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Clipety-clop! The Upper Paleolithic foal held by Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum.

The Foal That Came in From the Cold After 40,000 Years

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By The Siberian Times reporter

A sensational find has been made of the world’s only completely preserved ancient baby horse, aged just three months when it died in the Palaeolithic period.

This is the first picture of an ancient foal dug out of the permafrost in the Batagai depression - also known as the ‘Mouth of Hell’ - in the Yakutia region of Siberia. 

Head of the world-famous Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, Semyon Grigoryev, said: ‘The foal was approximately three months old (when it died). 

‘The unique find was made in the permafrost of Batagai depression. The foal was completely preserved by permafrost.   

‘The extra value of the unique find is that we obtained samples of soil layers where it was preserved, which means we will be able to restore a picture of the foal’s environment.’

The Batagai depression in Verkhoyansky district of Yakutia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

The Batagai depression in Verkhoyansky district of Yakutia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

The Batagai depression in Verkhoyansky district of Yakutia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

The Batagai depression in Verkhoyansky district of Yakutia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

The Ice Age foal lived up to 40,000 years ago, it is understood.

It was buried at a level of around 30 metres in the tadpole-shaped depression, which is a ‘megaslump’ one kilometre long and around 800 metres wide. 

‘We will report the exact time when it lived after studying the soil samples,’ said the scientist.

‘The foal has completely preserved dark-brown hair, its tail and mane, as well as all internal organs. 

‘There are no visible wounds on its body. 

‘This is the first find in the world find of a pre-historic horse of such a young age and with such an amazing level of preservation.’

Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk. Pictures: The Siberian Times

Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk. Pictures: The Siberian Times

One unconfirmed account suggests that hair on the ancient horse has ‘zebra-like stripes’ on its legs. 

The foal was found by an expedition to the Verkhoyansky district of Yakutia.

The find was located by scientists from the North-Eastern Federal University, and Kindai University in Japan along with a crew from Fuji TV.

The Batagai depression in Verkhoyansk depression in Verkhoyansk district of Yakutia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

The Batagai depression in Verkhoyansk depression in Verkhoyansk district of Yakutia. Pictures: The Siberian Times

Nine years ago, locals in Batagai village found a bison calf and part of an ancient horse’s body.

Locals in the remote Yakutia region see this spectacular crater as superstitious, and know it as the 'gateway to the underworld'. In fact, the depression was caused by the Soviets, who cleared forest here, but it is now being enlarged and shaped by climate change, according to local scientists.

Top image: Clipety-clop! The Upper Paleolithic foal held by Semyon Grigoryev, head of the Mammoth Museum.

The article ‘ The foal that came in from the cold after 40,000 years ’ was originally published on The Siberian Times and has been republished with permission.

Comments

In the last part of this article, the author mentions the zebra stripes like this is rare...Most all dun factor horses can be striped, and it is a regular occurrence in many modern breeds...I have nine head of both horses and mules that have varying degrees of zebra (or tiger) stripes...Przewalski's horse was almost certainly dun factored, so not surprising this little guy has stripes.

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