15 Sep 2018

Mummified ice age wolf pup can offer 50,000 year insights

12:02 pm on 15 September 2018

The rare remains of an ice-age wolf pup and a caribou will offer insights about life in Canada's far north more than 50,000 years ago, scientists say.

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The mummified wolf pup was just a few weeks old when it died. Photo: Courtesy government of Yukon

The creatures were discovered with intact hair, skin, and muscle tissue.

They were found in 2016 by miners near Dawson City in the Yukon territory, and handed over to palaeontologists for research and analysis.

They are among the oldest mummified mammal soft tissue in the world, palaeontologist Grant Zazula said.

The wolf pup is estimated to have been about eight weeks old when it died.

"It's beautiful, the fur, it's got the cute little paws and tail and the curled upper lip showing its teeth. It's spectacular," Mr Zazula told the Canadian Press news agency on Thursday.

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The ice age caribou remains include the torso, head, and front limbs. Photo: Courtesy government of Yukon

Both specimens are currently on display in Dawson City and will eventually be sent to the Canadian Conservation Institute near Ottawa.

They are expected to help scientists understand how the animals lived in the environment they inhabited.

Other creatures that roamed the region from that era, such as the woolly mammoth and even a species of camel, are extinct. But distant descendents of both the wolf pup and caribou can still be found wandering the Yukon.


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