Just a baby, but 42,000 years old

It may be 42,000 years old, but age has not been a barrier for Lyuba, the baby woolly mammoth, in making its first trip to Australia.

Regarded as the most complete and best-preserved mammoth, Lyuba arrived in Sydney as the star of the Australian Museum's new Ice Age exhibition, which will run from today until May.

Ever since Lyuba was found in 2007 by a reindeer hunter in Siberia, the mammoth has been a source of intrigue for palaeontologists.

"She is a truly remarkable specimen," Australian Museum palaeontologist Matthew McCurry (above) told the Australian Associated Press. "I have never seen something extinct that is that well preserved."

According to SBS News, scientists believe Lyuba was only 30 to 35 days old when it died, possibly from choking on mud after becoming stuck in a river.

Mammoths were a common animal roaming the northern hemisphere during the Ice Age, having evolved out of Africa. Most died out about 10,000 years ago, with the last of the dwarf mammoths becoming extinct 4,000 years ago.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2017, with the headline 'Just a baby, but 42,000 years old'. Print Edition | Subscribe