(Photo: Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)
An 11-year-old boy has discovered the remains of a 30,000-year-old mammoth in northern Russia, and paleontologists are calling it the best preserved mammoth find in over a century.
The child, Evgeny Salinder, found the mammoth, complete with organs, layers of fat, bones, flesh and fur at the Sopochnaya Karga cape, located in Russia's northern Taymyr peninsula.
"We can see that this animal was very well adapted to the northern environment, accumulating massive amounts of fat," Aleksey Tikhonov, deputy head of the Zoology institute in the Russian Academy of Science, told local Russian newspaper Itar-Tass.
"This animal likely died during the summer period as we can't see much of its undercoat, but it had already accumulated a sufficient amount of fat," he added.
According to the Moscow News, the male mammoth, which weighed 1,102 pounds at its time of death, died at age 15 and was preserved due to a layer of permafrost covering the right half of its body, including its tusk.
It reportedly took scientists a week, using steam and pickaxes, to dig through the permafrost and reach the mammoth.
Although the mammoth was discovered just recently, scientists have already found that the large hump on the mammoth's back was composed of fat. Previous studies have suggested that this hump was a part of the mammoth's bone structure.
The mammoth, which has been named Zhenya (short for Evgeny) after the boy who discovered it, will be displayed at the Taimyr Regional Museum after it is transferred from the Russian Academy of Sciences for research.
"Despite the fact that it is not common in scientific circles to name the adult remains of ancient animals, this mammoth was called Zhenya – after the Nenets boy who first found the mammoth," Tikhonov told the Moscow News.
"Officially the animal will be known as the Sopkarginsky mammoth," Tikhonov added.
As the Moscow News notes, previously Russia has introduced plans to begin a clone study of mammoths with Japan's Kinki University. It is still unannounced if this new discovery will contribute to the cloning project.