Named Nun cho ga, the most complete mummified baby woolly mammoth ever found in North America was frozen in permafrost during the ice age, over 30,000 years ago.
The near-complete mummy was found in the Klondike gold fields within Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Traditional Territory in the Canadian province of Yukon, by miners working on Eureka Creek, the Yukon and Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin governments said in a joint press release.
“Being part of the recovery of Nun cho ga, the baby woolly mammoth found in the permafrost in the Klondike this week (on Solstice and Indigenous Peoples’ Day!), was the most exciting scientific thing I have ever been part of, bar none,” Dan Shugar, a professor in the geoscience department at the University of Calgary, wrote on Twitter.
Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Elders named the mammoth calf Nun cho ga, which means “big baby animal” in the Hän language.
Although the Yukon is world-renowned for the ice age animals discovered there, the release notes that “mummified remains with skin and hair are rarely unearthed” and calls Nun cho ga “the most complete mummified mammoth found in North America.”
“As an ice age paleontologist, it has been one of my life long dreams to come face to face with a real woolly mammoth,” Grant Zazula, a paleontologist for the government of Yukon, said in the release. “That dream came true today. Nun cho ga is beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified ice age animals ever discovered in the world. I am excited to get to know her more.”