Frozen baby woolly mammoth discovered in Yukon gold fields

A perfect storm of events has led to a once-in-a-lifetime discovery for a gold miner, a First Nation, a veteran paleontologist and a territory.

“I don’t know how to process it all right now, to be honest with you. It’s amazing,” said Dr. Grant Zazula, the Yukon government’s paleontologist.

A little after noon on June 21, National Indigenous People’s Day, a young miner working in Yukon’s Eureka Creek, south of Dawson City, was digging up muck using a front end loader when he struck something.

He stopped and called his boss who went to see him right away.

When he arrived,¬†Treadstone Mining’s Brian McCaughan put a stop to the operation on the spot.

Within half an hour, Zazula received a picture of the discovery.

According to Zazula, the miner had made the “most important discovery in paleontology in North America.”

It was a whole baby woolly mammoth, the first one ever found in North America and, according to Zazula, only the second in the world.

“She has a trunk. She has a tail. She has tiny little ears. She has the little prehensile end of the trunk where she could use it to grab grass,” said Zazula.

“She’s perfect and she’s beautiful.”

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