London’s Natural History Museum recently unveiled its newest exhibition and it has quickly become the most popular. A mummified baby mammoth is now on display at the museum and it is almost perfectly preserved.
The baby mammoth is over 42,000 years old and was discovered by a Siberian deer herder in 2007. The specimen is in such amazing condition that its small milk tusks can even be seen. The female mammoth has been named Lyuba.
Before Lyuba went on display at the museum she was studied by scientists and paleontologists. The scientists found clay in the mammoth’s trunk and determined that she may have suffocated when she accidentally inhaled the clay while trying to get a drink of water from a watering hole.
Visitors to the museum may not appreciate the mammoth’s condition as much as scientists. At first glance the mammoth looks more like a baby elephant and its body is deflated. When the mammoth was alive it would have had hair that would have kept it warm in the cold climate. The hair has since decomposed, exposing the mammoth’s leathery skin.
The mummified mammoth is in almost perfect condition. The only part of the mammoth that is missing is her tail. Scientists believe that it was likely gnawed off by animals after she died or possibly even after she had thawed out.
Scientists are extremely excited about the mammoth.
So excited that Lyuba the baby mammoth is going on display in London at the NHM! http://t.co/WZqOyoG5YS
— MuseumNaturalHistory (@morethanadodo) May 20, 2014
Professor Lister, one of the scientists who studied the mammoth, said, “To see a three-dimensional mammoth in the flesh is absolutely extraordinary.”
“To be eyeball to eyeball with a creature from the Ice Age which is so perfectly preserved and lifelike, looking like she is lying down and might walk away at any minute, is really moving. I have to pinch myself to think she died 42,000 years ago.
“It’s wonderful to be able to share this with the public at the museum when she’s never been outside of Russia and Asia before. It’s really exciting and I’m sure others will be moved by seeing her.”
Lyuba will be on display at the Natural History Museum from Friday, May 23 until September 7, 2014.
Images via YouTube