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Ancient bison allows scientists to travel back in time - 9,000 years

By Anastasia Longinova
01 March 2014

Exclusive pictures show autopsy on a four year old bison preserved in ice since ancient times.

'The discovery has an enormous value for scientists since it is the best preserved bison ever found'. Picture: Academy of Sciences Yakutia

The autopsy, conducted on 27 February 2014, is understood to be the first in the world on a 9,000 bison, and it could provide vital scientific information. 

The creature was found in exceptional condition in July 2011 by Yukagir community members in the Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia, where mammoth remains were also found. This bison, dating from 9,000 years ago, was located on the shore of a lake in the north of Ust-Yana district.

The body became visible after a part of the shore collapsed into the water. The Yukagirs delivered the precious find to regional Academy of Science experts. 

Albert Protopopov, chief of the Mammoth Fauna Research Department of the Yakutian Academy of Sciences, said: 'The discovery has an enormous value for scientists since it is the best preserved bison ever found. We have ascertained that the bison lived 9,000 years ago, at the very beginning of the Holocene epoch and died aged approximately four. By that time, many mammoths had died here, but the bison still lived. 

'The careful and thorough examination we have began will give us answers to many questions, first of all as to why did the bison die out'.

Currently, scientists continue a full anatomic autopsy, taking out and describing every organ, with a simultaneous microbiological, genetic and histological tests, as well as studying of animal's parasites. 

A brilliant scientific team is working together to carry the autopsy and the tests, with paleontologists from the Yakutian Academy of Sciences, experts from Institute of Geology of Diamond and Precious Metals, Yakutsk Agricultural Research Institute and the Agricultural Academy of Yakutsk. 

Exclusive pictures show autopsy on a four year old bison preserved in ice since ancient times. 


Exclusive pictures show autopsy on a four year old bison preserved in ice since ancient times. 


Exclusive pictures show autopsy on a four year old bison preserved in ice since ancient times. 


Exclusive pictures show autopsy on a four year old bison preserved in ice since ancient times. 

The first in the world -scientists perform autopsy on a body of a bison that lived 9,000 years ago. Pictures: Academy of Sciences Yakutia

The autopsy is performed by Innokenty Pavlov, taxidermist from the Joint Museum of History and Culture of the peoples of the North. Russian Academy of Sciences experts from the Palaeontology Institute came from Moscow along with Mammoth Research Centre colleagues from Hot Springs, USA.

The American experts were long studying bison living in North America and now seek comparison to their Yakutian relatives. 

Full results of this unique research are due to be published next year. The scientists hope to map a model of an ancient pasture by studying remains of the foods in the bison's digestive organs. 

Yevgeniy Maschenko, senior researcher at the Mammals' of the  Laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science Palaeontology Institute, said: 'This is the first study of an ancient mammal for the last 20 years. We have a team of experts from various fields. We are keen to learn the animal's morphology. 

'All its internal organs will be weighed and described. All tissue samples will be taken. Any morphology study is connected to the study of animal's adaptation to his environment, and in this particular case to study, the palae-ecology will be very interesting. 

'The most interesting are histology samples, since it will be our first chance to take them with a view of studying parasites. Perhaps they didn't preserve, but we will find their DNA and the traces of their activity. By performing biochemical tests and then comparing them by identical tests of currently living worms we will be able to find out what kind of parasites lived 9,000 years ago. 

'This will be done thanks to a new technology aimed at studying invertebrates' DNA. It will be used for the first time on the extinct animal'. 

Comments (4)

Another amazing find in Siberia...I wonder how these compare to the bison from North America and Poland?
Christopher Boucher, New Hampshire, USA
15/03/2014 06:13
0
1
Simply amazing!
Jeremy, Austin, Texas United States
06/03/2014 04:42
3
0
Aagh Anastasia ,you've found my Achilles heel again. Mind boggling, just not enough megabytes of brain to comprehend the enormity of such a rare find . This 9000 yrs old frozen carcass of bison ----- speechless ,would do anything to touch this "rarity" The thrill of feeling this so distant past bison WOW better than an orgasm
Must stop ,can't control my urges to fly one way to Yakutia .
More ,more , What's next ? Patrick
Patrick Travers, Perth Australia
04/03/2014 20:39
5
0
These articles never seem to address cause of death - or explain how these animals were frozen so quickly and buried in ice. It will be interesting to follow this story as findings come out!
Interested Observer, USA
03/03/2014 21:43
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1
1

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