Animal mummies to yield clues on ice age

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Mummified wolf pupImage copyright
Courtesy Government of Yukon

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The wolf pup was just a few weeks old when it died

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.

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.

Image copyright
Courtesy Government of Yukon

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The caribou too had its hair intact

The caribou remains include the torso, head, and front limbs.

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 they lived in the environment they inhabited.

Other creatures who 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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