Oldest-Discovered Lemming Remains Estimated to be 41,300 Years Old

The oldest lemming remains ever found, have been discovered by a schoolgirl, buried in the Siberian permafrost. 

The ancient animal has been estimated to be at least 41,000 years old and was incredibly well preserved, almost intact. Angelina Sadovnikova was 11 years old when she found the mummified rodent, which is believed to have existed in the Pleistocene age, under a river cliff.

The Ice Age animal was discovered with broken thigh bones, according to the scientists who began to analyze it, but how the herbivore fell or jumped to its death in ancient times is still a mystery.

Angela is now 14 years of age, but the finding and pictures were just recently released after thorough analyses and studies of the frozen mammal, which is greatly preserved. She was with her mother on the shore of the Terekhtyakh River, when she discovered the preserved lemming.

Preserved for Thousands of Years

Biology professors Nikita Solomonov and Vyacheslav Rozhnov then began analyzing the ancient rodent, using radiocarbon dating to reveal the Siberian lemming’s age. It was proved that the mammal is more than 41,300 years old and has a length of six and a half inches.

The ancient animal was incredibly well preserved, almost intact. [Image: Alexey Lopatin]
The animal’s back, sides, and abdomen were covered in fur, but not the head. X-ray assays showed all its bones, as well as its skull, which were incredibly well preserved aside from its internal organs.

“The mummy’s thighs were found to be broken,” The Siberian Times noted, citing the study led by the Russian Academy of Sciences, which announced the discovery.

Specialists say that the lemmings do not rush to jump off cliffs, but the cause behind its death is still unknown. The herbivore sat buried in the permafrost until it was found by Angelina.

A new research reports: “The finding of the Tirekhtyakh lemming is of great importance for understanding the evolution of this most important group of mammals in the Arctic communities.”

The reserved remains of woolly mammoths and rhinos have also been discovered, as well as cave lions and wolves, among other animals.

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