In the Canadian city of Yukon, exploding water on a wall of frozen mud, a gold miner made an unusual discovery. A well-preserved wolf cub that has been trapped in perpetual ice for 57,000 years. According to the local Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, the remarkable condition of the kitten’s name enriched the researchers’ many insights into its age, lifestyle, and relationships with modern wolves. The results appear in the magazine on December 21 Current biology,
“He is the best wolf mummy ever found. He is mainly 100% inviolable. “Only his eyes are missing,” said Des Uli Miche, the first author, an associate professor of anatomy at Des Moines University. “And the fact that he was so complete allowed us to investigate him so much to completely rebuild his life.”
Ù One of the most important questions that researchers were trying to answer was how it began to be stored in evergreen ice. To produce a permanent frost mummy requires a unique combination of circumstances.
“It is rare to find these mummies in the Yukon. “The animal must die in a place of constant frost, where the soil is frozen all the time. They must be buried as quickly as any other mineralization process,” says Mikhen. “If it lies on the frozen tundra for too long, it will decay or be eaten.”
Another possible factor is how the wolf died. Animals that die slowly or are hunted by predators are less likely to be in a clean state. “We think he was in his hole, he died immediately from the collapse of the well,” says Mikhen. “Our data showed that she died of starvation էր it was about 7 weeks, so we feel a little better knowing that the poor little girl did not suffer for very long.”
In addition to learning how he died, the team was able to analyze his diet. As it turns out, his diet was greatly influenced by how long he lived near the water. “Usually when you think of wolves in the ice age, you think they eat bison or musk oxen or other large animals on land. One thing that surprised us was that he ate water, especially salmon. ”
Analyzing his genome confirmed that he was a lover of ancient wolves from Russia, Siberia and Alaska, who are also the ancestors of modern wolves. Although Zhùr’s analysis gave researchers many answers about the wolves of the past, there are still some unresolved questions about ù և և և his family.
“We were asked why he was the only wolf found in the den, what happened to his mother or siblings,” says Mikhen. “It simply came to our notice then. Or the other wolves did not burrow when they collapsed. “Unfortunately, we will never know.”
The specimen has a special significance for the local Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in people who agreed to show Zhùr at the Yukon Beringia Interpretation Center in Whitehorse. He is cleansed and preserved, so that he will remain intact for years, allowing him to travel to other places in the Yukon. And the research team predicts that more and more evergreen mummies may be found in the coming years.
“A slightly positive aspect of climate change is that we will find more of these mummies when the perpetual frost melts,” says Mikhen. “It’s a good way for science to reconstruct that time better, but it shows us how much our planet is actually warming up. We have to be really careful. “
Reference. By Julie Uli Micheny, Matthew W. Wooler, Benjamin D. Barst, Juliette Funk, Carly Craney, Essay on Heath, Molly Cassatt-John Onston, Beth Shapiro, Elizabeth Hall, Susan Hewitson և Grant az Azula December 21, 2020 Current biology,
DOI: 10.1016 / j.cub.2020.11.011:
This work was supported by the MJ Murdock Charitable Foundation, which was awarded to Dr. Matthew Wooller at the UAF.