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Russian Geological Research Institute (VSEGEI)

FGBU VSEGEI Field Party found a skeleton of a mammoth in Taimyr

In 2019, in West Taimyr, during medium-scale geological survey in the Lenivenskaya area, employees of the Department of Regional Geology and Mineral Resources of East Regions of Russia, FGBU VSEGEI (geologists P.A. Gromov, D.N. Kostin and V.A. Saltanov (Fig. 1)), found and described in detail almost an entire large skeleton of a mammoth (70-75% of bone remains in their natural position).

The skeleton of the West Taimyr mammoth with preserved remains of tissue and hair was found in the Gusinaya River bed (74° 58'N). The radiocarbon age of the find is 12,870±110 calibrated years. Biological age ranges from 28 to 35 years. In West Taimyr, this is the first find of the skeleton of the mammoth Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach, 1799), preserved in permafrost. According to the Director of the Zoological Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ZIN RAS), Scientific Secretary of the RAS Committee for the Study of Mammoths and Mammoth Fauna A.N. Tikhonov, at this stage of research, this mammoth skeleton is a unique paleontological specimen in terms of scientific significance, geography of the find (74° 58'N), and its integrity.

Fig.1. West Taimyr mammoth Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach, 1799) in situ in the Gusinaya River bed (for scale: P.A. Gromov, D.N. Kostin and V.A. Saltanov)

Earlier, in 1948, the famous skeleton of the Taimyr mammoth was found by winterers S. Zhigarev and A. Korzhikov in Central Taimyr at an unnamed left tributary of the Shrenk River (in honor of this event, the tributary was named the Mammoth River). In 1949, an expedition of the Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences and Glavsevmorput under the leadership of Professor L.A. Portenko made exploratory digging, and the skeleton with the remains of muscles, skin and hair on it was taken to Leningrad. The Taimyr mammoth is about 11,500 years old (data from radiocarbon analysis). His skeleton is currently displayed at the ZIN RAS (St. Petersburg).

1. A.I. Popov. Taimyr mammoth. - Topics on Geography, Col. 23, 1950
2. L.A. Portenko, B.A. Tikhomirov, A.I. Popov. First results of excavations of the Taimyr mammoth and studying conditions of its occurrence. - Zool. Journal. V. 30. Issue 1, 1951
3. Popov A.I. The Taimyr mammoth and the problem of preserving remains of the mammoth fauna in Quaternary deposits of Siberia // Ice Age in the European part of the USSR and Siberia. M .: Publishing house of Moscow State University. 1959. Pp. 259-275


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