Baby Woolly Mammoth From Klondike Most Complete Mummified Ice Age Animal Found In North America

On June 21, 2022, a near complete, mummified baby woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) was found at the Treadstone Mine in the Klondike gold fields within Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Traditional Territory.

Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin Elders named the mammoth calf Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal” in the Hän language.

The Yukon has a world-renowned fossil record of ice age animals. In the permanently frozen soil, bones and mammoth tusks are safe from weathering and scavengers, but mummified remains with skin and hair are rarely unearthed.

Geologists from the Yukon Geological Survey and University of Calgary who recovered the frozen mammoth on site suggest that Nun cho ga died over 30,000 years ago and is an approximately one-month old female. The discovery of Nun cho ga marks the first near complete and best-preserved mummified woolly mammoth found in North America. A partial mammoth calf, named Effie, was found in 1948 at a gold mine in interior Alaska.

“The Yukon has always been an internationally renowned leader for ice age and Beringia research. We are thrilled about this significant discovery of a mummified woolly mammoth calf: Nun cho ga. Without strong partnerships between placer miners, Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin, and the Yukon government, discoveries like this could not happen,” Minister of Tourism and Culture Ranj Pillai says in a statement.

“This is as a remarkable recovery for our First Nation, and we look forward to collaborating with the Yukon government on the next steps in the process for moving forward with these remains in a way that honours our traditions, culture, and laws. We are thankful for the Elders who have been guiding us so far and the name they provided. We are committed to respectfully handling Nun cho ga as she has chosen now to reveal herself to all of us,” Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief Roberta Joseph said.

Materials provided by the Government of Yukon 2022.

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