Researchers at Japan's Jikei University will soon be checking the mailbox for a cool package from Siberia -- the recently discovered frozen body of an ancient baby mammoth. The nearly complete body of the female calf, said to be one of the best-preserved specimens of frozen mammoth ever discovered, is estimated to have been less than one year old before it was preserved in ice about 10,000 years ago.
According to the Russian Tass news agency, a reindeer herder stumbled upon the 130 cm (4 ft 3 in) tall, 50 kg (110 lbs) frozen mammoth in May in an area of permafrost in northwestern Siberia, near the Yuribey River on the Yamal Peninsula, which extends into the Kara Sea. The mammoth, whose trunk and eyes remain intact and which still has some fur on its body, was shown to an international panel of experts that convened on July 5 in the town of Salekhard, near the discovery site.
Preparations are now being made to ship the baby mammoth to Jikei University School of Medicine, where researchers will use advanced computed tomography (CT) scanners to obtain three-dimensional images of its internal organs. "This is the first opportunity for anyone to perform an analysis on a complete mammoth body," says Jikei University professor Naoki Suzuki, "and it should provide a more complete picture of its anatomy and how it lived."