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A.J.Haywood

Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time

By The Siberian Times reporter
23 August 2018

Scientists presented unique discovery made inside the Batagai crater in Yakutia.

The foal that came in from the cold. Picture: Michil Yakovlev/SVFU

Researchers of Yakutian North-Eastern Federal University said that permafrost of the Batagai depression kept the foal in superb condition. 

‘The foal has no damage to its carcass, even its hair preserved which is incredibly rare for such ancient finds. 

‘The foal is approximately two months old; it is 98cm high at the shoulder.

‘I want to stress that this is the foal of a type of horse that populated Yakutia between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago’, said head of Yakutia Mammoth museum Semyon Grigoryev. 

‘This was called the Lenskaya, or Lena Horse (Equus lenensis), genetically different from those living in Yakutia now.’ 

Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time
The foal was about two months old when it died between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago. Pictures: Michil Yakovlev/SVFU


Experts took samples of hair, liquids, biological fluid and covering soil for a range of tests. 

‘We’ll study content of its bowel to understand the foal’s diet. The autopsy will be carried later’, said Grigoryev. 

Deputy Head of the North-Eastern Federal University Grigory Savvinov said the foal must have fallen into a natural trap. 

‘Experts that took part in the expedition came up with a version that the foal could have drowned after getting into some kind of a natural trap. 

‘The foal lived approximately 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, but we are to carry a whole complex of studies on it’, Savvinov said. 

Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time
The Batagai crater, an artistic impression of the Pleistocene era fauna with Lenskaya horses in the middle, and a reconstruction of a Lenksaya Horse by V.N. Lyakhov 


An international Russian-Japanese team of the paleontological expedition worked inside the Batagai depression and in Yunyugen area of Verkhoyansky district of Yakutia from 9-14 August. 

They reported the discovery of the foal on 11 August, and on 13 August they announced a woolly mammoth skeleton with some tissues had been found. 

Semyon Grigoryev along with other scienitst of the North-Eastern Federal University presenting their unique find; below pictures of a modern-day Yakutian horse. Pictures: Michil Yakovlev/SVFU, The Siberian Times

Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time


Perfectly-preserved ancient foal is shown to the world for the first time

Comments (65)

All these people saying this is a newborn foal because of how little it looks. Have any of you experts considered the fact that in order for it to be preserved in cold, all its liquids were frozen/evaporated = the body shrunk significantly.
Vallennes, Canada
26/08/2018 14:45
3
3
The gangalia would have fallen off the day it was born...thats not even a issue.
Looks to me it was asleep and died...I am curious if they find water in the lungs. My guess is its between 2 days to a 4 weeks of age. What a exciting find, poor thing. Nature can be rough.
Kim, Oklahoma
26/08/2018 12:40
11
1
The positions of the foal’s head and legs suggests that this foal was stillborn and never took a breath or a step.
James Doherty, Copake,NY USA
26/08/2018 10:58
17
4
Those aren't the hooves of a newborn; newborn hooves look like feathers and only harden and form after a few days of contact with soil.
He also doesn't appear to have the aspect of an animal that died a frightening death, like drowning. He looks peaceful, almost as if he died in his sleep.
But regardless...this is an amazing find. I hope they treat this infant with the appropriate respect, and allow him to tell the tale.
Lisa LeBlanc, California, U.S.
26/08/2018 08:24
20
0
I think everyone is misjudging the foal based on their own personal experience. No one here can really make an age call on this foal since it is at least 40000 years old and we have no idea what a foal like that would look like someone said it would be more filled out etc maybe it starved to death maybe it would not be filled out because of diet season or many other things. I much prefer to wait to see what they find out when they do their tests. Either way poor little thing has been alone for 40000+ years but its sure not alone now we are all watching.
Katrina , Fife Lake Michigan USA
26/08/2018 06:37
13
1
Whew, good thing all the experts are here to correct the ACTUAL EXPERTS!!!
Cindy G, Ocala, FL USA
26/08/2018 05:58
33
2
Foal is identical in all ways to a newborn. It will be interesting to see if they find meconium at autopsy.
Brenda, Marietta USA
26/08/2018 04:33
6
3
I too think this is a pretty much newborn foal, probably just a few days old. Full of colostrum and milk if anything at all. I find it amazing how similar this genus is to caballus, and those feet are perfection itself
Alicia Mitchell, United Kingdom
26/08/2018 01:57
8
6
Another amazing find in this spectacular part of the world.
Jennifer, Charlotte, NC USA
26/08/2018 01:52
3
0
OK. size, condition. i agree.. seems younger than 2 months.. but .. did anyone look at the bottom of the hooves?? the newborn gangalia ( sp) is not present. not to mention, i the baby died because it was too early, or starved or had failure to thrive? does it matter??? this is an extraordinary find!
suzy johnson, Keystone heights, FL
25/08/2018 23:08
6
3
The body condition of the foal may be due to a time of separation from its mother before its death rather than age. It may not compare to your well fed foals. It would be interesting to clone it but one thing many people don't consider in cloning ancient animals is their immune system. The pathogens are 40,000 years evolved past the foal's immune system. Hopefully a cloned foal would respond to the colostrum of the surogate mare.
Kim, Wisconsin, USA
25/08/2018 20:47
16
4
I agree with other comments. This foal appears to be much younger than 2 months.
RDC, Salisbury, MD. USA
25/08/2018 19:57
9
9
Great discovery. Will you apply true scientific thinking and consider the possibility that the foal died in the Great Flood?
Cheryl Berdan, Wauwatosa, WI USA
25/08/2018 19:53
18
43
Poor little thing, to get separated from his/her mom and to starve or drown. Great find, sure, but I can't help but feel sad for that poor little foal.
Pat , Canada
25/08/2018 19:36
10
2
Everyone is assuming this foal is younger than it was based on its size and appearance, but you need to remember were looking at a horse from 40,000 - 30,000 years ago. Equids back then were much smaller and were still developing differently than modern horses do. Do not assume that because you raise foals now, that you know what horses from thousands of years ago were like. These scientists are experts in their field and I'm sure they know how to age evaluate a specimen. Spectacular find. Can't wait to see what else they discover.
Michael Q, Riverview, Florida, USA
25/08/2018 18:25
52
10

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