A couple Yukon miners have struck woolly mammoth. The miners discovered the archaeological remains of the now extinct enormous creatures.
According to White Horse Star, the place miners uncovered the skeletons near a mine in the Indian River area. Miner Trey Charlie helped make the discovery with the Little Flake Mining Camp. Parker Schnabel of “Gold Rush” fame also owns the mining company. The find happened on May 27th.
Partial skeletons are common. But according to the outlet, it’s rare to find skeletons with the bones still intact, much less in the same area. Yukon paleontologist Grant Zazula initially believed the bones to belong to a mammoth and her offspring. But now, they believe the bones belong to between three to five woolly mammoths in total.
“You never find a complete skeleton, so finding two partial skeletons, they probably died together,” he said. “That is super-exciting. It can lead to all kinds of questions. We have all this material now, and now it is basically a detective story to determine what was going on.”
Paleontologists Investigate Woolly Mammoths
The Yukon paleontologists plan to investigate how the woolly mammoths died. To solve their death, would be solving a million-year-old mystery. And it’s going to take a national effort as a result. Zazula will send samples from the woolly mammoths to a DNA lab at McMaster University in Canada. The samples will then go to the University of California to determine their age.
But the paleontologist has theorized the woolly mammoths died 30,000 years ago. They also found volcanic ash near the bones. The University of Alberta will determine how old the ash is to better pin down a certain date on the bones.
Paleontologists also plan to investigate the woolly mammoth bones to determine if they could have been attacked by predators. Bones include a leg bone, pelvis, and jaw bone. But there may be even more out there, waiting to be discovered.
“I suspect there is more at the site still frozen in the mud,” he said. Woolly Mammoths crossed the Bering Sea land bridge around one million years ago. They crossed over into the Yukon area. Currently, the oldest fossil in North America dates back to this time period.
So when did the animals go extinct? Well, paleontologists believe that woolly mammoths went the way of the dodo bird about 11,000 years ago in Yukon. Elsewhere, they could have survived up to 4,000 years ago in Siberia for instance. But all that’s left now is fossils to find.
Currently, Yukon plans to debut the bones to the public at some point this summer. Visitors can view the latest archaeological discovery.
“So it should be a really good summer with a lot of really great stuff,” he said.