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szdaily -> Kaleidoscope -> 
40,000-year-old tiny foal unearthed
    2018-08-27  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

AMAZING new pictures have been released of a foal taking its first bow after being frozen in the Siberian permafrost for up to 40,000 years.

The young horse — now believed to be around 2 months old — was revealed by scientists to the media in Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city.

It was dug from its icy grave in the Batagai depression or crater nicknamed the “Mouth of Hell” earlier this month.

The prehistoric foal — from a breed of horse now extinct — was found by scientists working on the remains of ancient woolly mammoths and hoping to bring the long-gone giants back to life using their DNA.

“The foal has no damage to its carcass, even its hair is preserved — which is incredibly rare for such ancient finds,” said Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk.

It’s height is 9.3 hands.

“This was called the Lenskaya, or Lena horse [Equus lenensis], genetically different from those living in Yakutia now,” said the expert.

The modern-day Yakut horse is the hardiest in the world, surviving temperatures of minus 60 degrees Celsius in the blistering Siberian winters.

The earlier breed populated Yakutia between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago, he said.

“We’ll study content of its bowel to understand the foal’s diet. The autopsy will be carried out later,” said Grigoryev.

“The foal was completely preserved by permafrost.

“The extra value of the unique find is in that we obtained samples of soil layers where it was preserved, which means we will be able to restore picture of the foal’s environment.”

The animal probably died by falling into a “natural trap,” possibly drowning in a melting ice pool, said Grigory Savvinov, deputy head of Russia’s North-Eastern Federal University, according to the Siberian Times.

The brown foal was found during a Russian-Japanese paleontological expedition the Batagai depression in Verkhoyansky district between Aug. 9 and 14.

The young horse was buried at a level of around 30 meters in the tadpole-shaped depression, which is a “megaslump” one kilometer long and around 800 meters wide.

“The foal has completely preserved dark-brown hair, its tail and mane, as well as all internal organs,” he said.

“There are no visible wounds on its body.”

He added: “This is the first find in the world of a pre-historic horse of such a young age and with such an amazing level of preservation.”

Locals in the remote Yakutia region see this spectacular crater as superstitious, and call it the “gateway to the underworld.”

In fact, this gash in the tundra was caused by the Soviets, who cleared forest here, but it is now being enlarged and shaped by climate change, according to local scientists.

(SD-Agencies)

(SD-Agencies)

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