A local Siberian tribe has discovered the mummified body of a Steppe bison which the researchers believe is almost 9,300 years old. The Steppe bison or the Bison Priscus is now an extinct animal. The body which was found buried under tons of ice in the Yana-Indigirka Lowland was later transported with utmost care to the Yakutian Academy of Sciences in Siberia, where the scientists will perform an autopsy on it.
“The exceptionally good preservation of the Yukagir bison mummy allows direct anatomical comparisons with modern species of bison and cattle, as well as with extinct species of bison that were gone” shortly after the end of the Ice Age, Evgeny Maschenko, co-author of the study from the Paleontological Institute in Moscow, said in a statement.
Though the internal organs of the body are in a remarkably good shape and almost intact, almost no fat has been found on the animal which is causing the scientists to believe that it probably dies of starvation. There are two more specimens of mummified bison bodies preserved under extremely cold conditions in the world at present. This body, however, is the most well preserved one, say the scientists who are working upon it.
“The Yukagir bison mummy became the third find out of four now known complete mummies of this species discovered in the world, and one out of two adult specimens that are being kept preserved with internal organs and stored in frozen conditions,” Olga Potapova of the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota, stated.
The well preserved internal organs can be attributed to the sub zero climatic conditions in Siberia. The lung, heart and the digestive system, in particular, were in extremely good condition though they had shrunken to a much smaller size. The shriveling was perhaps because of the cold conditions and aging of the body.
According to Potapova, “The next steps to be done include further examination of the bison’s gross anatomy, and other detailed studies on its histology, parasites, and bones and teeth”. In addition, they said that they expect the results of these studies will not only help know the reasons behind death of the bison, but will also provide insight into the species behavior and causes of its extinction.