Yukon Miners Dug Up a 50,000 Year Old Mummified Wolf Pup

The preserved corpses of an ice age wolf pup and caribou calf, dug up in 2016 in the Yukon, are on display in Dawson City.
September 14, 2018, 3:30pm
Image: Facebook/Government of Yukon

In the frozen Canadian Yukon, miners dug up a mummified wolf pup from the ice age, believed to be more than 50,000 years old, and the incomplete corpse of a caribou calf from the same period.

During the last ice age, most of Canada was covered with thick ice but the Yukon escaped the glaciers—the wolf pup and caribou calf likely roamed the region alongside wooly mammoths and fearsome scimitar cats. The wolf pup is a complete specimen, with everything including its fur and tail intact, but the caribou calf did not age quite as well. It’s essentially the mummified front half of the animal.


"To our knowledge this is the only mummified ice age wolf ever found in the world,” Yukon government paleontologist Grant Zazula told the CBC.

Image: Facebook/Government of Yukon/Government of Canada, Canadian Conservation Institute

The specimens were discovered a month apart in 2016 by separate mining concerns in Canada’s far north, and handed over to researchers immediately. The mummies are on display at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre in Dawson City until the end of the month, if you’re in the area, and will ultimately end up in an exhibit in Whitehorse, the CBC reported.

According to the Canadian Press, researchers will analyze the creatures’ DNA and their bones to gain insight into their diets, as well as the unique environmental conditions in the Yukon during the ice age.

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