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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)

Yes it is well preserved but my guess is that foal would not be older than two weeks not months, its little hooves have touched the ground but have very little wear and though it could be quite a stocky type due to the hair above the coronet band I do not think it is anything like the type they have provided pictures of. Very cool all the same if it is from that era. I would question that:)
Chrissy Hansen, New Zealand
25/08/2018 12:18
16
5
I wonder if a coat color DNA test would be viable from this level of preservation and similarity of species. It would be interesting to those of us who are fascinated by coat color genetics in modern equids.
Michelle, Tennessee USA
25/08/2018 12:05
17
1
I have enjoyed reading all about your wonderful find. Hope you keep us informed with more findings about this foal. Hope you are able to clone her/him.
Vera VanBlaricom, Berryville USA
25/08/2018 09:29
7
2
Most likely a very young foal, very young indeed, amazing to see...
Susie, Bolivar, USA
25/08/2018 08:16
4
3
I also don't think this baby was two months old. I raised foals for 40 years. A two month old foal would be far more filled out body wise than this foal is. If you look at it's topline near the tail, the point of the hip is very pronounced. By two months of age, a baby's hip is pretty well rounded. In addition, the shoulder has a typical "scrunched" up look of a foal no more than a few days old. It will be interesting to see what they find in the stomach...as I frankly think there will be nothing but mare's milk. But we shall see, right?
Barb, Colorado
25/08/2018 08:01
22
12
Precious, perfect, just as God made him.
jill hoffmann, Houston, Tx USA
25/08/2018 07:04
4
16
Clone it! Clone it! (It's a horse, the worst that can happen is they're like Przewalski's Horses and resistant to domestication.) 30-40,000 years is recent enough there shouldn't be any serious habitat issues.

I also agree it LOOKS younger than two months, but it's coated in peaty soil so it's hard to say.
Aleks, United States
25/08/2018 06:02
18
7
I dont believe this foal is anywhere close to 2 months old, days at most. Has nothing to do with size, has to do with development. Raised many, many foals! We will know when the stomach contents are analysed, they will probably find milk or nothing, it may have died at foaling. Still an incredible and exciting find! Hope it can be cloned!
Joyce Henry, Charles City, Virginia, USA
25/08/2018 04:30
11
7
Looks like a newborn to me. It actually looks like maybe it was born dead because of the way it is laying. They come out of the womb like that. The only thing that makes me think it must have stood and moved around at least a little is it no longer has the soft tissue on it's feet they are born with but that takes only a day or so to wear off.
Kim Chiodo, Michigan USA
25/08/2018 03:19
12
4
An amazing find that will broaden the worlds knowledge of this time,the fact that they can remove hair hide and some form of fluid material for testing is wonderful but hope they do not try to go down the road of cloning.
What would it serve to bring back a breed long gone to live it’s life as a living experiment would be abominable.
Judith Currah, Boston,Lincolnshire England
25/08/2018 02:18
8
13
Whatever the foals age, aren’t we lucky to have this privilege,to share with the world this remarkable
find.Archeologist, scientists and all, thank you indeed.
Jacqueline Beaton, Angus Scotland
25/08/2018 01:51
14
3
While the discovery is amazing, the most true surprise of this article is how many experts on ancient animal husbandry and geology of Paleolithic Siberia are on Facebook. I didn’t realize that was such a popular area of study.
Stephanie , US
25/08/2018 01:21
28
4
Been around enough babies to know this kid was only a couple of weeks old, at best, and he's been up on his feet because the "feathers" (deciduous hoof capsule, aka Eponychium) are gone. They fall off in a few hours and the hoof begins to harden so they can walk/run as needed. He certainly doesn't look like the other horses who are a much heavier build, like the those from his time. I hope they do a full genetic map and consider cloning him. Very cool find, regardless of the facts.
Vicky, USA
25/08/2018 01:15
38
6
Incredible find, in regards to age I’m afraid most people may be comparing size to modern say horses, horses from the era in question were much smaller and closer to the size of modern ponys. This foal could easily have been 1-2 months old, besides it really doesn’t make any difference. With modern technology would like to see this goal cloned if possible.
Clayton, USA
25/08/2018 01:08
15
4
INCREDIBLE. thank you for your great scientific work and reporting of this incredible find.
Linda Dennis, St. Augustine, FL USA
25/08/2018 00:58
5
0

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