In August 2018, a group of mammoth tusk hunters in the Siberian permafrost, discovered the remains a foal that is estimated to be about 42,000 years old in a perfectly preserved condition.
Preserved by the region’s permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, the young horse showed no signs of external damage; instead, it retained its skin, the hair on its legs, head and other body parts, as well as hooves and tail.
The Lena Horse
The Lena horse (Equus caballus lenensis) foal was found in the Batagaika Crater in eastern Siberia last year.
The foal is thought to have been just 1 to 2 weeks old and stood 98 centimeters (39 inches) when it died by drowning in mud.
Remarkably, the icy permafrost preserved the foal’s skin and hair down to the tiniest detail.
There was even well-preserved urine still inside the foal’s bladder.
In an interview with The Siberian Times, Dr. Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, revealed that the foal was in an exceptional condition upon completion of the autopsy.
Although finding the animal’s perfectly preserved carcass with its hair intact was already astonishing, scientists also found similarly pristine conditions when they explored the animal’s interior.
Perhaps, the most astonishing discovery is that liquid urine, as well as liquid blood, were successfully extracted from the 42,000-year-old ice age foal carcass.
Dr. Grigoryev revealed that:
“Samples of liquid blood were taken from heart vessels — it was preserved in the liquid state for 42,000 years thanks to favorable burial conditions and permafrost.
“The muscle tissues preserved their natural reddish color. We can now claim that this is the best-preserved Ice Age animal ever found. This is extremely rare for paleontological finds because some of them are incomplete, fragmented, serious body deformations, or strongly mummified.
“The foal’s hair is intact on its head, legs, and part of its body. Its tail and mane are black, the rest of the foal’s body is bay.”