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It seems like an impossible find, but an extremely well-preserved woolly rhino was recently revealed in the melting permafrost of Siberia. The extinct Ice Age species is projected to be the best-preserved woolly rhino found in the Yakutia region—a place known for its exceptionally cold temperatures.
So, what can we tell about this creature? Based on initial analysis, it appears that the rhino—whose sex is still unknown—was between three and four years old and was alive around 20,000 to 50,000 years ago. It probably lived apart from its mother and most likely died by drowning in the summer.
Being frozen allowed for incredible preservation of the rhino’s fur and internal organs, and it offers a much clearer picture of the animal's appearance and how it lived. The frigid carcass includes thick hazel-colored fur, a horn, teeth, part of the intestines, and even lumps of fat. We’ll know more about the creature once ice roads can form and it is delivered to the scientists in the capital city Yakutsk, which is home to the Mammoth Museum.
Due to climate change, the summertime months in Siberia can reveal a fascinating time capsule below the ground's surface. (This woolly rhino was discovered in August.) And this isn’t the first time that such an amazing discovery has been found in Yakutia. In 2014, the world’s only baby woolly rhino named Sasha was discovered not far from where the new young rhino was buried.
An extremely well-preserved woolly rhino was recently found in the melting permafrost of Siberia.
An exceptionally well-preserved woolly rhino with its last meal still intact found in Arctic Yakutia. The juvenile rhino with thick hazel-coloured coat was 3 to 4 four years old when it died at least 20,000 years ago; its horn was found next to the carcass https://t.co/7hc1HnYuD0 pic.twitter.com/nS52DRp04c
— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) December 29, 2020
Get an up-close look at the discovery in the video below: