Category Archives: CANADA

7,000-Year-Old Unique Artifacts Discovered Under Melting Ice In Canada

7,000-Year-Old Unique Artifacts Discovered Under Melting Ice In Canada

Archaeologists have discovered dozens of unique artifacts that span more than 7,000 years in melting ice patches in British Columbia’s Mount Edziza Provincial Park, Canada.

During the survey, over 50 perishable artifacts were found near Goat Mountain and the Kitsu Plateau in Mount Edziza Provincial Park, a region that is a volcanic landscape “extremely significant” to the Tahltan, one of Canada’s indigenous First Nations. 

7,000-Year-Old Unique Artifacts Discovered Under Melting Ice In Canada
A 3,000-year-old pair of stick wrapped in animal hide found in the ice.

The finds include stitched birch bark containers, wooden walking staffs, carved and beveled sticks, an atlatl dart foreshaft, and a stitched hide boot, the research team writes in their study published in the Journal of Field Archaeology.

While previously exploring the area, scientists discovered many “vast obsidian quarries” and obsidian artifacts in the park.

However, the nearby ice patches had not been examined as extensively. This time, scientists wanted to find out if perishable ancient artifacts were preserved in the ice.

The study of nine ice patches led to the discovery of 56 perishable artifacts.

The 6,200-year-old stitched animal hide as it looked in the melting ice (A) and after unfolding (C). A close-up photo (B) shows the knotted sinew and a stitch.
One of the many obsidian artifacts found in the melting ice.

“Most of the perishable artifacts were manufactured from wood, including birch bark containers, projectile shafts, and walking staffs,” researchers said. Other artifacts were made “using animal remains include a stitched hide boot and carved antler and bone tools.”

According to a report in the Miami Herald, “Archaeologists found two bark containers with stitching.” One of these is a” 2,000-year-old piece of bark is folded with two rows of stitching along one side and some of the stitching material still left in the holes, the study said.

A 5,300-year-old antler shaped like an ice pick found in the melting ice.

The other “unique” bark container has sticks stitched into its sides, suggesting it was part of a reinforced basket used for transporting heavy loads. Researchers said it dates back over 1,400 years.”

“Archaeologists also uncovered an artifact made of stitched animal hide that they identified as the remains of a moccasin-like boot,” which is about 6,200 years old. It has “two different thicknesses of hide … which have been stitched in multiple places,” the study said.

Another intriguing object uncovered under the ice was a 5,300-year-old antler shaped like an ice pick.  The research team explained the three-pronged antler had one sharpened point, one blunted as if used as a hammer, and one broken but presumed to be used as a handle.

“Every perishable artifact was found amongst a backdrop of millions of obsidian” artifacts, the study said. The artifacts were taken to a museum in British Columbia for “climate-controlled conservation” and further study.

“Radiocarbon ages on 13 of the perishable artifacts reveal that they span the last 7000 years,” the study informs.

The 14,000-year-old ice age village discovered is 10,000 years older than the pyramids

The 14,000-year-old ice age village discovered is 10,000 years older than the pyramids

The 14,000-year-old ice age village discovered is 10,000 years older than the pyramids

In their oral history, the Heiltsuk people describe how the area around Triquet Island, on the western coast of their territory in British Columbia, remained open land during the ice age.

“People flocked there for survival because everywhere else was being covered by ice, and all the ocean was freezing and all of the food resources were dwindling,” says Heiltsuk Nation member William Housty.

And late last year, archaeologists excavating an ancient Heiltsuk village on Triquet Island uncovered the physical evidence: a few flakes of charcoal from a long-ago hearth.

Analysis of the carbon fragments indicates that the village site — deserted since a smallpox epidemic in the 1800s — was inhabited as many as 14,000 years ago, making it three times as old as the pyramids at Giza, and one of the oldest settlements in North America.

“There are several sites that date to around the same time as the very early date that we obtained for Triquet Island, so what this is suggesting is that people have been here for tens of thousands of years,” says Alisha Gauvreau, a scholar at the Hakai Institute and a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria, who has been working at the Triquet Island site.

But how was it that Triquet Island remained uncovered, even during the ice age? According to Gauvreau, sea levels in the area remained stable over time, due to a phenomenon called sea level hinge.

“So all the rest of the landmass was covered in ice,” she explains. “As those ice sheets started to recede — and we had some major shifts in sea levels coastwide, so further to the north and to the south in the magnitude of 150 to 200 meters of difference, whereas here it remained exactly the same.”

The result, Gauvreau says, is that people were able to return to Triquet Island repeatedly over time. And while nearby sites also show evidence of ancient inhabitants, people “were definitely sticking around Triquet Island longer than anywhere else,” she says. In addition to finding bits of charcoal at the site, she says archaeologists have uncovered tools like obsidian blades, atlatls and spear throwers, fishhook fragments and hand drills for starting fires.

“And I could go on, but basically, all of these things, coupled with the fallen assemblage, tell us that the earliest people were making relatively simple stone tools at first, perhaps expediently, due to the parent material that was available at the time,” Gauvreau says.

The site also indicates that these early people were also using boats to hunt sea mammals, and gather shellfish, she adds. And later on, they traded or travelled great distances to obtain nonlocal materials like obsidian, greenstone, and graphite for tools.

For archaeologists and anthropologists, the find bolsters an idea, called the “Kelp Highway Hypothesis” hypothesis, proposing that the first people who arrived in North America followed the coastline in boats to avoid the glacial landscape.

“It certainly adds evidence to the fact that people were able to travel by boat in that coastal area by watercraft,” Gauvreau says.

And for the Heiltsuk Nation, which has worked with the archaeologists for years to share knowledge and identify sites like Triquet Island, the updated archaeological record provides new evidence, as well.

The nation routinely negotiates with the Canadian government on matters of territory governance and natural resource management — negotiations that depend in part on the community’s record of inhabiting the area over long periods.

Archaeologists at the site are unearthing tools for lighting fires, fish hooks and spears dating back to the Ice Age

“So when we’re at the table with our oral history, it’s like me telling you a story,” Housty says. “And you have to believe me without seeing any evidence.”

But now, he explains, with the oral history and archaeological evidence “dovetailing together, telling a really powerful tale,” the Heiltsuk have new advantages at the negotiating table.

“That’s really going to be very significant … and I think will definitely give us a leg up in negotiations, for sure,” he says.

Indigenous artifacts found near Ottawa give clues to a settlement dating back 10,000 years

Indigenous artifacts found near Ottawa give clues to a settlement dating back 10,000 years

Head archeologist Ian Badgley, pictured on Jan. 23, and his team from the National Capital Commission found the artifacts within hours of starting the dig at the ancient Indigenous settlement.

Archeologists have uncovered a cache of artifacts near Ottawa that could shed new light on trade and communication networks between Indigenous communities thousands of years ago.

The discovery last month in Lac Philippe, Que., included about 50 pieces of rare quartz tools, which suggest that Indigenous peoples may have inhabited the area up to 10,000 years ago.

Head archeologist Ian Badgley and his team from the National Capital Commission found the artifacts within hours of starting the dig at the ancient Indigenous settlement. It was the first time they’d found quartz tools in the area.

Mr. Badgley had originally thought the settlement dated back about 3,000 years.

“We think the quartz could be as old as 10,000 years. It’s an eye-opener,” said Mr. Badgley, manager of the NCC’s archeology program, who has been excavating Indigenous sites in Canada for 50 years.

This is not the first significant discovery in the area. Earlier this year, The Globe and Mail reported that hundreds of thousands of precontact Indigenous artifacts found near Ottawa were being stored in boxes in an office suite in an NCC building steps from Parliament.

Many of the Indigenous tools were shaped from chert quarried millennia ago, including a knife found on Parliament Hill estimated to be about 4,000 years old. Doug Odjick, a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg council, said Indigenous artifacts from the area help to educate others about the history of his ancestors.

“We’d like to show people that there was life before Champlain arrived,” he said. “There was civilization. There was trade. There were different methods of gathering.”

The National Capital Region where the quartz materials were found is “at the hub of a vast precontact communications and trade network,” Mr. Badgley said.

Ian Badgley, points to a NCC Pre-Contact Communications and Trade Network map.

It is situated at the confluence of three major river systems, which acted as major transportation and trade routes. The Kitigan Zibi traded here with other Indigenous peoples such as the Mohawk and Huron.

When Indigenous communities traded, they exchanged more than material items, Mr. Odjick said. “Part of the deal was the trade of knowledge.”

Chief Simon John, from the Ehattesaht Tribe on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, said a lot of this traditional knowledge has been lost. Many Indigenous peoples rely on oral history to pass down stories, traditions, and culture. While the discovery of Indigenous artifacts may validate relationships between communities, he added, they don’t tell the whole story. Indigenous students from the Anishinabe Odjibikan federally funded archeological field school are taking part in the next stage of excavations this week, and are excited to discover what the finds can tell them about their ancestors.

The students are from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, located north of Gatineau, and the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, about 150 kilometers southwest of Ottawa. Jenna Kohoko is one of the students from Pikwakanagan First Nation. While the group was not a part of the initial Lac Philippe digs, they helped clean the first batch of quartz.

“I love looking at the quartz artifacts,” Ms. Kohoko said. “It really says to me that we were here so long ago, we occupy the space, and we were here a lot earlier than people assume.”

Archeologists have also uncovered quartz materials in Pikwakanagan, more than 100 kilometers away from Gatineau Park. Mr. Badgley said the team will be comparing the quartz from these two sites; the new materials are currently being radiocarbon dated in a lab at the University of Ottawa.

They are eagerly awaiting the results, which will take around three months to come in.

“This will tell us more about who these people are, who they were related to, where they were living, and how they moved around,” he said. “It’s exciting.”

Swiss Museum Returns Sacred Objects to Canada’s First Nations

Swiss Museum Returns Sacred Objects to Canada’s First Nations

Swiss Museum Returns Sacred Objects to Canada's First Nations
The two representatives of Haudenosaunee Confederation Clayton Logan (Seneca Nation), left, and Brennen Ferguson (Tuscarora Nation), right, hold boxes containing sacred objects during the ceremony of restitution of sacred object to the Haudenosaunee Confederation, at the Museum of Ethnography of Geneva (MEG), in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The MEG has returned the traditional sacred objects, a mask and a rattle, to the Haudenosaunee after 200 years in Switzerland.

Two artifacts sacred to some of Canada’s Indigenous peoples are now back on home territory after a Swiss museum returned them to the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) confederacy this month. 

The objects, a medicine mask and turtle rattle, had been in the possession of the Geneva Museum of Ethnography (MEG) for nearly 200 years. 

The museum acknowledged last month that the artifacts were originally acquired without consent, noting in a press release it was taking the unprecedented step of returning them as part of its commitment to ensuring both human remains and sacred objects are restored to their rightful owners.

Mohawk elder and activist Kenneth Deer — one of the three men sent to retrieve the objects — said he was “surprised and thankful” for the museum’s co-operation and called the MEG “progressive” for returning the objects without conditions or complications. 

“It was a very quick turnaround because sometimes it takes years to get objects back from a museum, especially from a foreign country. It was a really good experience, and I think it’s a model for other museums to follow,” Deer said in an interview on Friday. 

Deer said the mask was first spotted back in July by Tuscarora Brennen Ferguson, who, along with Deer, is a member of the Haudenosaunee external relations committee. 

In November, the committee wrote a letter requesting the return of artifacts to Canada. The museum and the city of Geneva, which founded the MEG in 1901, approved the request. 

“The museum was very cooperative, and more than that, they were just respectful,” Ferguson said. “(After I first saw the mask), we met with the director, and we asked her for the mask to be taken off public display, and they did it that very same day. We expressed our wishes, and they worked with us completely.”

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is made up of six nations on both sides of the American and Canadian border: the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Tuscarora, and Seneca.

Deer said the MEG offered to ship the artifacts to Canada at the beginning of the year after obtaining a Swiss export permit, but Haudenosaunee elders objected because of the significance of the mask. 

“It is a medicine mask used in ceremonies for healing, and we regard these masks as living entities that have great healing powers,” Deer said.

So, a delegation was formed consisting of Deer, Ferguson, and 87-year-old Seneca elder Clayton Logan. Together the three flew to Switzerland to retrieve the sacred objects.

“There was a ceremony, and it was all very terrific. There was a lot of media attention, and a lot of people came out. The Canadian ambassador to the United Nations was present. And there were representatives from the United States government, Mexico and Guatemala, and the Swiss, of course,” Deer said. 

Deer said Logan was allowed to burn traditional tobacco during the Feb. 7 ceremony. Deer also gave the museum two Mohawk corn husk dolls, one male and one female, made in Akwesasne.

Meg Director Carine Ayélé Durand issued a press release saying she was very pleased to see the city of Geneva playing an active role in favor of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

“This return of sacred objects was made possible thanks to the relationship we have had with the Haudenosaunee,” Ayélé Durand said in the statement.

She went on to thank the administrative council of the city of Geneva, who she said “made this process extremely smooth and quick.,”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 18, 2023.

Discovery of Giant Dinosaur Fossil with Skin in Southern Alberta Excites Paleontologists

Discovery of Giant Dinosaur Fossil with Skin in Southern Alberta Excites Paleontologists

Bone hunters from around the world regularly travel to Dinosaur Provincial Park in the southern Alberta badlands — but the recent discovery of a hadrosaur fossil is causing a lot more excitement than usual.

Kaskie volunteers in a field school at the park run by Brian Pickles, a professor from the University of Reading in England. He and his colleagues bring students from the United Kingdom and Australia to learn and test field techniques in Alberta.

Kaskie came across a cliff and noticed a fossilized bone sticking out of it. Upon closer inspection, she realized it was larger and more intact than anything she had ever seen.

Discovery of Giant Dinosaur Fossil with Skin in Southern Alberta Excites Paleontologists
Calgary-based biologist and dino enthusiast Teri Kaskie was actually looking for Tyrannosaurus rex teeth when she made the discovery.

“I instantly went up to Brian and, like, you need to come to take a look at this! And as it turned out, it was something really cool,” Kaskie said.

What she found was a young hadrosaur so well preserved that it still had skin on it. Pickles knew it was a significant find and brought it to the attention of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alta.

Experts say hadrosaur skeletons are common in the area, but to find one as well preserved as Kaskie did is very rare.”We took so many photos. We sent them to the Royal Tyrrell Museum staff [and said], ‘Hey, I think we found something really big here,’” said Pickles.

Skin on fossils ‘quite rare’When it comes to dinosaurs, Alberta has a rich fossil heritage, according to Caleb Brown, curator of dinosaur systematics and evolution at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

“Dinosaur Provincial Park is kind of the crown jewel of that. There’s no other place in the world that has the same abundance of dinosaur fossils and the same diversity of dinosaur fossils in a very small area,” he added.

Hadrosaurs were herbivorous duck-billed dinosaurs, commonly referred to as the cows of the Cretaceous period.

According to Brown, around 400 to 500 dinosaur skeletons or skulls have been excavated from the area. So, finding dinosaur bones in the area is not hard. But finding one where all the bones are still in the same position they would be in life is uncommon.

“And finding one that has a lot of skin on it is quite rare.”

A camera left in the Yukon by a legendary explorer in 1937 is found 85 years later

A camera left in the Yukon by a legendary explorer in 1937 is found 85 years later

In 1937, legendary mountaineers Bradford Washburn and Robert Bates were exploring Canada’s frigid Yukon region when they had to abandon their gear in order to quickly escape. Nearly 85 years later, the cache of gear they left behind has been found – including Washburn’s camera. 

Professional mountain explorer Griffin Post told CBS News he first heard about the abandoned cache in the book “Escape from Lucania.” Author David Roberts writes about where Washburn and Bates may have left the cache of gear in the Kluane National Park and Reserve.

“But nobody really knew for sure, and that doubt and that possibility that it was still there is what I went on,” Post said. 

Griff Post and the Washburn’s camera, which was embedded in the ice of Walsh Glacier.

Washburn is a mountaineer, explorer, surveyor, mapmaker and author who is also known for the photos he took of the dramatic landscapes he explored. He’s visited many of the world’s wild regions, including remote Alaska and Mount Everest.

Post said Washburn and Bates abandoned their gear because their pilot couldn’t come back to pick them up, so they decided to summit the peak and hike out into Canada. They planned to come back the following winter but never did. 

On a quest to find the cache, Post led a team to the remote Walsh Glacier. Post and Teton Gravity Research — which produces skiing, snowboarding and surfing films — partnered with University of Ottawa Glaciologist Dora Medrzycka, who travelled with them, and mapped out the glacier to determine where the gear could have moved over time. Dr. Luke Copland and a team at the University of Ottawa helped them remotely.

The team found a portion of Washburn’s aerial camera, which is believed to be his first-ever aerial photography camera, according to a press release from Teton Gravity Research. They were also able to retrieve two other cameras with film still loaded inside.

“It was such an emotional rollercoaster because you go in, you’ve done all this research, you’re so excited, and then the first time you fly in you see how vast the terrain is and how much area you’re supposed to cover and how many crevasses the cache could’ve fallen into years ago,” Post said. “It’s like ‘I don’t think there’s any way we can find this.’ It’s so overwhelming.”

However, Post said, searching for the cache ended up feeling fun. 

“At times I felt like a little kid. You’re jumping over a crevasse, like looking for treasure essentially. Like this is wild I get to do this,” he said. “And if we don’t find anything, well as far as adventure goes, we checked that box.”

During a seven-day trip, the crew of seven people searched on foot, ski and snowboard, travelling about 60 miles each, Post said. 

“We found it on the morning of the seventh day,” he added. “It took every minute basically, and in the end, the helicopter was about to take off to come pick us back up, and that was when we found the cache.” 

A camera left in the Yukon by a legendary explorer in 1937 is found 85 years later
The team of seven searched for seven days, travelling about 60 miles before finding the cache on the final day of their trip.

The team found a portion of Washburn’s aerial camera, which is believed to be his first-ever aerial photography camera, according to a press release from Teton Gravity Research. They were also able to retrieve two other cameras with film still loaded inside. 

Archaeologists from Parks Canada, which oversees national parks in the country, returned to the glacier with the team a few weeks later and helped them carefully retrieve what they could, successfully extracting the camera from the ice, according to the press release. 

Post said they will be “examined in the coming weeks and we’re cautiously optimistic something will be salvageable.”

Post said they will be “examined in the coming weeks and we’re cautiously optimistic something will be salvageable.”

The team estimated the camera had moved about 12 miles from where it started, Post said. Until this point, scientists only had data about glacier movement dating back to the 1960s, and analyzing the movement of the cache since 1937 can help them better understand how the velocity and thickness of a glacier may have changed. 

Post said not only was it historically significant to find the cache but “the science was almost cooler.” 

“Because we essentially backfilled three decades of data the science community didn’t have as far as how glaciers moved,” he added.

“Astonishing” 500-Million-Year-Old Fossilized Brains Prompt a Rethink of the Evolution of Insects and Spiders

“Astonishing” 500-Million-Year-Old Fossilized Brains Prompt a Rethink of the Evolution of Insects and Spiders

What had spiny claws protruding from its mouth, sported a body shaped like a toilet brush and looked as though it slithered off the cover of a sci-fi novel? An ocean predator from the Cambrian period is known as Stanleycaris hirpex. Newfound fossils of the bizarre creature are exceptionally complete, preserving the brain, the nervous system and a third eye. 

Royal Ontario Museum/Illustration by Sabrina Cappelli

Researchers at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto recently announced the discovery of fossils belonging to that strange animal as part of an “astonishing” treasure trove of fossils dating to 506 million years ago, according to a statement. 

Palaeontologists found these ancient treasures in the Burgess Shale, a formation in British Columbia’s Canadian Rockies that is known for its abundant and well-preserved fossilized animal remains, and among the half-a-billion-year-old fossils were numerous specimens of the marine predator S. hirpex.

“What makes this find so remarkable is that we have dozens of specimens showing the remains of the brain and other elements of the nervous system, and they’re incredibly well preserved and show really fine details,” said Joseph Moysiuk, lead author of a study describing the fossils and a University of Toronto doctoral candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology. 

“Before this, there had only been a few other finds of fossilized brains, particularly from the Cambrian period, but this is still something that is quite rare, and it’s only something that’s been observed in the last 10 years or so,” Moysiuk told Live Science.

“Most of the species where we’ve seen fossilized brains, there are only one or two specimens available.”

Despite being small — measuring less than 8 inches (20 centimetres) in length — S. hirpex was likely an imposing sight to its even smaller prey.

“It had this really ferocious apparatus of spiny claws and round mouth that made it look absolutely fierce,” Moysiuk said. “It also had long, rake-like spines to comb the seafloor to hunt for any buried organisms, side flaps to help it glide through the water and trident-shaped spines that project toward each other from the opposite appendage that we think it used as a jaw to crush its prey.”

“Astonishing” 500-Million-Year-Old Fossilized Brains Prompt a Rethink of the Evolution of Insects and Spiders
A pair of fossil specimens of Stanleycaris hirpex, specimen ROMIP 65674.1-2.

The fossils show that the brain of S. hirpex was divided into two segments: the protocerebrum, which is connected to its eyes, and the deutocerebrum, which is linked to the frontal claws. This brain structure differs from the three-lobe structure of modern arthropods that are distant relatives of S. hirpex, such as insects. The brains of these modern relatives, in contrast, comprise a protocerebrum, a deutocerebrum and a tritocerebrum, which connects the brain to an insect’s labrum, or upper lip, among other body parts. 

“The preservation of the brains in these animals gives us direct insight into the evolution of the nervous system from the perspective of the fossil record,” Moysiuk said. 

Radiodonta, an extinct offshoot of the arthropod evolutionary tree that includes Stanleycaris, “is an important group to know, since it offers us a better understanding of the evolution of modern arthropods.” Moysiuk said.  

Another interesting aspect of S. hirpex was its oversize median third eye, a characteristic observed for the first time in a radiodont. While the study authors are uncertain about how the ancient arthropod used this eye, it may have helped the animal track its prey, Moysiuk suggested. 

“Finding the third eye was quite a shock to us because we were starting to think we understood radiodonts and what they looked like pretty well,” he said. “For the first time, we were able to recognize this gigantic median eye in addition to the pair of stock eyes that we already knew about in radiodonts.” 

Though some modern arthropods, like dragonflies and wasps, also have median eyes, they are usually more sensitive than the other two eyes and yet don’t focus as well. “We can only speculate, but we think that this third eye helped with orienting an animal, and it’s especially important for a predator like Stanleycaris that has to move around rapidly and precisely in the environment,” Moysiuk said.

Three of the S. hirpex fossils that were excavated during the dig are now on permanent display at the Royal Ontario Museum in its Willner Madge Gallery, Dawn of Life. 

The findings were published July 8 in the journal Current Biology.

Mummified remains of a 30,000-year-old baby mammoth found in Canadian gold fields

Mummified remains of a 30,000-year-old baby mammoth found in Canadian gold fields

A gold miner found a mummified baby woolly mammoth in the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Traditional Territory in Yukon, Canada. According to a press release from the local government, the female baby mammoth has been named Nun cho ga by the First Nation Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in elders, which translates to “big baby animal” in the Hän language.

Mummified remains of a 30,000-year-old baby mammoth found in Canadian gold fields
Nun cho ga Baby Woolly Mammoth found in Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Traditional Territory, Yukon, CanadaYukon Government

Nun cho ga is the most complete mummified mammoth discovered in North America.

Nun cho ga died and was frozen in permafrost during the ice age, over 30,000 years old, said the press release. She would have roamed the Yukon alongside wild horses, cave lions, and giant steppe bison.

The frozen mammoth was recovered by geologists after a young miner in the Klondike gold fields found the remains while digging up muck.

Dr. Grant Zazula, the Yukon government’s paleontologist, said the miner had made the “most important discovery in paleontology in North America,”reported The Weather Channel.

The baby mammoth was probably with her mother when it but ventured off a little too far and got stuck in the mud, Zazula told The Weather Channel.

Professor Dan Shugar, from the University of Calgary, part of the team who excavated the woolly mammoth, said that this discovery was the “most exciting scientific thing I have ever been part of.”

He described how immaculately the mammoth had been preserved, saying that it still had intact toenails, hide, hair, trunk, and even intestines, with its last meal of grass still present.

According to the press release, Yukon is renowned for its store of ice age fossils, but rarely are such immaculate and well-preserved finds discovered. Zazula wrote in the press release that “As an ice age paleontologist, it has been one of my lifelong dreams to come face to face with a real woolly mammoth.

“That dream came true today. Nun cho ga is beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified ice age animals ever discovered in the world.”

The woolly mammoth, about the size of the African elephant, roamed the earth until about 4,000 years ago.

Early humans, hunted them for food and used mammoth bones and tusks for art, tools, and dwellings. Scientists are divided as to whether hunting or climate change drove them into extinction.