PHOTOS: 42,000-year-old mummified mammoth found

According to the Guardian, this preserved baby mammoth was discovered in the Yamal Peninsula in Russia in 2007 by reindeer herder Yuri Khudi. Khudi and his sons found the mammoth while searching for wood along the frozen Yuribei River. The mammoth was named after Khudi’s wife, Lyuba, which is Russian for “love.”

Lyuba arrived in London Monday for a display at the Natural History Museum.


Lyuba, the world’s most complete mammoth, before going on display at London’s Natural History Museum on May 19. (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Lyuba is 51 inches tall, weighs 110 pounds and is believed to have died 42,000 years ago. The BBC reports:

Lyuba was found to have clay in her trunk, leading scientists to believe she suffocated on it while getting water. She is believed to have been discovered after her snowy grave thawed out during the spring and her remains washed up on a river bank.


Lyuba comes to England. (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

The Guardian reports:

Scientists have already learned much from Lyuba. Work on her stomach contents found a congealed, brownish-white substance that turned out to be her mother’s milk. More mysterious, given that her teeth had not come into use, was the presence of chewed grass. She may have eaten her mother’s dung to acquire the gut microbes needed to digest celluose.

The BBC reports that scientists regard Lyuba as the most fully preserved mammoth ever found. According to the BBC:

Her only defect was the tail which has been gnawed off by animals.

Her body looks slightly deflated, which Prof [Adrian] Lister explains is from her effectively being mummified under the weight of all that ice for so long. Traces of the blue, powdery mineral vivianite, which is commonly found on fossils, can be seen on her body.


Lyuba and research leader Adrian Lister. (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

Lyuba will be on display at the Natural History Museum in London from May 23 until September 7.

 

Nick Kirkpatrick is a digital photo editor at The Washington Post. Follow him on Instagram or on Twitter.
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