The uniquely preserved, brainless young woolly rhino was found in Arctic Yakutia in August 2020.
An extinct rhinoceros, all with thick fur, horns, and a complete set of teeth, was discovered in the permafrost layers on the banks of the Tirekhtyakh River by a group of mammoth tusk hunters.
Now, the group of scientists has shared the first exciting results of their work on the rhinoceros.
Surprisingly, this adolescent was still suckling on his mother’s milk while on a normal grass diet.
Dr Valery Plotnikov, from the Yakutia Academy of Sciences Department of Mammoth Fauna Studies, said: “The back of his horn was visibly frayed. We believe the horn rubs against her mother’s stomach every time she kneels down to suck it.” says.
“The front of the horn was also pretty worn because the rhino used it to dig in the ground and snow to look for food. This is similar to the situation in modern rhinos, where mothers feed their young for up to two years.”
“Intensive feeding caused wear and friction of the horn. We see the same thing in the world’s only preserved woolly woolly rhino, the baby woolly rhino named Sasha. The nose and forehead horns were almost completely eroded.”
Dr Gennady Boeskorov, from the Yakutia Academy of Sciences, said: “The body of the adolescent woolly rhinoceros is about 231 centimeters long, which is about a meter shorter than an adult animal. Shoulder height is about 109 centimeters.”
The rhino, which should have been between three and five years old when it died, was “extremely well fed,” even a bloat of fat, scientists say.
This rhino may have been eaten by predators in the water where it drowned at least 20,000 years ago. A more precise date for when the rhino lived will be learned by radiocarbon analysis.
The rhino’s hair was also very well preserved, with layers of thick hair on its abdomen and long guard hairs all over its body – even on its ears. This made it fully equipped for the winter season.
“It is wonderful to have specimens of extinct woolly rhinoceros at different stages of their lives. We have puppies, we have both male and female adult specimens, and now we have a juvenile. We are happy to study them and share the results with the world.”
The report was presented at the International conference “Quaternary Paleontology and Paleoecology of Yakutia” in November 2021.