Mummified baby woolly mammoth found by Canadian gold miners

'Beautiful' calf which still had its skin and hair was named Nun cho ga, meaning 'big baby animal'

An almost complete baby woolly mammoth, given the name Nun cho ga, was found in Eureka Creek, near Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. AFP
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The almost complete mummified remains of a baby woolly mammoth have been found by miners in the gold fields of Canada's far north.

The calf was named Nun cho ga — meaning “big baby animal” — by members of the local Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation.

Paleontologist Grant Zazula said the mammoth, its skin and hair intact, “is beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified ice age animals ever discovered in the world”.

“I am excited to get to know her more,” he said in a statement.

The mammoth's remains were discovered in the Klondike gold fields during excavation through permafrost south of Dawson City in Canada's Yukon territory, which borders the US state of Alaska.

The animal is believed to be female and would have died during the ice age, more than 30,000 years ago, when woolly mammoths roamed the region alongside wild horses, cave lions and giant steppe bison.

The discovery marks the first near complete and best-preserved mummified woolly mammoth found in North America.

A partial mammoth calf, named Effie, was found in 1948 at a gold mine in Alaska's interior.

A 42,000-year-old mummified infant woolly mammoth, known as Lyuba, was discovered in Siberia in 2007. Lyuba and Nun cho ga are roughly the same size, according to the Yukon government.

It said Yukon has “a world-renowned fossil record of Ice Age animals, but mummified remains with skin and hair are rarely unearthed”.

Updated: June 26, 2022, 7:13 AM