Research Features

Short lives, violent deaths: Two CT-scanned Siberian mammoth calves

Lyuba's external appearance

CT scans of two newborn woolly mammoths recovered from the Siberian Arctic are revealing previously inaccessible details about the early development of prehistoric pachyderms. In addition, the X-ray images show that both creatures died from suffocation after inhaling mud.

Lyuba and Khroma, who died at ages 1 and 2 months, respectively, are the most complete and best-preserved baby mammoth specimens ever found. Lyuba's full-body CT scan, which used an industrial scanner at a Ford testing facility in Michigan, was the first of its kind for any mammoth.

"This is the first time anyone's been able to do a comparative study of the skeletal development of two baby mammoths of known age," said University of Michigan paleontologist Daniel Fisher.

Read more at: University of Michigan press release

Read the full research article in The Paleontological Society Journal, Volume 88, Issue 4 (July 2014).  X-ray computed tomography of two mammoth calf mummies

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