A baby woolly mammoth has been discovered for only the second time in history. The discovery, made by gold miners in Canada’s Yukon area, is the first of its sort in North America. The mummified body of a female baby mammoth was discovered on Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation grounds. This is a remarkable discovery for paleontologists as well as this First Nation.
The newborn mammoth was discovered by a miner while excavating through muck with a front loader. He had an epiphany and quickly came to a halt, summoning his supervisor. When his supervisor, Brian McCaughan of Treadstone Mining, discovered what he had done, he halted the process and summoned in the appropriate experts.
It was a day that Dr. Grant Zazula, the Yukon government’s paleontologist, would never forget. “As an ice age paleontologist, meeting a real woolly mammoth has been one of my lifetime goals.” “Today, that dream came true,” he said.
Other woolly mammoths have been unearthed in North America, but none are as well preserved as the one recovered in Yukon. Nun cho ga, which translates to “huge baby animal” in the Hän language of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in, is almost the same size as the baby mammoth Lyuba discovered in Siberia in 2007.
The Yukon Geological Survey and the University of Calgary geologists who unearthed the frozen mammoth from the location believe she is at least 30,000 years old. The grass found in Nun cho ga’s gut could reveal how she died. Dr. Zazula, who believes Nun cho ga was only 30 to 35 days old, speculates that the young mammoth may have wandered away from her mother while nibbling on some grass and become entangled in the mud.
“And that incident was very, very quick, from getting trapped in the mud to burial,” he said.
Nun cho ga is being praised because of her rediscovery, regardless of how she died. She was found from the mining site and brought to a special blessing ritual by a group of Tr’ondek Hwech’in elders. The body, wrapped in a tarp, was gradually shown to the group of scientists, miners, and local officials.
“It’s incredible. When they removed the covering, it took my breath away,” said Tr’ondk Hwch’in Elder Peggy Kormendy. “We must all treat it with dignity.” When that occurs, it will be powerful, and we will heal. As a people, we must.”
The Yukon Government and the Tr’ondk Hwch’in will collaborate in the coming months to learn more about Nun cho ga.
A miner in Yukon was working when his equipment discovered an astonishing find—a young woolly mammoth.
Nun cho ga, the mummified mammoth, was discovered on Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation grounds.
A special revealing and blessing ceremony was held in honor of the first infant woolly mammoth discovered in North America.