fr en es pt
Contact the author rss astronoo

Trace of life

The mammoth

 Automatic translation  Automatic translation Updated June 01, 2013

A frozen baby mammoth, which is in a remarkable state of preservation, was discovered in Siberia by herding reindeer in May 2007. The specimen, which died there about 10 000 years, surfaced in the frozen soil of the Yamal Peninsula.
This is a female aged 6 months, which weighs 65 kg for a height of 85 cm and a length of 130 cm.
Only the tail and ears seem to have been gnawed, probably by predators, while its trunk and its future defense and tufts of hair at the legs are intact. The men are in search of this mythical animal, extinct for over 300 years.
How mammoth carcasses emerging from the permafrost Permafrost refers to a sub-permanently frozen ground, at least for two years.  froze gave rise to various legends.


The tips of enormous tusks, erect upright for most species appear first and then have to believe in certain populations such as Yiakoutes that these animals lived and died underground when exposed to the sun.
The word 'mammoth' comes from this legend, and means "my night" in Estonian.

Image: A true Siberian mammoth, aged 10 000 years, was discovered in 2007.
The first frozen mammoth was discovered in 1799. Credit NTV, Russian Television Channel

 mammoth found in Siberia

Main findings


1859: discovery of a complete skeleton of mammoth, on a hill Choulans Lyon (France) exhibited in the gallery of the Museum of Lyon in 1920.
1901: discovery of a mammoth which one foot is intact, on the banks of Berezovka Siberia.
1908: Discovery of a young mammoth 2.5 m at the shoulder on the island Lyakhov, exhibited at the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
1977: discovery of the baby Dima at work in the Valley Kirgilyah near Magadan in eastern Siberia.
1979: discovery of a carcass of female in the Gyda Peninsula (Siberia).
1988: discovery of the female baby Masha in Lamal Peninsula (Siberia).
1997: Discovery Zharkov in the Taimyr Peninsula, near Khatanga.


2002: Discovery of Yukagir an adult mammoth carcass 18 560 years which includes the head without the tube and two magnificent tusks and a leg almost intact.
2010: In August 2010, a multidisciplinary international team met at Puy-en-Velay Khroma for autopsy, the oldest baby mammoth discovered to date.
Khroma lived there about 50 000 years, this little pachyderm was discovered in the frozen soil of Siberia.

Image: 1977: discovery of the baby Dima at work in the Valley Kirgilyah near Magadan in eastern Siberia.

 mammoth dima 

Skeleton of mammoth Los Angeles


On February 18, 2009, a nearly complete skeleton of a mammoth, called "Zed" has been discovered by paleontologists at work in the middle of metropolitan Los Angeles.
This mammoth tusks to three meters in length is part of a series of tens of thousands of fossils unearthed during the excavation of land near the site of La Brea, an outcrop of natural bitumen.
The natural reservoir of oil has kept the logs, turtles, snakes, shellfish, fish and other bones which give a detailed picture of what life was like between 10,000 and 40,000 years before our era .
John Harris, curator of the museum which houses fossils found near the site of La Brea explains that the site is "a library of life during the Pleistocene.
Unique in the world in an urban environment, the site of excavation of La Brea is the result of a natural outcrop of hydrocarbons in which countless animals have been trapped before the ice age did immortalizes .


Since 1969, scientists have explored this field, leaving no less than four million parts, bones and teeth perfectly preserved in this pool of asphalt of Rancho La Brea, where natural traps were stuck dozens of species. Rancho La Brea near the city of Los Angeles, California, is located on a marshy area, where surface seeps of natural bitumen. Covered with a film of water that attracts animals, which bogged down, attracting predators, which in turn were trapped. Scientists believe that these scenes occur on average once every 10 years. Tens of thousands of animals have been trapped as well, forming spectacular pile, bones, perfectly preserved. Complete skeletons of birds, tigers, horses, mammoth, camel, sloth, bison, d 'bears, wolves, condors are exposed to the museum in Los Angeles.

Image: On February 18, 2009 "Zed" has been discovered by paleontologists.

 mammoth La Brea Los Angeles

Could we clone a mammoth?


Could we clone a mammoth?
Some scientists had hoped to get to extract enough genetic material to Yukagir specimen discovered in 2002 in order to recreate the prehistoric animal.
Unfortunately, the cells were too damaged by the cold to allow this manipulation.
But the new body of baby mammoth unearthed in Yamal Peninsula, much more recent, dating from 10 000 against 18 560 years for the mammoth Yukagir, renewed hope.
Cloning has been widely tested successfully on domestic animals such as sheep, cats, rabbits and even horses. But to clone a species must have a genetic perfectly preserved.
When an animal dies, the decomposition that time, his heritage is gradually deteriorating.


If it is dead for 10 000 years, it seems very difficult to clone. Only a few fragments of DNA could be extracted from remains as old.
Then, should the embryo develops normally before being transplanted into the uterus of a female.
Time is infinite and it is likely that humans come to develop a reliable technique for cloning, in centuries to come and see and extinct species.

 cloning mammoth

1997 © − Astronomy, Astrophysics, Evolution and Ecology.
"The data available on this site may be used provided that the source is duly acknowledged."