Miners in Canada have found a mummified, baby woolly mammoth that scientists believe was frozen during the Ice Age over 30,000 years ago, according to a news release from the Yukon government and Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation.
According to the release, the woolly mammoth was uncovered while miners were excavating through the permafrost on Tuesday, in Klondike gold fields within the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin traditional territory.
The baby was later identified to be a young, female woolly mammoth who died tens of thousands of years ago.
The mammoth calf was named Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal” in the Hän language, by Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Elders.
"It’s amazing. It took my breath away when they removed the tarp," Tr'ondëk Hwëch'in Elder Peggy Kormendy said in a statement. "We must all treat it with respect. When that happens, it is going to be powerful and we will heal. We must as a people."
Wow! This is the most complete mummified woolly mammoth ever found in North America. The preservation of this calf is remarkable! 🦣
The discovery has just been announced today.
It was found on June 21, 2021 in the Klondike gold fields, Yukon, Canada.
📸 by Willem Middelkoop. pic.twitter.com/McsFVK0Bep
— Dr Dean Lomax (@Dean_R_Lomax) June 24, 2022
The government news release also noted that Nun cho ga is the "first near complete and best-preserved mummified woolly mammoth found in North America." In 1948, another partial calf, Effie, was found in Alaska.
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"As an ice age palaeontologist, it has been one of my life long dreams to come face to face with a real woolly mammoth. That dream came true today," stated Dr. Grant Zazula, a paleontologist in Yukon. "Nun cho ga 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."
Woolly mammoth disappearance: Climate change, not humans, was reason woolly mammoths went extinct, research suggests
According to National Geographic, woolly mammoths roamed North America, Asia and Europe from about 300,000 years ago up until around 10,000 years ago – with others estimating they disappeared as recently as around 4,000 years ago. Their extinction has been commonly attributed to humans, but 2021 research suggests the species disappeared because of climate change.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Canada miners find mummified baby woolly mammoth from 30,000 years ago