The mummified remains of wooly mammoths and other Ice Age creatures have been found in various places popular for subglacial excavations, like Antarctica. But this next discovery wasn’t exactly made on purpose – or at least; it wasn’t what they set out to look for.
A group of gold miners searching for treasure in Russia stumbled upon the frozen corpse of a Przewalski Horse, an adorable wild type of pony that lived in the area nearly 40,000 years ago. The unfortunate animal had reportedly gotten stuck in a bog and died fairly quickly, possibly from freezing to death in the harsh winters of Yakutia.
The Woolly Mammoth
Woolly mammoths are the distant relative of today’s elephants. They’re now extinct, but they roamed freely across several continents during the last ice age. The average male mammoth weighed about 6 tons and stood between 9-11 feet tall. Researchers found a very well-preserved female mammoth in the ice in Russia – her brains and blood vessels were still intact.
Yuka, as the mammoth was named, was said to be somewhere between 6 and 9 years old when she passed. By studying the brain, scientists were able to determine that the personality and actions of the woolly mammoths were probably very similar to those of modern elephants. Even though other mammoths have been discovered frozen in the ice, Yuka was the only one whose brain was still preserved enough to examine.
A Ton of Grasshoppers
Okay, when we say a ton, we actually mean tens of millions of grasshoppers. Apparently, these guys aren’t very smart because there are millions of swarms trapped inside glaciers in Montana alone. In fact, there are three glaciers in the area that are literally full of them, so much so that two were named Grasshopper Glacier and the other, Hopper Glacier.
Researchers report that some of the insects are several million years old, while some swarms are a bit younger, possibly only a few thousand years old. Montana isn’t the only state where this add phenomenon occurs, as Wyoming has some glaciers full of grasshoppers of its own.
These ancient flower buds are yet another gift to modern-day researchers that were presented by an Ice Age squirrel who was simply trying to protect his stash of food by burying the seeds. Scientists discovered the bits of the ancient flower that they believe were the result of the squirrel burrowing and decided to try and bring them back to life.
They created the perfect conditions for the seeds to be able to grow in their lab and successfully revived this type of flower that has not been around for tens of thousands of years. Nature is a truly remarkable thing when you think about it.
One of the most amazing things about the discoveries made in ice is how well everything is preserved over the course of thousands or millions of years. Scientists have been able to discover a lot about the world throughout history by studying these artifacts, or in this case, the gasses.
Through deep oil drilling, researchers discovered pockets of air full of different types of gas, like krypton. By testing the air, they are able to determine the state of the atmosphere from the time the ice was formed – which is over 20,000 years ago, according to the reports. Awesome.