Oil Workers Strike ... Woolly Mammoth

Tusk came up in excavator bucket
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2015 4:24 AM CDT
Oil Workers Dig Up Mammoth
Workers deconstruct the skeleton of a woolly mammoth at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington.   (AP Photo/The Washington Post, Linda Davidson)

Oil workers in Siberia struck woolly mammoth while carrying out land reclamation work. The workers near Nyagan in western Siberia halted digging with the excavator when a tusk turned up in the bucket, and used hand shovels to find more of the mammoth's skeleton around 10 feet under the ground, the Siberian Times reports. "We have the rule—if we find something, we stop the work and call the bosses. But I was also interested myself, in what this was," a worker tells the Times. "I took the shovel and began to dig [and] found more remains, the second tusk, teeth, and other bones."

A paleontology museum expert who rushed to the scene tells the Times that the female mammoth was between 30 and 40 years old when she died around 10,000 years ago, and the remains will be carefully defrosted, tested, and restored over the next year. The oil workers haven't chosen a name for the mammoth yet. The remains of another creature from 10,000 years ago, a baby woolly rhino, were found in a Siberian riverbank last month, Discovery reports. Researchers say the calf is the only complete young specimen of its species ever found. (Scientists have moved closer to creating an elephant-mammoth hybrid.)

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