An illustration of the Mammuthus primigenius, the woolly mammoth which lived during the ice age. PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Well-preserved mammoth may hold new clues about early man’s hunting habits

A 10,000-year-old mammoth found in Siberia could shed new light on ancient human behaviour, say scientists.

THE REMAINS OF a woolly mammoth who died thousands of years ago has offered scientists a new glimpse into the world of prehistoric humans.

The well-preserved creature shows evidence of wounds that suggest it was attacked by lions before being finished off by humans, according to scientists.

The mammoth, named Yuka, was discovered in Siberia and still retains much of its pink-coloured flesh and strawberry-blonde hair. It is thought it was just a few years old when it was killed.

“This is the first relatively complete mammoth carcass – that is, a body with soft tissues preserved – to show evidence of human association,” Daniel Fisher, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Michigan, told Discovery News.

Although the animal’s remains are still undergoing the process of carbon-dating, it is thought that it died about 10,000 years ago.

It is thought that the carcass will not only provide more information about the extinct woolly mammoth, but also the humans who hunted it.

“It appears that Yuka was pursued by one or more lions or another large felid, judging from deep, unhealed scratches in the hide and bite marks on the tail,” Fisher told the BBC.

“Yuka then apparently fell, breaking one of the lower hind legs. At this point, humans may have moved in to control the carcass, butchering much of the animal and removing parts that they would use immediately.”

A BBC/Discovery documentary programme on the mammoth – Woolly Mammoth: Secrets from the Ice – will be broadcast on BBC Two tonight (4 April) at 9pm.

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