Well-preserved woolly rhino unearthed in Siberia

Catherine Garcia

An Ice Age-era woolly rhino discovered in Siberia is one of the most well-preserved animals ever discovered in the region, scientists say.

The rhino was found on the banks of the Tirekhtyakh River in August. Scientists said many of the rhino's internal organs and soft tissues are still intact, and its horn — a rare find — was also next to the carcass. It was discovered in melting permafrost, and when the ice roads in the area become passable later this month, the rhino will be driven to a laboratory for radiocarbon studies.

Russian media reports that Valery Plotnikov, a paleontologist with the Russian Academy of Sciences, said because part of the rhino's intestines are intact, researchers will be able to "reconstruct the paleoenvironment of that period." Plotnikov estimates the rhino was about 3 or 4 years old when it died. It's possible the rhino drowned, Plotnikov said, with the death occurring anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 years ago.

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