Tuesday 18 November 2014

9300 year old mummified Bison found in Siberia

A 9,300-year-old bison mummy was found in Siberia literally frozen in time, providing researchers with the rare opportunity to learn how this animal lived and died during the Ice Age.

Though the Yukagir bison mummy, as it's called, may have withered over time, the surprisingly well-
preserved carcass still has a full coat of fur and several major organs, including its brain, heart, blood
vessels and digestive system.

Many large charismatic mammals went extinct at the end of the Ice Age - approximately 11,000 years ago - including the Steppe bison (Bison priscus).

The steppe bison was a predecessor to modern bison species and could be found throughout the plains of Europe, Central Asia and North America, according to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre. Along with the woolly mammoth and small horse, it was one of the most common plains species of its time and lived from about 2 million years ago to around 10,000 years ago.

The bison mummy presented this week dates back 9,300 years, and was discovered in 2011 by members of the Yukagir tribe in the Yana-Indigirka Lowland of Eastern Siberia.

A necropsy of the unique mummy does not indicate any obvious cause of death, though the lack of fat around the abdomen suggests that starvation may have led to its demise. Next researchers plan to study its anatomy and histology in more detail to learn more about these Ice Age beasts.

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