Woolly Mammoth Calf Discovered in Yukon Permafrost

by johnsmith

Nun cho ga is the most complete mummified mammoth found in North America.

Steppe mammoths. Image credit: Beth Zaiken / Centre for Palaeogenetics.

Steppe mammoths. Image credit: Beth Zaiken / Centre for Palaeogenetics.

The near complete, mummified baby mammoth was found on June 21, 2022 by miners working on Eureka Creek in the Klondike gold fields within Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Traditional Territory, Yukon, Canada.

Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Elders named the calf Nun cho ga, meaning ‘big baby animal’ in the Hän language.

The discovery marks the first near complete and best-preserved mummified woolly mammoth found in North America. A partial mammoth calf, named Effie, was found in 1948 at a gold mine in interior Alaska.

“As an Ice Age paleontologist, it has been one of my life long dreams to come face to face with a real woolly mammoth. That dream came true today,” said Yukon paleontologist Dr. Grant Zazula.

“Nun cho ga is beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified ice age animals ever discovered in the world. I am excited to get to know her more.”

Dr. Zazula and his colleagues from the Yukon Geological Survey and the University of Calgary suggest Nun cho ga was frozen in permafrost during the latest Ice Age, over 30,000 years ago.

“The Yukon has always been an internationally renowned leader for ice age and Beringia research,” said Yukon Minister of Tourism and Culture Ranj Pillai.

“We are thrilled about this significant discovery of a mummified woolly mammoth calf, Nun cho ga.”

“Without strong partnerships between placer miners, Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin, and the Yukon government, discoveries like this could not happen.”

Nun cho ga. Image credit: Government of Yukon / Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin.

Nun cho ga. Image credit: Government of Yukon / Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin.

“This is as a remarkable recovery for our First Nation, and we look forward to collaborating with the Yukon government on the next steps in the process for moving forward with these remains in a way that honors our traditions, culture, and laws,” said Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Chief Roberta Joseph.

“We are thankful for the Elders who have been guiding us so far and the name they provided.”

“We are committed to respectfully handling Nun cho ga as she has chosen now to reveal herself to all of us.”

“It’s amazing. It took my breath away when they removed the tarp,” said Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Elder Peggy Kormendy.

“We must all treat it with respect. When that happens, it is going to be powerful and we will heal. We must as a people.”

Source link: https://www.sci.news/paleontology/nun-cho-ga-woolly-mammoth-calf-10941.html

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