During a search in Russia’s permafrost, an animal dating back at least 20,000 years was discovered and it is over 80% preserved and straight-up wild to see. Coelodonta antiquitatis, sometimes known as the woolly rhinoceros, was formerly a widespread species in Northern Asia and Europe.
On average, they were between 9.8 to 12.5 ft from head to tail and would weigh between 4,000 and 6,000 pounds once fully grown. The Sumatran rhinoceros is their closest surviving genetic related, yet when you see a photo of them, it nearly looks like a unicorn and an American buffalo had a baby.
These Wooly Rhinos had two horns, one big and one small(er). The bigger horn would measure up to 4.6 feet and the horn itself would weigh over 33 pounds.
As you can see, I’ve only ever heard of this species once before today, so I’m learning everything on the spot. It’s not like this is one of the creatures our primary school teachers introduced us to.
Well, according to the Siberian Times, archaeologists found a juvenile (estimate 3 to 5 years old) wooly rhino ‘in permafrost deposits by river Tirekhtyakh in the Abyisky ulus (district) of the Republic of Sakha.’ I did a quick search on Google Maps of that location and it’s in eastern Russia almost straight north of North Korea.
It is a little grizzly. After all, it’s a 20,000+ year old animal and not a newborn bunny. But it’s crazy to see how intact it is:
The young rhino with the horn and thick, hazel-colored hair that was discovered close to the body in permafrost deposits by the river Tirekhtyakh in the Abyisky ulus (region) of the Republic of Sakha was found in the middle of August.
The sensational discovery is still in the Arctic Yakutia waiting for ice roads to form so that it can be delivered to scientists in the republic’s capital Yakutsk.
It is the best-preserved to date juvenile woolly rhino ever found in Yakutia, with a lot of its internal organs – including its teeth, part of the intestines, a lump of fat and tissues – kept intact for thousands of years in permafrost.
‘The young rhino was between three and four years old and lived separately from its mother when it died, most likely by drowning’, said Dr. Valery Plotnikov from the Academy of Sciences who has been to the discovery site and made the first description of the find.
‘The gender of the animal is still unknown. We are waiting for the radiocarbon analyses to define when it lived, the most likely range of dates is between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago.
The rhino has a very thick short underfur, very likely it died in summer’, Dr. Plotnikov said. (via Siberian Times)
It’s absolutely wild that its last meal was intact in its stomach too. To attempt and ascertain precisely what the rhino was consuming, they are awaiting study of the rhino’s stomach and internal organs.
The woolly rhinoceros mostly consumed grass and sedges despite having enormous horns that I would have believed were used for grabbing monkeys from trees.
Due to their massive sizes, they had to eat A LOT of grass to sustain themselves which wasn’t exactly easy during an ice age.
To read more about this fascinating discovery, you can head on over to the Siberian Times which has a lot of information about this discovery along with a few other rare discoveries from this year including two extinct cave lion cubs.