Russian Boy Finds Wooly Mammoth

A drawing of a wooly mammoth. The animals went extinct some 10,000 years ago.
Corbis
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The 11-year-old found the best preserved wooly mammoth in more than a century.

An 11-year-old boy from Russia's north has stumbled upon a well-preserved wooly mammoth, in what scientists describe as the best such discovery since 1901.

Yevgeny Salinder, whose family lives near a polar station in the northern Taimyr Peninsula, discovered the frozen animal when he was strolling along the banks of the Yenisei River in late August.

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"He sensed an unpleasant odor and saw something sticking out of the ground -- it was the mammoth's heels," said Alexei Tikhonov, director of the Saint Petersburg-based Zoological Museum, who rushed to the tundra after the boy's family had notified scientists of the historic find.

Tikhonov said the mammoth had died aged 15-16 around 30,000 years ago, adding his tusk, skin, an eye and an ear were clearly visible.

"His one-meter-long penis is also intact so we can conclude that this was a male," Tikhonov said.

Tikhonov said it was the best preserved adult mammoth discovered in more than 100 years.

"So far we can say it is the mammoth of the century," Tikhonov said.

It took scientists five days to dig out the animal which was then transported to the northern city of Dudinka.

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