Russian paleontologists have published their findings on an ancient mummified lemming that was found by a schoolgirl in Siberia, the N+1 science news website reported Thursday.
The lemming has found intact in an elongated position with a preserved skeleton as well as fur on the back, sides and stomach, as seen in photos from an article published earlier this year by the Russian Academy of Sciences. The frozen carcass was first discovered by a schoolgirl in Siberia’s Yakutia region in 2016, before being taken by a group of researchers for study.
Scientists estimate that the mummified rodent is more than 40,000 years old and dates back to the Ice Age — making it the oldest known lemming that has ever been discovered.
While animal remains decompose in Siberia’s permafrost slowly, discoveries of their mummified remains are quite rare, the scientists wrote.
However, it is not the first mummified animal to be discovered in Siberia in recent years.
In June, a resident of Siberia’s Yakutia region discovered a 40,000-year-old wolf by the banks of the Tirekhtyakh river, close to the Arctic Circle.
In November, scientists in the same region found a well-preserved two-month-old puppy dating back 18,000 years that raised questions about the timeline for when humans first domesticated wolves.