Scientists Discover 80% Preserved 50k-Year-Old Woolly Rhino Remains With Its Last Meal Still Intact

Scientists Discover 80% Preserved 50k-Year-Old Woolly Rhino Remains With Its Last Meal Still Intact


Not long ago, scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University unearthed the perfectly preserved remains of a 40,000-year-old ice-age cave bear.

Well, Russian scientists have really been hard at work because they have just made another discovery—this time of a woolly rhino—yep, unlike current-day rhinos, there was a time they had fur just like many animals during the ice age.

You know, 2020 wasn’t all bad—science was making amazing discoveries, like this well preserved woolly rhino

Image credits: Valery Plotnikov

So, a juvenile woolly rhinoceros with a thick hazel-colored coat was found back in mid-August of 2020 trapped in permafrost by the Tirekhtyakh river in the Abyysky District of Yakutia, also known as the Republic of Sakha.

It is said to be the best-preserved juvenile woolly rhino ever found in Yakutia—estimated to be around 80 percent intact—complete with a lot of its internal organs, including parts of its intestines with traces of its last meal, a lump of fat and tissue, and even some teeth and a horn!

Yep, woolly rhinos were a thing thousands of years ago and one was found in melting Siberian permafrost

Image credits: Valery Plotnikov

While the rhino was first discovered by a local resident, Alexei Savvin, it was Dr. Valery Plotnikov of the Academy of Sciences of Yakutia to be the first of the science community to reach the site and to provide the first records of the preserved woolly rhino.

He has explained that the juvenile rhino was about 3 to 4 years old and seems to have lived separately from its mother when it died. It is speculated that it most likely died of drowning. The gender is unknown.

Scientists say the carcass is 80% preserved, which is a lot, and even has many of its internal parts intact

Image credits: Valery Plotnikov

While the science team is still waiting for further radiocarbon analyses, it’s guesstimating that the rhino carcass will quite likely be between 20,000 to 50,000 years old. The very thick fur and short underfur found on the rhino suggests that it most likely died during summertime.

At the moment, the discovery is awaiting the formation of ice roads in Arctic Yakutia so that it can be delivered to the science team in Yakutsk.

It is estimated that the newly found woolly rhino is between 20,000 and 50,000 years old

Image credits: Valery Plotnikov

Scientists identified this piece as the juvenile rhino’s horn

Image credits: Department for the Study of Mammoth Fauna of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

This isn’t the first woolly rhino to be found, though—and in fact, this one was found not too far from where the last one named Sasha was discovered back in 2014.

Sasha is a 34,000-year-old woolly rhino, and the pictures out there really show how cute and woolly it actually was with its light strawberry blond fur. It was determined that Sasha was 7 months old when it died.

Besides the horn and much of the organs, there were also a set of teeth found with the rhino

Image credits: Department for the Study of Mammoth Fauna of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

The rhino was found not far from another discovery from 2014—Sasha the woolly rhino

Image credits: Anastasia Loginova

The discovery has confirmed several things that scientists weren’t quite sure of, including the fact that woolly rhinos had very thick hair, which is something they could only judge from old rock paintings, and that they were hence fully adapted to the cold climate starting at a young age.

What are your thoughts on this? What is the most exciting discovery you made or read about last year? Let us know in the comment section below!

Check out the video of the discovery

Image credits: The Siberian Times

Was this helpful?

0 / 0

Leave a Reply