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39,000-year-old wooly mammoth Yuka to go on show in Moscow

October 28, 2014, 21:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The mammoth carcass has been brought to Moscow from Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok in a special movable cryo chamber
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Wooly mammoth Yuka

Wooly mammoth Yuka

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. A young wooly mammoth known as Yuka will go on show to the public in Moscow from October 31 to November 6 as part of the first festival of the Russian Geographic Society.

The sarcophagus with the mummified mammoth was placed on Tuesday near the entrance to the Central House of Artists in central Moscow. The mammoth carcass has been brought to Moscow from Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok in a special movable cryo chamber with a temperature of minus 18 degrees Centigrade inside. Upon arrival at its destination, the mammoth was placed in a special freezer sarcophagus measuring 5x4x3 metres with big windows to allow visitors to see details of Yuka’s well-preserved body.

The three-metre long female mammoth is thought to have lived 39,000 years ago. She was discovered in the Siberian permafrost in 2010 and was between six to eleven years old when she died. The mammoth takes her name from the Yakutian village of Yukagir on the Laptev Sea coastline, where her perfectly preserved body was found by local tusk hunters.

Whereas mammoth bones have been found in abundance before, Yuka is unique for being an almost complete carcass A long straight cut stretching from the head to the centre of the back and a serrated opening on the right flank suggest that this skillful butchery could have been done by a primitive saw-like tool rather than by a predator.

From her “domicile” in Yakutsk, Yuka, a real treasure for researchers, has already been taken to Japan and Taiwan for public display. Far Eastern Vladivostok was the only Russian city that can boast of seeing Yuka.

Mammoths roamed the Earth when the Ice Age set in to go extinct some 4,000 years ago. They were around twice the size and weight of today's elephants, reaching 5.5 metres in height and weighing up to 12 tonnes. Mammoth fossils are occasionally discovered in the Siberian permafrost. The most widely known finds are baby mammoth Dima found in 1977 in the Far Eastern Magadan region, and baby mammoth Lyuba found in 2007 in Siberia’s Yamal peninsula.

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