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The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

By The Siberian Times reporter
11 August 2018

Sensational find of world’s only completely preserved ancient baby horse, aged just three months when it died in the Palaeolithic period.

Clipety-clop! The Upper Paleolithic foal held by Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum 

This is the first picture of an ancient foal dug out of the permafrost in the Batagai depression - also known as the ‘Mouth of Hell’ -  in the Yakutia region of Siberia. 

Head of the world famous Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, Semyon Grigoryev,  said: ‘The foal was approximately three months old (when it died). 

‘The unique find was made in the permafrost of Batagai depression. The foal was completely preserved by permafrost.   

‘The extra value of the unique find is that we obtained samples of soil layers where it was preserved, which means we will be able to restore a picture of the foal’s environment.’

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

The Batagai depression in Verkhoyansky district of Yakutia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

The Ice Age foal lived up to 40,000 years ago, it is understood.

It was buried at a level of around 30 metres in the tadpole-shaped depression, which is a ‘megaslump’ one kilometre long and around 800 metres wide. 

‘We will report the exact time when it lived after studying the soil samples,’ said the scientist.

‘The foal has completely preserved dark-brown hair, its tail and mane, as well as all internal organs. 

‘There are no visible wounds on its body. 

‘This is the first find in the world find of a pre-historic horse of such a young age and with such an amazing level of preservation.’

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years

The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years
Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, and the Batagai depression in Verkhoyansk depression in Verkhoyansk district of Yakutia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

One unconfirmed account suggests that hair on the ancient horse has ‘zebra-like stripes’ on its legs. 

The foal was found by an expedition to the Verkhoyansky district of Yakutia.

The find was located by scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University, and Kindai University in Japan along with a crew from Fuji TV.

Nine years ago locals in Batagai village found a bison calf and part of an ancient horse’s body.

Locals in the remote Yakutia region see this spectacular crater as superstitious, and know it as the 'gateway to the underworld'. In fact, the depression was caused by the Soviets, who cleared forest here, but it is now being enlarged and shaped by climate change, according to local scientists.

Comments (36)

Horses were in the North Americas.. they crossed the land bridge then.. and came North.. but, when it got cold and the snow advanced South, they crossed back to go South.. and never came back. Not until the Spanish explorers brought horses to the North Americas....
Carley, Pa.
20/08/2018 20:29
Eohipus or mesohippus ? .earlier or later???
Pamela, USA, Oregon
17/08/2018 00:28
I love seeing the pics of all the hard work these scientists/geologists do for the rest of the world. I could do without reading the comments from the "gallery".
Rita Sullivan, Jackson NE USA
16/08/2018 06:21
This is an amazing find. Believe me the paleogenetisist's are certainly looking at this example as experiments are underway to clone a mammoth. It humors me that persons can politicize almost everything. Does the gender really matter in this impossibly rare find. A foal is a foal, it is gender neutral. Please stop politicizing every aspect of life and let us enjoy a moments of wonder. Might HAVE been. LOL...
August Spies, Hermosa Beach, CA.
16/08/2018 01:58
I would LOVE to see a picture of the foal (is it a colt or a filly? No one said) all cleaned up to see it's actual color...What an amazing find!
Becky, Capitan, NM USA
15/08/2018 07:57
As a veterinarian who sees foals regularly. There is absolutely no doubt, that it is a foal. If I dipped one of mine in some mud, it would look exactly like that, maybe a bit bigger. The proportions are all wrong for a mature animal.
Sarah McC, United States
15/08/2018 06:06
I'd be curious to find out if there is intact DNA to be examined. Some of the domestic horses from that part of the world are Gaited (they do a smooth, fast gait under saddle that's different from a trot - for you non- horsey folks, think of it like "mall-walkers" :). I'm dying to know if this genetic marker shows up in the wild population, pre-domestiation.
Forgive my Gaited horse nerdiness.
Chelle Griffith, Nebraska USA
15/08/2018 05:31
What a wonderful article. Siberian Times has become my favourite for news stories such as this. Thank you! I look forward to hearing more!
Ann Donaldson, Fife, Scotland.
15/08/2018 04:27
A "foal" is simply an immature form of - in this case - a horse. Very easy to confirm with a simple x-ray. The bones of immature animals - of most species - are different than the bones of a mature animal. Have you ever noticed how limber little kids are? That's because the ends of the bones in legs, arms and elsewhere, are not yet grown together. The flexibility helps allow for live births in most mammals. As animals grow - the ends begin to grow together with the bones and form 'solid' long bones. The growth happens over time, at a (relatively) known rate. And when you are an adult - the bones no longer grow in that way. When you are older, the bones become less strong and more 'brittle.' Which is why a simple x-ray can help inform the scientists of the estimated 'age' of the animals at death. Lots of other data would be included in their reports. A discovery with this many individual animals allows researchers to create an even larger data base of information - which is a very good thing.
Elyn Walker, United States
14/08/2018 06:53
Amazing news from Yakutia! If confirmed, this will be an extremely important material for genetic and paleopathological markers!
Gino Fornaciari, Italy
14/08/2018 04:12
They can tell it’s not an adult because... science. Seriously?? For one, they can tell by the bone development and teeth. Foals that young most likely would still have their milk teeth and certain bones haven’t fused together yet.
Nikkie, USA
14/08/2018 02:57
How does any body know this isn't a mature animal? How dio you assume it's a baby, just because it's small?
Mike, USA
13/08/2018 23:42
Wonderful news from faraway Yakutia ! Hopefully you will keep us posted on the findings of paleogeneticists ? It will be interesting to learn the foal's genetic markings and hopefully add more knowledge to the origins of all horses !
Pearl Duval, Montreal Canada
13/08/2018 23:36
This is an incredible finding! I was astonished to see the foal creature in such preserved estate. I would love to see more findings of ice age animal's. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

Esto es un descubrimiento increible! Me quede perplejo y anonadado de ver que tan preservado esta la criatura caballo. Me encantaria ver mas descubrimientos de animales de la era hielo. Gracias por compartir esta informacion valiosa.
Jon Mercado, New Jersey, USA
13/08/2018 23:19
What an incredible find. I am secretly wishing they would be able to clone it and see what it looked like. Good luck!
M.Ofjord, Grand Marais, MN, USA
13/08/2018 22:23

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