Defrosting a woolly rhino (and its last supper).

Siberian Times has breaking news from practically before modern humans existed, when a baby woolly rhino got frozen in the permafrost layer that’s only melting now:

The juvenile rhino with thick hazel-coloured 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.

Photos at the link.