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Siberian Scientists Found 30,000-Year-Old Baby Horse Under Permafrost

When you become world-famous after 30,000 years…

Image: Michil Yakovlev/Siberian Times

“This is the first find in the world of a prehistoric horse of such a young age and with such an amazing level of preservation.”

Long time ago between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago, this baby horse was born in the northern Siberia, he lived for approximately three months, and died of an unknown cause. His short horse life ended quickly, but the young horse has now earned fame in his afterlife as it has become one of the most preserved specimens of a prehistoric equine ever discovered reports Siberian Times.

Image: Michil Yakovlev/The Siberian Times

His remains were found this summer during a joint Russian-Japanese scientific expedition to Batagaika crater, a kilometer-long scar on the Yakutian landscape.

Locals in the remote Yakutia region see this spectacular crater as superstitious, and know it as the ‘gateway to the underworld’. In fact, the depression was caused by the Soviets, who cleared forest here, but it is now being enlarged and shaped by climate change, according to local scientists.

The Batagai depression

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

While it’s definitely ominous that this area has collapsed due to human activities, it is also a boon to scientists like Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk. Grigoryev is part of the team examining the intact foal, which belonged to an extinct species called the Lenskaya horse.

Image: Michil Yakovlev/The Siberian Times

“This is the first find in the world of a prehistoric horse of such a young age and with such an amazing level of preservation,” Grigoryev told the Siberian Times. “The extra value of the unique find is that we obtained samples of soil layers where it was preserved, which means we will be able to restore a picture of the foal’s environment.”

Permafrost provides an excellent environment for preservation, as demonstrated by the fine details that are easily observable on this specimen—its mane, tail, hooves, and even its internal organs.

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