Stories tagged Siberia

Mar
15
2010

Cool, it is a baby mammoth: A new traveling museum exhibit features a frozen baby mammoth, found in the ice of Siberia in 2007.
Cool, it is a baby mammoth: A new traveling museum exhibit features a frozen baby mammoth, found in the ice of Siberia in 2007.Courtesy Field Museum
A few years ago, I posted a story about the find of a frozen baby mammoth in Siberia. You can refresh your memory of that discovery here.

Now, an exhibit on mammoths and mastodons has opened at the Field Museum of Chicago and visitors have the chance to see the frozen mammoth baby up close and in person (and right now you can look at the photo of it on exhibit right next to this paragraph). The Field Museum hosts the exhibit through Sept. 5 and then an international tour begins, running through 2014.

Here's an interesting story about what researchers have been able to learn about mammoths based on their findings from the mammoth baby, as well.

Mar
30
2008

40 tons of Russian mammoth ivory exported last year

Wooly mammoth tusks
Wooly mammoth tusksCourtesy Hyperbolation
Wooly mammoth tusks are thawing out of the permafrost in Russia. Reindeer herders, oil and gas workers and professional ivory hunters are gathering up nearly pristine ivory as it emerges from the thawing permafrost. The tusks emerge with the spring thaw or after heavy rains, or along the eroding banks of rivers.

“They gather tusks like mushrooms after the rain, literally,” said Aleksei Tikhonov, the director of the Zoological Museum in St. Petersburg and an expert on mammoths.

Will mammoth ivory help endangered elephants?

About 90 percent of the Siberian ivory that is recovered is exported to Asia, where it is principally used in the manufacture of personal seals that in Japan, China and South Korea are used in place of signatures for business transactions.

150,000,000 mammoths still buried

The Siberian permafrost blankets millions of square miles. Hidden in one of the upper layers of this mass, corresponding to the Pleistocene Epoch, are the remains of an estimated 150 million mammoths. If left outside and exposed to the elements, this ivory will disintegrate within three years into worthless splinters. While prices vary, leading dealers in Moscow usually ask $150 to $200 a pound for average-grade ivory.

Source: New York Times

Jul
12
2007

Frozen find: Researchers look over the new find from Siberia of a wooly mammoth baby carcass. A reindeer herder found the frozen specimen while doing is normal rounds.
Frozen find: Researchers look over the new find from Siberia of a wooly mammoth baby carcass. A reindeer herder found the frozen specimen while doing is normal rounds.
Here we go again with another round of Jurassic Park hypotheticals. What’s triggering it? Earlier this spring a reindeer herder in Siberia discovered a fully intact frozen wooly mammoth baby carcass. It’s believed to have been frozen for around 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age.

Other portions of adult mammoths have been found frozen in Siberia. But researchers say that this specimen is the most complete one found to date.

Back in 1997, portions of an adult wooly mammoth were found in another portion of Siberia. Cloning scientists at that time said that they’d be able to have a mammoth/elephant baby hybrid cloned within the next 22 months. So far, however, no dice.

The only significant blemish on the new mammoth discovery is that a portion of its tail is missing. It’s trunk and eyes are intact and some of its fur is still on its torso. It measures just over four feet tall, weighs an estimated 110 pounds and is believed to be about six months old.

Work being done to prepare the carcass to be transferred to Japan for further study. There are some scientists hoping that there could be preserved sperm or other cells with viable DNA that could be used to restart a new version of mammoths.

Researchers are also happy that they – and not others -- have their hands on this new specimen. There’s a growing black market for frozen wooly mammoth artifacts that have been found in Siberia. A one-inch strand of mammoth hair can be sold on the black market for $50.

Mammoths first appeared in the Pliocene Epoch, 4.8 million years ago. And while the species was mostly extinct by the time of the end of last Ice Age 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, one population of mammoths lived on in isolation on Russia's remote Wrangel Island until about 5,000 years ago.