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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Perfectly Preserved Ice Age Fossils That Shocked The World

Fossils tend to appear in petrified or in mineral-like forms. But some fossils can appear more lifelike as if they are just taxidermied animals of yesterday. The harsh climate of the Arctic regions where permafrost are bound is a perfect place for Ice Age wildlife to be preserved well after death. In the permafrost, the Ice Age animals seem to be in suspended animation.

The Ice Age Pup
Permafrost Fossil, Ice Age Extinct Pup Perfectly Preserved
Image Credits: Metro
Dogs and wolves have common ancestors. These creatures have been man's sworn best friend and companion since the Ice Age. The remarkable specimen discovered at the Yakutsk, Siberia in 2018 stirred a debate among paleontologists whether it is classified as a dog or wolf pup. There is a diversion between wolves and dogs near the end of the Ice Age 40,000-30,000 years ago. The specimen is so perfectly preserved that the milk teeth, furs, and paws of the pup are still intact.

Lyuba the Baby Mammoth
Permafrost Fossil, Ice Age Mammoth Perfectly Preserved
Image: Independent
Mammoths are the quintessential Ice Age mammals. Huge, imposing, and woolly, they represent the bygone Pleistocene megafauna. There were only a few cases of a perfectly preserved animal of this class and size until in 2007 when a reindeer herder found her body in the Northwest of Siberia. The specimen named Lyuba(literally means 'dear' or any term for endearment in Slavic/Yiddish) is a marvel in the scientific community. The specimen is so well preserved that scientists even analyzed what she had for the last meal, it was her mother's dung and milk. 

Siberian Baby Foal
Permafrost Fossil, Ice Age Foal Perfectly Preserved
Image: Associated Press
Horses have been one of man's greatest companions in shaping or breaking of empires and industries. After all, a unit of energy is even called horsepower. Before the rise of empires and the use of horses in warfare, these creatures are diminutive grazers of the Ice Age. One of the most perfectly preserved Ice Age horses is found intact in the Siberian permafrost of Batagaika Crater, Siberia. 
Cave Lion Cubs
Permafrost Fossil, Ice Age Cave Lion Perfectly Preserved
Image: DailyMail
Cave lions are the fallen kings of the Ice Age. They did not survive and see the light of the Holocene epoch or the period succeeding Ice Age. Like the aforementioned Ice Age pup, the specimens named Uyan and Dina were also found in Yakutsk Siberia, a place known for its expansive permafrosts. Like the pup, these specimens are also perfectly preserved, the paws and ever whiskers are still intact. The specimens are estimated to be around 12,000-10,000 years old.

The Ice Age Bison
Permafrost Fossil, Ice Age Bison Perfectly Preserved
Image: UA Museum of the North
The case of Blue Babe, the steppe bison, is the most unique in this list. The preceding animals were all found in the Siberian permafrost; Blue Babe on the other hand, was found in Alaska. The specimen of Blue Babe is so well preserved that its piece of flesh was even served as a stew in one dinner. Radiocarbon dating also suggests that Blue Babe died around 50,000 years ago. Back in 1984, the discovery of Blue Babe is big news among the scientific community and even on the general public. 

There is an overlooked downside of the melting of the permafrost regions in the Arctic. It is the resurrection of microbes frozen for thousands of years that man did not yet develop immunity to. Global warming also brought the thawing of permafrost and glaciers on a massive scale. These perfectly preserved fossils might induce awe to all the people who have seen the images of perfectly preserved creatures from the Ice Age, but it can also be considered as a sign of times. 

Copyright of IFY Books

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