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Latest Research Findings

Yukagir Bison

Published on December 15, 2014 under Current Research
Yukagir Bison

(The Photo of the Yukagir Bison Frozen Mummy is by G. Boeskorov)

The Study of the Yukagir Bison

Recent research performed by the Mammoth Site staff and presented in November at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting in Berlin, Germany, was selected as a “featured” presentation among eight other papers, out of 900 submitted presentations.

The research was conducted on the most complete frozen mummy of the extinct species of the Steppe bison yet known, dated to 9,300 years before present, which was recently uncovered in the Yana-Indigirka Lowland in Eastern Siberia (northern Yakutia, Russia), literally, frozen in time. The Yukagir Bison mummy was found in a “sleeping pose” on the thawing slope of the lake. The whole body, including lips, ears, tail and external genitals, the parts that are usually eaten first by predators and scavengers, was preserved. The mummy received its name honoring the people of the Yukagir community who discovered it in 2010.

This Steppe bison species went globally extinct in Eurasia and North America approximately 11,000 years ago, together with other Ice Age mammals, including mammoths, wild horses, saber cats, cave and American lions, cave and short-faced bears and cave hyenas, to name a few.

The Yukagir Mummy Necropsy (Photo by E. Maschenko)

The Yukagir Mummy Necropsy (Photo by E. Maschenko)

Organized by the Yakutian Academy of Sciences in Yakutsk, Russia, the international research team from the Paleontological Institute (Moscow, Russia), the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs (SD, USA) and the Yakutian State Agricultural Academy (Yakutsk, Russia) performed the mummy’s necropsy. It revealed the preservation of the complete brain, heart, blood vessels, pulmonary and digestive systems.

This research was conducted by the international team along with the ongoing studies of the recently discovered Yuka Mammoth and Yukagir Horse mummies in the northern Yakutia. These are specimens of extinct species of the Woolly mammoth and the Pleistocene Horse. The Ice Age frozen mummies discoveries, with the large amount of information on their anatomy, along with new scientific methods and approaches that became available during the last decade are changing the science of paleontology and the way we think about it. We would like to share our knowledge and the study results with the community.

We are inviting the public to learn more about the Siberian mummies as well as the mammoth fauna survivors and “goners” by visiting the Mammoth Site Museum to see exhibits that were recently completed and opened to the visitors.

The Yukagir Bison Mummy Brain Inside the Skull (Photo by A. Protopopov)

The Yukagir Bison Mummy Brain Inside the Skull (Photo by