“She’s 42,000 years old and has travelled far for her Australian debut,” says the author of the book. So she had to be extricated from Siberia, where she had been buried for so many years in frozen muck. When she arrived at the Australian Museum, she had been put inside an airtight container and flown to a humidity-controlled cube.
Mammoths – Giants of the ice age
Mammoths – Giants of the Ice Age, a new exhibition at the Australian Museum, opens on 17 November 2017.
This is the world’s most complete and best-preserved woolly mammoth, and it’s been delivered to Sydney. Her skin and internal organs are in perfect shape. Even her mother’s milk was discovered in her stomach.
As the highlight of the museum’s Mammoths – Giants Of The Ice Age display, we’ll finally get a look at her.
A national treasure, Lyuba, who died at 35 days old, is one of Russia’s most prized possessions. Es is her first journey to South America and the sixth time Shemanovsky Museum has let her out of its confines.
Siberian reindeer herder Yuri Khudi first saw the mammoth in 2007 as the frost melted on the Yuribey River.
A team of scientists was sent to get her, but she was already gone. Someone else had gotten there before him. In Siberia’s freezing wilderness, the crew found her in a hamlet far away from civilization. On the door of a business, she was leaning against the wall. Two snowmobiles and a year’s supply of food were purchased by the shopkeeper from Mr. Khudi’s relative.
Then a dog came up and bit off the dog’s tail and ear.” Trevor Ahearn, the Australian Museum’s artistic producer, adds, “If just for that, she would be totally intact.”
Lyuba (lay-oo-bah) is a Russian word for love. Much like the mammoth herd would have protected her in life, the museum has opted to surround her with mammoth replicas.
Apparently, her feet were caught in some kind of hole on a Siberian riverside. The muck clogged Lyuba’s mouth and trunk before her mother could get her out.
In addition to the sediments and germs that caused her death, the mud also produced an acid barrier around her body, essentially pickling her. Als die Flussmündung überfroid, blieb sie in perfekter Zustand.
60 years of mammoth life would have allowed Lyuba to reach a height of more than three metres and a weight of five tonnes. Her body weight would have been maintained by consuming 180 kilos of grass and 80 litres of water a day, according to the study.
As early as 200,000 years ago, when the first Homo sapiens appeared in Africa, mammoths were living in the late Paleolithic period, which spanned from 10,000 BC to 200,000 BC. Having tiny ears and thick, woolly hair, mammoths were specially adapted to the harsh climate. In Europe, North America and Siberia, they wandered the countryside, eating grass and bark.
Lyuba is the first of her type to visit our shores, and it required a fair bit of “cultural diplomacy” on the part of the Australian Museum to bring her here. Shemanovsky Museum and the Russian government were involved in negotiations.
One of the first things we had to do before bringing Lyuba here was assuring our Russian colleagues that there would be no chance of her being kidnapped because of a dispute about who owns her.”
Her affiliation with an oil corporation, which helped bring her to the museum, makes her a bit contentious in Russia. Paranoia, I think. So, I don’t know whether this is true. Lots of myths exist. It’s all extremely murky.”
The prospect of mammoth cloning
About 10,000 years ago, mammoths were extinct, according to two conflicting ideas. Each has something to say about the current environment, and possibly a message about why we shouldn’t be attempting to bring mammoths back.
In the first place, there is a hypothesis about climate change. It’s possible that the end of the ice age, around 10,000 BC, limited the region in which these cold-climate creatures could thrive.
Deuxièmement, il y a sur-hunting. For early people, mammoths, with their tonnes of fat, would have been a significant food source. Researchers believe the mammoth is the first animal humans has managed to wipe out.
Mammoth cloning has always captured the public’s fascination.
About 70 percent of mammoth DNA has been sequenced, so the basic material is not there yet. David Alquezar, manager of the Australian Museum’s genetics lab, argues that even if we could, we shouldn’t.
“The money to accomplish that may be better invested in species that are endangered right now,” says Dr. Alquezar.