Walrus Causes Mammoth Confusion

By | August 20th, 2011|Animal News Stories, Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal News Stories, Main Page|0 Comments

Fossil Walrus Skull Causes Mammoth Alert

Lennon and McCartney may have written a song called “I am the Walrus” with the opening line “I am he as you are he as you are and we are all together”, but the Beatles could not have imagined that Russian authorities could have mixed up a Walrus with a Woolly Mammoth but that is what is being reported in online media this morning.

According to a number of news sources there was much excitement in Russian scientific circles when it was reported that a reindeer herder had found a perfectly preserved, fossilised baby Woolly Mammoth.  Woolly Mammoth tusks and other isolated fossils are frequently found in the Siberian Summer as ancient remains of these long dead elephants are washed out of melting permafrost.  To find a baby, a Woolly Mammoth calf, even a few articulated fossils would be an extremely significant discovery.  Back in the Summer of 2007, as reported by the Everything Dinosaur web log, Russian scientists were able to extract the deep-frozen remains of a one month old baby Woolly Mammoth which had been almost perfectly preserved.  This Woolly Mammoth, affectionately dubbed Lyuba is now part of a touring Mammoth and Mastodon Exhibition organised by the Chicago Museum.  This exhibition is due to arrive in the UK in 2013.

To read more about the discovery of Lyuba: New Baby Woolly Mammoth Found

It was initially claimed that the find was as well preserved as Lyuba.   Believed to have died around 40,000 years ago, Lyuba is the best preserved Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) known to scienceAuthorities in the Yamalo-Nenets region said yesterday morning they were scrambling a helicopter to the location.  With the high Summer melt well underway, any flesh that has thawed will start to rot and therefore the Russian authorities were in a race against time to reach this remote location.

A spokesperson for the scientists, scrambled to reach the carcase stated:

“If what is said about how it is preserved turns out to be true, this will be another sensation of global significance.”

However, the scientists and researchers were to be disappointed, as when examined the fossil turned out to be that of a Walrus.  Leader of the Woolly Mammoth rescue mission Ms Fyordorova commented:

“It turned out to be a walrus skull; apparently a fossilised one.  It’s still a good present for us.  We don’t have any walruses yet.”

It may not be a Mammoth, but the fossilised remains of an ancient Walrus could provide the researchers with valuable information as to how the region has changed over thousands of years.

Better luck next time, as the Beatles sang “I am the Walrus, goo goo g’joob”.

To view a soft toy Woolly Mammoth and other prehistoric plush: Prehistoric Mammals and Stuffed Animals