World

A 35,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth was found by a gold miner

A gold miner accidentally stumbled upon the best-preserved woolly mammoth ever found in North America.

A nearly-perfectly preserved baby woolly mammoth was found in Yukon, Canada and is thought to be over 30,000 years old.

Nun cha ga was unearthed before receiving a blessing from elders of the first nation group, Trʼondëk Hwëchʼi.

woolly mammoth fossil
Credit: Yukon Government

The mummified woolly mammoth was named Nun cho ga, which means “big baby animal” in Hän language (the language spoken by the Hän Hwëch’in), and was dug out of permafrost in the Klondike goldfields in amazing condition.

The young female mammoth signifies the most well-preserved discovery from the Ice Age ever found in North America.

Yukon paleontologist Dr Grant Zazula said: “As an Ice Age palaeontologist, it has been one of my lifelong dreams to come face to face with a real woolly mammoth. That dream came true today,”

“Nun cho ga is beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified Ice Age animals ever discovered in the world. I am excited to get to know her more.”

Nun cho ga
Credit: AFP

Zazula said the mammoth, which measures just 140cm in length, was only about 30 – 35 days old when she died between 35,000 to 40,000 years ago.

The Yukon government and Trʼondëk Hwëchʼi people said Nun cho ga would have roamed the earth with wild horses, cave lions and giant steppe bison.

Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Chief Roberta Joseph commented on the discovery: “We look forward to collaborating with the Yukon government on the next steps in the process for moving forward with these remains in a way that honours our traditions, culture and laws,” 

“We are thankful for the elders who have been guiding us so far and the name they provided.

“We are committed to respectfully handling Nun cho ga as she has chosen now to reveal herself to all of us.”