Category Archives: RUSSIA

World’s oldest wooden statue is TWICE as old as Stonehenge

World’s oldest wooden statue is TWICE as old as Stonehenge

Gold prospectors first discovered the so-called Shigir Idol at the bottom of a peat bog in Russia’s Ural mountain range in 1890. The unique object—a nine-foot-tall totem pole composed of ten wooden fragments carved with expressive faces, eyes and limbs and decorated with geometric patterns—represents the oldest known surviving work of wooden ritual art in the world.

World's oldest wooden statue is TWICE as old as Stonehenge
Hunter-gatherers in what is now Russia likely viewed the wooden sculpture as an artwork imbued with ritual significance.

More than a century after its discovery, archaeologists continue to uncover surprises about this astonishing artefact. As Thomas Terberger, a scholar of prehistory at Göttingen University in Germany, and his colleagues wrote in the journal Quaternary International in January, new research suggests the sculpture is 900 years older than previously thought.

Based on extensive analysis, Terberger’s team now estimates that the object was likely crafted about 12,500 years ago, at the end of the Last Ice Age. Its ancient creators carved the work from a single larch tree with 159 growth rings, the authors write in the study.

“The idol was carved during an era of great climate change, when early forests were spreading across a warmer late-glacial to postglacial Eurasia,” Terberger tells Franz Lidz of the New York Times.

“The landscape changed, and the art—figurative designs and naturalistic animals painted in caves and carved in rock—did, too, perhaps as a way to help people come to grips with the challenging environments they encountered.”

According to Sarah Cascone of Artnet News, the new findings indicate that the rare artwork predates Stonehenge, which was created around 5,000 years ago, by more than 7,000 years. It’s also twice as old as the Egyptian pyramids, which date roughly 4,500 years ago.

As the Times reports, researchers have been puzzling over the age of the Shigir sculpture for decades. The debate has major implications for the study of prehistory, which tends to emphasize a Western-centric view of human development.

The wood used to carve the Shigir Idol is around 12,250 years old.
Shigir Idol – the oldest known wooden sculpture in the world.

In 1997, Russian scientists carbon-dated the totem pole to about 9,500 years ago. Many in the scientific community rejected these findings as implausible: Reluctant to believe that hunter-gatherer communities in the Urals and Siberia had created art or formed cultures of their own, says Terberger to the Times, researchers instead presented a narrative of human evolution that centered European history, with ancient farming societies in the Fertile Crescent eventually sowing the seeds of Western civilization.

Prevailing views over the past century adds Terberger, regarded hunter-gatherers as “inferior to early agrarian communities emerging at that time in the Levant. At the same time, the archaeological evidence from the Urals and Siberia was underestimated and neglected.”

In 2018, scientists including Terberger used accelerator mass spectrometry technology to argue that the wooden object was about 11,600 years old. Now, the team’s latest publication has pushed that origin date back even further.

As Artnet News reports, the complex symbols carved into the object’s wooden surface indicate that its creators made it as a work of “mobiliary art,” or portable art that carried ritual significance.

Co-author Svetlana Savchenko, the curator in charge of the artifact at the Sverdlovsk Regional Museum of Local Lore, tells the Times that the eight faces may contain encrypted references to a creation myth or the boundary between the earth and sky.

“Woodworking was probably widespread during the Late Glacial to early Holocene,” the authors wrote in the 2018 article. “We see the Shigir sculpture as a document of a complex symbolic behaviour and of the spiritual world of the Late Glacial to Early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of the Urals.”

The fact that this rare evidence of hunter-gatherer artwork endured until modern times is a marvel in and of itself, notes Science Alert. The acidic, antimicrobial environment of the Russian peat bog preserved the wooden structure for millennia.

João Zilhão, a scholar at the University of Barcelona who was not involved in the study, tells the Times that the artefact’s remarkable survival reminds scientists of an important truth: that a lack of evidence of ancient art doesn’t mean it never existed.

Rather, many ancient people created art objects out of perishable materials that could not withstand the test of time and were therefore left out of the archaeological record.

“It’s similar to the ‘Neanderthals did not make art’ fable, which was entirely based on the absence of evidence,” Zilhão says. “Likewise, the overwhelming scientific consensus used to hold that modern humans were superior in key ways, including their ability to innovate, communicate and adapt to different environments. Nonsense, all of it.”

Head of the Shigir Idol, the world’s oldest known wood sculpture.

Remarkable 3,900-Year-Old Suit Of Bone Armor Found In Siberia

Remarkable 3,900-Year-Old Suit Of Bone Armor Found In Siberia

Archaeologists are intrigued by the discovery of the complete set of well-preserved bone armour which is seen as having belonged to an ‘elite’ warrior. The armour was in ‘perfect condition’ – and in its era was ‘more precious than life’, say experts.

‘It was more precious than life, because it saved life’.

It was buried separate from its owner and no other examples of such battle dress have been found around Omsk. The analysis is expected to determine its exact age but Siberian archaeologists say it dates from 3,900 to 3,500 years ago. 

Nearby archaeological finds are from the Krotov culture, lived in a forest-steppe area of Western Siberia, but this bone armour more closely resembles that of the  Samus-Seyminskaya culture, which originated in the area of the Altai Mountains, some 1,000 km to the south-east, and migrated to the Omsk area. The armour could have been a gift, or an exchange, or was perhaps the spoils of war.

Boris Konikov, the curator of excavations, said: ‘It is unique first of all because such armour was highly valued. It was more precious than life because it saved a life. 

‘Secondly, it was found in a settlement, and this has never happened before. There were found separate fragments in burials, like on Rostovka burial ground.’

Currently, the experts say they do not know which creature’s bones were used in making the armour. Found at a depth of 1.5 metres at a site of a sanatorium where there are now plans to build a five-star hotel, the armour is now undergoing cleaning and restoration.

‘We ourselves can not wait to see it, but at the moment it undergoing restoration, which is a long, painstaking process. As a result, we hope to reconstruct an exact copy’, Boris Konikov said. 

Scientist Yury Gerasimov, a research fellow of the Omsk branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, said: ‘While there is no indication that the place of discovery of the armour was a place of worship, it is very likely. Armour had great material value. There was no sense to dig it in the ground or hide it for a long time – because the fixings and the bones would be ruined.

‘Such armour needs constant care. At the moment we can only fantasise – who dug it into the ground and for what purpose. Was it some ritual or sacrifice? We do not know yet.’

Gerasimov, who is engaged in the restoration, said: ‘Each armour plate in the ground was divided into many small fragments, which are held only by this ground. The structure was removed from the excavation, in ‘monolith’ as archaeologists say – namely, intact with the piece of ground, not in separate plates, and taken to the museum. 

‘Now we need to clean these small fragments of bone plates, make photographs and sketches of their location, and then glue them in a full plate.’

He is certain that the armour belonged to a ‘hero’, an ‘elite warrior who knew special methods of battle’ and would have ‘given good protection from weapons that were used at the time – bone and stone arrowheads, bronze knives, spears tipped with bronze, and bronze axes’. 

Lots to do – Siberian archaeologists have months to assemble parts of the armour together. Pictures: Maria Savilovitch, Yuri Gerasimov

The archaeological site where the armour was found includes a complex of monuments belonging to different epochs. There are settlements, burial grounds, and manufacturing sites. Burials have been found here from the  Early Neolithic period to the Middle Ages. 

The site, beside the Irtysh River, is now owned by Popov Omsk Radio Factory which has supported the archaeological research.

Konikov, who worked on the site as a researcher for many years and is now a representative of the plant, supervising the excavations, said: ‘Our goal is to save the site, to research it and to promote it. 

‘We organise excursions for schoolchildren and draw the attention of citizens to this unique site.’

Archaeologists Find A 2,500-Year-Old Grave In Siberia That Contains An Ancient Warrior Couple

Archaeologists Find A 2,500-Year-Old Grave In Siberia That Contains An Ancient Warrior Couple

On an investigation to a 2,500-year-year-old tomb of an ancient warrior and princess was discovered in Siberia. The pair are believed to have died in their 30s and were buried with a baby and an ‘elderly’ servant woman, archaeologists say.

The woman may have been 60 years of age when she died, as she died and was entombed in a crumpled position under the feet of the couple, who may have been spouses.

Remains of the child were scattered throughout the grave, which archaeologists say probably happened when rodents ate the flesh of the deceased. 

Experts unearthing the find in southern Siberia say the four people probably succumbed simultaneously to the same infection, and the servant was buried alongside them to look after the family in the afterlife. 

The warrior couple, the woman specifically, maybe proof of the lost Scythian civilisation, which inhabited the region of modern-day Russia until 2,200 years ago.

The pair are believed to have died in their 30s and were buried with a baby and an ‘elderly’ servant woman, archaeologists say. The elderly woman was likely in her 60s when she died. The bones of the child were scattered throughout the grave, probably by rodents

The fighter woman in the grave was buried with the same weaponry as the man, the researchers say, which is unusual.  In surviving records and other graves from the same time frame and location, female warriors were buried with a bow and arrows, long-range weapons, 

But the woman in the newly unearthed grave was armed with a long-handled weapon, either a hatchet or an axe, and a short sword. These weapons are best suited for hand-to-hand combat and a bloody melee and this difference is indicative of the Scythian culture, researchers say.   

Dr Oleg Mitko, head of Archeology at Novosibirsk State University, said: ‘We have an impressive set of weaponry. 

‘We found close fight weapons in a female grave, which is not so typical. The woman had a battle-axe.. so she was a part of warrior strata.’

Senior researcher Yuri Teterin said: ‘The man had two axes and two bronze daggers.

‘It is a brilliant burial in that there is an authentic bronze weaponry.’ The man also had a bronze mirror, the researchers say.

Wooden handles of the weapons have no survived millennia in soil, but the metallic elements have. The couple, the baby and servant, are from the Tagar culture, part of the Scythian civilisation, researchers believe. 

In contrast to other female warriors from ancient Siberia, the female in the grave was armed in with a long-handled weapon, either a hatchet or an axe, and a short sword. These weapons are best suited for hand-to-hand combat
The couple, the baby and servant, are from the Tagar culture, part of the Scythian civilisation, researchers believe

The older woman had two broken teeth and her possessions were only a broken comb and a small ceramic vessel, indicating she had little personal wealth.  

Larger ceramic vessels – believed to have been full of food – were also discovered which were filled with mutton and beef, researchers say. 

When they were buried 2,500 years ago, the grave goods and food would have been buried alongside the people because it was believed it helped people in the afterlife.

Scientists say there is no immediate evidence of battle wounds to suggest a cause of death, but further research will be undertaken.

One theory is that they succumbed to an infection at the same time, leading to them all being buried simultaneously. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus left a detailed account of the Scythians and their young women warriors.

But physician Hippocrates added that a young woman would cease her role as a fighter after ‘she takes to herself a husband’.

‘They do not lay aside their virginity until they have killed three of their enemies, and they do not marry before they have performed the traditional sacred rites.’

‘Yet in this case, the woman warrior appears part of a family unit.

Archaeologist Anatoly Vybornov said: ‘Both male and women took part in hostilities. Violence was an acceptable and legal way to solve the problems then.’ 

World Oldest DNA Discovered in 1.2 Million Year Old Mammoth Teeth

World Oldest DNA Discovered in 1.2 Million Year Old Mammoth Teeth

As part of a study that uncovers new information about extinct animals, scientists have discovered the oldest DNA on record, extracting it from the molars of mammoths that roamed northeastern Siberia up to 1.2 million years ago 

Scientists announced on Wednesday that they have successfully retrieved and sequenced DNA from three different mammoths— elephant cousins that were among the large mammals that dominated Ice Age landscapes — entombed in permafrost conditions conducive to the preservation of ancient genetic material.

While the remains were discovered starting in the 1970s, new scientific methods were needed to extract the DNA.

An artist’s reconstruction shows the extinct steppe mammoth, an evolutionary predecessor to the woolly mammoth that flourished during the last Ice Age.

The oldest of the three, discovered near the Krestovka river, was approximately 1.2 million years old. Another, from near the Adycha river, was approximately 1 to 1.2 million years old. The third, from near the Chukochya river, was roughly700,000 years old.

“This is by a wide margin the oldest DNA ever recovered,” said evolutionary geneticist Love Dalén of the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Sweden, who led the research published in the journal Nature.

Until now, the oldest DNA came from a horse that lived in Canada’s Yukon territory about 700,000 years ago. By way of comparison, our species, Homo sapiens, first appeared roughly 300,000 years ago.

DNA is the self-replicating material that carries genetic information in living organisms — sort of a blueprint of life. “This DNA was extremely degraded into very small pieces, and so we had to sequence many billions of ultra-short DNA sequences in order to puzzle these genomes together,” Dalén said.

Most knowledge about prehistoric creatures comes from studying skeletal fossils, but there is a limit to what these can tell about an organism, particularly relating to genetic relationships and traits.

Ancient DNA can help fill in the blanks but is highly perishable. Sophisticated new research techniques are enabling scientists to recover ever-older DNA.

“It would be a wild guess, but a maximum of two to three million years should be doable,” Dalén said.

That could shed light on some bygone species but would leave many others unattainable — including the dinosaurs, who went extinct 66 million years ago.

World Oldest DNA Discovered in 1.2 Million Year Old Mammoth Teeth
Palaeontologists Love Dalén and Patricia Pecnerova with a mammoth tusk on Wrangel Island, Arctic Ocean.

“When we can get DNA on a million-year time scale, we can study the process of speciation (formation of new species) in a much more detailed way. Morphological analyses on bones and teeth usually only allow researchers to study a handful of characteristics in the fossils, whereas with genomics we are analysing many tens of thousands of characteristics,” Dalén said.

The researchers gained insights into mammoth evolution and migration by comparing the DNA to that of mammoths that lived more recently. The last mammoths disappeared roughly 4,000 years ago.

The oldest of the three specimens, the Krestovka mammoth, belonged to a previously unknown genetic lineage that more than 2 million years ago diverged from the lineage that led to the well-known woolly mammoth.

Geneticist Tom van der Valk of SciLife Lab in Sweden, the study’s first author, said it appears that members of the Krestovka lineage were the first mammoths to migrate from Siberia into North America over a now-disappeared land bridge about 1.5 million years ago, with woolly mammoths later migrating about 400,000 to 500,000 years ago.

The Adycha mammoth’s lineage apparently was ancestral to the woolly mammoth, they found, and the Chukochya individual is one of the oldest-known woolly mammoth specimens.

DNA analyses showed that genetic variants associated with enduring frigid climes such as hair growth, thermoregulation, fat deposits, cold tolerance and circadian rhythms were present long before the origin of the woolly mammoth.

Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world

Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world

Using a celestial phenomenon, archaeologists are probing a mysterious structure buried deep underground in Russia. The structure could be one of the world’s oldest Christian churches, according to a new study.

The unknown structure sits in the northwestern part of the fortress of Naryn-Kala, a fortification in Derbent that dates to around A.D. 300.

The 36-foot-deep (11 meters) cross-shaped structure is almost completely hidden underground, save for a bit of a half-destroyed dome on top. But because it’s a UNESCO cultural heritage site, the structure is protected and can’t be excavated — and its function remains largely debated. 

Scientists may have found one of the oldest Christian churches in the world
An unknown structure in the northwestern part of the fortress of Naryn-Kala could be one of the world’s oldest churches.

The structure may have served as a reservoir, a Christian church or a Zoroastrian fire temple, according to a statement from the MISIS National University of Science and Technology in Russia.

So, a group of researchers decided to harness a celestial phenomenon called cosmic rays to help them paint a picture of the structure, similar to how a group discovered a possible void in the Great Pyramid of Giza back in 2017. They call this method “muon radiography.”

Cosmic rays are a form of high-energy radiation that comes from an unknown source outside our solar system; they constantly rain down on Earth.

Though most of the rays crash into atoms in our planet’s upper atmosphere and don’t make it to the ground, some, called muon particles, are ejected from this collision and do hit Earth’s surface.

Muons travel through matter at nearly the speed of light. But as they travel through denser objects, they lose energy and decay. So, by calculating the number of muons travelling through various parts underground, researchers can paint a picture of an object’s density.

But for this method to work, the structure and the surrounding soil need to have at least a 5% difference in density, according to the study.

The researchers placed muon detectors about 33 feet (10 m) inside the mysterious structure and took measurements for two months. They found that the structure and surrounding soil do have enough of a density difference such that they could use this method to figure out the structure’s 3D shape.

3D-model of the underground room, obtained from the results of muon detection.
The fortress of Naryn-Kala in Derbent, Russia, dates back to around A.D. 300

The researchers don’t think the structure is an underground water tank, even though many historical sources refer to it as such. Rather, it might have been used for water storage in the 17th and 18th centuries, according to the statement.

“It seems very strange to me to interpret this building as a water tank,” co-author Natalia Polukhina, a physicist at the MISIS National University of Science and Technology, said in the statement. In the same fortress, scientists have identified another underground structure that really is a tank and is rectangular, she said. What’s more, during construction, the structure wasn’t buried but on the surface and was erected on the highest point of the fortress.

“What is the sense to put the tank on the surface, and even on the highest mountain?” she asked. “Currently, there are more questions than answers.”

This study wasn’t about making a new discovery but rather confirming that the method would reveal what the structure looked like. Next, the researchers hope to conduct an even more detailed analysis to create a full 3D image of the building, ultimately helping them to understand its purpose.

“The technique is very nice,” said Christopher Morris, a fellow of the Los Alamos National Laboratory who was not a part of the study. But “the only access [to the structure] seems to be from the void in the centre.” So they can only reconstruct it using data taken from a limited point of view, he added.

“I believe it is possible to reconstruct the buried structure,” if the group implements more detectors and gathers better data, Morris told Live Science. But “I do not know if this can reveal whether the structure is a church.”

Elk Teeth Offer Clues to Prehistoric Clothing in Russia

Elk Teeth Offer Clues to Prehistoric Clothing in Russia

According to a statement released by the University of Helsinki, archaeologist Kristiina Mannermaa and her colleagues analyzed more than 4,000 elk incisors recovered from 8,200-year-old graves on an island in northwestern Russia’s Lake Onega.

Many of the graves contain an abundance of objects and red ochre, signifying the wish to ensure the comfort of the buried also after death.

Pendants made of elk incisors were apparently attached to clothing and accessories, such as dresses, coats, cloaks, headdresses, and belts. Although no clothing material has been preserved, the location of the elk teeth sheds light on the possible type of these outfits.

Elk teeth, thousands of them, were used by the YOO people to make their unique elk teeth pendants.

A people of grooved elk tooth pendants

A study headed by archaeologist Kristiina Mannermaa aimed to determine who the people buried in outfits decorated with elk tooth ornaments were, and what the pendants meant to them.

The study analyzed the manufacturing technique of a total of more than 4,000 tooth ornaments or the way in which the teeth had been processed for attachment or suspension.

Elk Teeth Offer Clues to Prehistoric Clothing in Russia
Stone Age People’s Fascination With Elk Teeth Pendants Examined

The results were surprising, as practically all of the teeth had been processed identically by making one or more small grooves at the tip of the root, which made tying the pendants easier.

Only in two instances had a small hole been made in the tooth for threading, both of which were found in the grave of the same woman.

The tooth pendants found in graves located in the Baltic area and Scandinavia from the same period as the Yuzhniy Oleniy Ostrov graves are almost exclusively perforated. Perforation is the surest way of fastening the pendant, but making holes in the narrow tip of a tooth is more laborious than grooving.

The oldest artifact ever found in Eurasia is an elk tooth pendant. It was discovered in the Altai region of Russia in an Denisovan cave.

Archaeological and ethnographic research has shown that humans have been using decorations almost always and everywhere in the world, for several different purposes. To many indigenous peoples in Eurasia, including the Sámi communities, decorations have been and still are an important way of describing a person’s identity and origin.

They are not only aesthetic details but also connected to inter-community communication and the strengthening of intracommunity uniformity.

External elements such as ornaments can also influence the names which neighbouring groups use to refer to a community. In fact, Kristiina Mannermaa calls the people found in the burial site the people of grooved elk tooth pendants.

“Even though there are pendants made of beaver and bear teeth in the graves, the share of elk teeth in them is overwhelming,” Mannermaa says.

The highest number of elk teeth were found in the graves of young adult women and men, the lowest in those of children and elderly people. In other words, elk tooth ornaments were in one way or another linked to age, possibly specifically to the peak reproductive years.

Elk was the most important animal in the ideology and beliefs of the prehistorical hunter-gatherers of the Eurasian forest zone, and their limited availability made elk teeth a valuable material to ancient hunters.

Elks were not brought down very often, and not all members of the community contributed to hunting. It may be that a single individual was given all of the incisors of a caught elk.

Elks have a total of eight incisors, six permanent ones in the lower jaw, and two permanent canines in the shape of incisors. At times, corresponding deciduous teeth were also processed into ornaments.

The largest ornaments required the teeth of at least 8 to 18 elks.

The study was published in the Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences series. In addition to Mannermaa, Riitta Rainio from the University of Helsinki as well as Evgeniy Yurievich Girya, and Dmitriy Gerasimov from Peter the Great’s Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography contributed to the study.

Prehistoric people developed a technique for making a play dough-like material from mammoth ivory

Prehistoric people developed a technique for making a play dough-like material from mammoth ivory

It is stated in The Siberian Times that Evgeny Artemyev of the Russian Academy of Sciences has studied 12,000-year-old archaeological objects that have been found some 20 years ago at the Afontova Gora-2 archaeological site, which is situated on the banks of the Yenisei River in south-central Siberia.

The items include objects made from the spongey parts of woolly mammoth bones.

The finds were made in early 2000 but were re-examined recently by Dr Evgeny Artemyev who said that the figurines can be either Ice Age toys made by people who populated this area of the modern-day Siberia, or a form of primaeval art. 

‘When you look at them at different angles, they resemble different types of animals. 

‘It is possible that this is the new form of Palaeolithic art, that the international scientific community is not aware of yet’, the archaeologist said. 

The two prehistoric figurines appear similar to a bear and a mammoth, says Dr Artemyev, who has worked at the site since the 1990s. 

Looked at from another angle, one of the figurines maybe a sleeping human.

The ivory bars, some of them phallic-shaped, discovered at the same site were created with a technique which made them almost ‘fluid-like’. 

‘The mammoth tusk was softened to the extent that it resembled modern-day playdough. We don’t know yet how ancient people achieved that’, Dr Artemyev said. 

‘On the items, we can see traces of stone implements and the flows of the substance before it stiffened. This means that the tusk was softened significantly, the consistency was viscous. 

‘Most likely it was not for the entire tusk, but its upper part which was processed’, explained Artemyev. 

Dr Evgeny Artemyev and Afontova Gora-2 archeological site in Krasnoyarsk.

The archaeologist said that he didn’t come across similar finds on other Palaeolithic sites.

‘Perhaps we don’t get to see reports about such finds because scientific teams rarely publish about items that can’t be properly explained. These elongated ivory bars could be blanks prepared to make making implements, or tools, or future toys – or anything else, we can only guess’, Dr Artemyev said. 

While scientists can’t yet fathom why these shapes were made, the ‘playdough’ crafting technique helps them realise that these ancient people had much greater skills than they have imagined.

‘We tend to think of them as more primitive than they were. Yet they had technologies we cannot properly understand and describe, such as this softening of the tusks’, the archaeologist said. 

Scientists uncover 20,000-year-old Ice Age woolly rhino in Russia

Scientists uncover 20,000-year-old Ice Age woolly rhino in Russia

During a search in Russia’s permafrost, an animal dating back at least 20,000 years was discovered and it is over 80% preserved and straight-up wild to see. The woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) was once a common species throughout Europe and Northern Asia.

On average, they were between 9.8 to 12.5 ft from head to tail and would weigh between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds once fully grown. Their closest living genetic relative is the Sumatran rhinoceros but looking at a picture of them they almost appear as if a unicorn made babies with an American buffalo.

These Wooly Rhinos had two horns, one big and one small(er). The bigger horn would measure up to 4.6 feet and the horn itself would weigh over 33 pounds.

As you can tell, I’m learning all of this on the fly because I’ve only ever heard of this species once before today. It’s not like this is one of those animals they taught us about in elementary school.

Well, according to the Siberian Times, archaeologists found a juvenile (estimate 3 to 5 years old) wooly rhino ‘in permafrost deposits by river Tirekhtyakh in the Abyisky ulus (district) of the Republic of Sakha.’ I did a quick search on Google Maps of that location and it’s in eastern Russia almost straight north of North Korea.

It is a little grizzly. After all, it’s a 20,000+ year old animal and not a newborn bunny. But it’s crazy to see how intact it is:

Scientists uncover 20,000-year-old Ice Age woolly rhino in Russia
It is the best preserved to date juvenile woolly rhino ever found in Yakutia, with a lot of its internal organs – including its teeth, part of the intestines, a lump of fat and tissues – kept intact for thousands of years in permafrost

The juvenile rhino with thick hazel-colored hair and the horn, found next to the carcass was discovered in the middle of August in permafrost deposits by river Tirekhtyakh in the Abyisky ulus (district) of the Republic of Sakha.

The sensational discovery is still in the Arctic Yakutia waiting for ice roads to form so that it can be delivered to scientists in the republic’s capital Yakutsk.

It is the best-preserved to date juvenile woolly rhino ever found in Yakutia, with a lot of its internal organs – including its teeth, part of the intestines, a lump of fat and tissues – kept intact for thousands of years in permafrost.

‘The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when it died, most likely by drowning’, said Dr. Valery Plotnikov from the Academy of Sciences who has been to the discovery site and made the first description of the find.

‘The gender of the animal is still unknown. We are waiting for the radiocarbon analyses to define when it lived, the most likely range of dates is between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago.

The rhino has a very thick short underfur, very likely it died in summer’, Dr. Plotnikov said. (via Siberian Times)

It’s absolutely wild that its last meal was intact in its stomach too. They are waiting on analysis of the contents from the rhino’s stomach and internal organs to try and determine what exactly it was eating.

Despite its awesome horns that I would’ve assumed was for picking up monkeys out of trees, the woolly rhinoceros primarily ate grass and sedges. Due to their massive sizes, they had to eat A LOT of grass to sustain themselves which wasn’t exactly easy during an ice age.

To read more about this fascinating discovery, you can head on over to the Siberian Times which has a lot of information about this discovery along with a few other rare discoveries from this year including two extinct cave lion cubs.