ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY OF THESSALONIKI
FACULTY OF SCIENCES
ΑΡΙΣΤΟΤΕΛΕΙΟ ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ
ΣΧΟΛΗ ΘΕΤΙΚΩΝ ΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΩΝ
SCIENTIFIC ANNALS OF THE SCHOOL OF GEOLOGY
SPECIAL VOLUME 102
ΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΟΝΙΚΗ ΕΠΕΤΗΡΙΔΑ ΤΟΥ ΤΜΗΜΑΤΟΣ ΓΕΩΛΟΓΙΑΣ
ΕΙΔΙΚΟΣ ΤΟΜΟΣ 102
OF THE VITH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
ON MAMMOTHS AND THEIR RELATIVES
5-12 MAY 2014, GREVENA - SIATISTA
ΤΟΜΟΣ ΤΩΝ ΠΕΡΙΛΗΨΕΩΝ
ΤΟΥ 6ΟΥ ΔΙΕΘΝΟΥΣ ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟΥ
ΓΙΑ ΤΑ ΜΑΜΟΥΘ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΣΥΓΓΕΝΕΙΣ ΤΟΥΣ
5-12 ΜΑΪΟΥ 2014, ΓΡΕΒΕΝΑ - ΣΙΑΤΙΣΤΑ
Scientic Annals, School of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
VIth International Conference on Mammoths and their Relatives, Grevena - Siatista Special Volume 102 120 Thessaloniki, 2014
The studies of the Yuka mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) from northern Yakutia, Russia:
the goals and overview of the rst analyses and results
Evgeny MASCHENKO , Gennady BOESKOROV, Larry AGENBROAD, Olga POTAPOVA,
Albert PROTOPOPOV, Valery PLOTNIKOV, Alexei TIKHONOV, Ekaterina PETROVA, and Innokentiy PAVLOV
A partially frozen and mummied carcass of woolly
mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius was found on the
continental coast of the Dmitry Laptev Strait, Yakutia, Russia,
by the Yukagir community members in 2010. The site was
discovered in the rich bone-bearing Pleistocene yedoma
(permafrost) deposits of the Oyagossky Yar, approximately 30
km west from the mouth of Kondratieva River. The calibrated
radiocarbon date of the rib is 39,440-38,850 calBP (1950)
(GrA-53289) which corresponds to the Marine Isotope Stage
3 (MIS-3, or Karginski Interstadial) (Boeskorov et al., 2013).
The body of the mummy was discovered lying on its belly,
with the right leg tucked under it, resting on the ice ledge in
the upper part of thawing slope. It was established that the
mummy was incomplete, missing most of its vertebral spine,
ribs, both femora and left humerus, and all the muscles
and inner organs of the torso. The hide with fur coloration
varying from very light tan (lower legs) to light ochre – dark
brown (upper legs and lower anks) missed two large parts
of the skin on the back and neck and bore rugged cuts that
were not compatible with cut marks produced by Paleolithic
or Mesolithic tool blades (Maschenko et al., 2012a).
The examination of exterior and interior morphology that we
performed in 2012-2013 revealed that no bones (cranium,
mandible, neck vertebra, few ribs, scapula, humerus, etc.)
had any signs of pathologic or abnormal growths. The Yuka
mammoth has, however, a combination of characters that
could be unique in comparison to other known specimens,
thus, signicantly expanding our knowledge on the
individual variation of woolly mammoth. These features
include the brain anatomy, rates of the molariform teeth and
tusks development, body size, number of the nail plates on
the feet, trunk morphology, hide fur coloration and others.
Despite the revealed damage, the Yuka mammoth had intact
trunk, lips, tail, and left ear, as well as breast nipples and a
temporal gland on the left side of the head, available for the
study. The trunk with long dorsal and ventral processes, which
are characteristic for M. primigenius, appeared to be complete,
thus allowing its comparison with a few other specimens.
The cranium and mandible CT scan performed in Yakutsk,
Russia, conrmed the initial identication of the teeth
as DP4/M1 in wear and presence of the un-erupted M2
in alveoli, which corresponds to 8-9.5 years old Asian
elephants studied by Roth and Shoshani (1984). Taking
into consideration the fact that mammoth DP2-DP4
replacement occurred at much younger age than in the
African and Asian elephants (Maschenko, 2002), the Yuka
mammoth age could be lowered down to approximately
6-8 years (Maschenko et al., 2012b). The immature state of
the long bones, scapulae and pelvis, none of which have
fused epiphysis (or apophysis) indicate that the animal was
The small, permanent tusks protruding from the bony
alveoli for just about 3 cm retained “two nested in cones”
conguration, which was observed in very young mammoth
individuals. Considering occurrences of bilateral tusklesness
in female Asian elephant, this case of relatively “late” tusk
development might be common in the woolly mammoth
females, and can be attributed to the dimorphism within the
species. This under-development of the tusks, along with
presence of the genital opening in the Yuka mammoth hide
and the morphology of the skin folds around it, supports
the initial identication of the Yuka mammoth as a female.
The CT scans performed in Yakutsk and the National
Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute" in Moscow, Russia,
in 2012-2013 revealed a relatively good condition of the
Yuka mammoth brain and at least one anatomical feature,
ramication of the arteria basilaris, separating it from the
African elephant (Kharlamova et al., 2013). A careful brain
conservation procedure carried out by the research team
in 2012 (Kurtova et al., 2012) allowed analysis of the brain
This analysis showed that the brain of the Yuka mammoth
was similar to that of the modern elephants. It had slightly
asymmetrical hemisphere volumes and weight and
size corresponding to those of a 9-11 years old female
African elephant. These ndings indicate that the teeth
development and replacement rates were accelerated in
relation to the body growth, which was accompanied by a
normal, similar to the African elephant growth of the brain.
Boeskorov, G. G., Protopopov, A. V., Mashchenko, E. N., Potapova, O.
R., Kuznetsova, T. V. Plotnikov, V. V., Grigoryev, S. E., Belolyubskii, I. N.,
Tomshin, M. D., Shchelchkova, M. V. Kolesov, S. D., van der Plicht, I.,
Tikhonov, A. N., 2013. New ndings of unique preserved fossil mammals
in the permafrost of Yakutia. Doklady Biological Sciences 452, 291–295.
Kharlamova, A., Saveliev, S., Boeskorov, G., Ushakov, V., Maschenko, E.,
2013. Preliminary analyses of brain gross morphology of the woolly
mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius, from Yakutia, Russia. 73rd SVP
Annual Meeting. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Los Angeles, CA,
USA, p. 153.
Kurtova A., Kharlamova A., Protopopov A., Plotnikov V., Potapova, O.,
2013. The Yuka woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius Blum.) brain
extraction and preservation: the methods and results. 73rd SVP Annual
Meeting. Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Los Angeles, USA, p. 158A.
Maschenko, E.N., 2002. Individual development, biology and evolution
of the woolly mammoth Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach, 1799).
Cranium 19(1), pp. 1- 120.
Maschenko, E.N., Agenbroad L.D., Potapova O., 2012a. The new Yuka
mammoth nd in Yakutia (Eastern Siberia), Russia: the controversies and
facts. 20th Annual Islands in the Plains, Black Hills Archeological and Historical
Symposium. Black Hills Archeological Society, Spearsh, South Dakota, p. 5.
Maschenko, E., Potapova, O., Boeskorov, G., Protopopov, A., Agenbroad, L.,
2012b. Preliminary data on the new partial carcass of the woolly mammoth,
Mammuthus primigenius from Yakutia, Russia. 72nd SVP Annual Meeting.
Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Raleigh, NC, USA, p. 137.
Maschenko, E., Boeskorov, G., Agenbroad, L., Potapova,
O., Protopopov, A., Plotnikov, V., Tikhonov, A., Petrova,
E., Pavlov, I., 2014. The studies of the Yuka mammoth
(Mammuthus primigenius) from northern Yakutia, Russia:
the goals and overview of the rst analyses and results.
Abstract Book of the VIth International Conference on
Mammoths and their Relatives. S.A.S.G., Special Volume