulations to the Academy of Science!
Anonymous, Switzerland
02/01/2021 00:09
10
2
Save the dirt under the animal. Check for pollen, seeds, insects, fungi, volcanic ash. Analyze hair for diet. Check blood and muscle for any parasites. Incredible find.
Joe Taylor, United States
31/12/2020 10:42
25
6
SUCH A CUTE SIBERIAN RHINO BABY
Jean Charles, Paris/France
30/12/2020 23:44
4
2
1

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