Monday, 10 November 2014

Mummified Bison Unearthed In Siberia

November 9, 2014

Chuck Bednar for – Your Universe Online

Researchers have uncovered the several thousand year old, mummified remains of an extinct species of bison in a region of eastern Siberia known as the Yana-Indigirka Lowland, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) in Berlin, Germany.

The mummy was a near-complete specimen of Steppe bison and was discovered by a team of experts led by Dr. Natalia Serduk of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The creature is reportedly 9,300 years old and has a complete brain, heart, blood vessels, digestive system and even intact fur, though the researchers explained that some of the organs have shrunk significantly over time. A necropsy of the animal found no obvious cause of death.

“Normally, what you find with the mummies of megafauna in North America or Siberia is partial carcasses. They’re partly eaten or destroyed because they’re lying in the permafrost for tens of thousands of years,” Olga Potapova of the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs in South Dakota told Live Science reporter Elizabeth Palermo. “But the mummy was preserved so well that it [earned] a record for the level of its preservation.”

According to Discovery News reporter Jennifer Viegas, the creature has been dubbed the ‘Yukagir bison mummy’ based on the region where it was discovered, and while the exact cause of its demise cannot be established, Dr. Serduk’s team believes that the lack of fat around its abdomen indicates the creature could have died from starvation.

“The exclusively good preservation of the Yukagir bison mummy allows direct anatomical comparisons with modern species of bison and cattle, as well as with extinct species of bison that were gone at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary,” Dr. Evgeny Maschenko of the Paleontological Institute in Moscow, one of the researchers involved in the project, said in a statement Thursday.

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