A Gold Miner Finds a 35,000-Year-Old Frozen Woolly Mammoth

Jax Hudur

Nun cho ga Baby Woolly Mammoth found in Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Traditional Territory, Yukon, CanadaYukon Government

A young Canadian gold miner has found a 35,000-year-old woolly mammoth which scientists are saying is the most incredible finding of a mummified ice age animal ever discovered in the world. Paleontologists believe the woolly mammoth was approximately a little over a month old when it died.

The woolly baby mammoth was found while digging through permafrost in the Klondike gold fields, part of the traditional Yukon territory of Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin in Canada. The first nation of Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin has named the baby woolly mammoth Nun cho ga, which means big baby elephant in the Hän language.

The mammoth is an extinct species of elephant that is about the same size as the African elephant, which scientists believe disappeared between 14,000 and 10,000 years ago.

According to the scientists, the woolly baby mammoth was stuck in the mud when it died. They say this helped preserve the woolly mammoth in its near-complete mummified state. Though the Yukon area is famous for its ice age animal fossils, the near intact baby mammoth is a first-of-a-kind unique discovery.

The last of the mammoths

Chief Roberta Joseph of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in said,

“This is as a remarkable recovery for our First Nation, and we look forward to collaborating with the Yukon government on the next steps in the process for moving forward with these remains in a way that honours our traditions, culture, and laws. We are thankful for the Elders who have been guiding us so far and the name they provided. We are committed to respectfully handling Nun cho ga as she has chosen now to reveal herself to all of us.”

The finding is an excellent reminder that giant animals once roamed the earth. Like their kin, today, elephants are feared to get extinct as they are classified as an endangered species. There are about 40,000 to 50,000 elephants left in the wild. The World Wide Fund (WWF) says that by the year 2040, elephants will be extinct unless urgent action is taken to conserve them.

For the last 40 years, the elephant population has declined by 70% due to illegal ivory trading and poaching, which has resulted in the killing of 20,000 elephants yearly, or one elephant every 26 hours.

The finding of the woolly baby mammoth is a tremendous scoop for scientists as research of the remains will probably yield more understanding of the species. In addition, the discovery should encourage governments to do more to protect the remaining elephants we have around, lest they too become extinct like their cousins, the woolly mammoths.

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