Markel | 1996
(30 000 to 40 000 years) Discovered in 1996, but only protected since 1999, the Markel mammoth had already been partially dug up by Iedvokin and Ania Poratov’s children.

Ageless mammoth

 

Iedvokin and Ania had left the Dolgan community some time before the beginning of the perestroika. Tired of the soviet bureaucracy, which imposed its ways to the nomadic populations, affected by the penuries inevitably created by that system, they had chosen to become independent fishermen. Nothing destined them to cross the mammoth’s path before they settled in the Novaya River’s estuary, more than four hours away from the Sindasko village by snow-bike… In the middle of nowhere.

During the summer, while Iedvokin and Ania were fishing, their three children used to go on walks in the tundra. During one of these walks, they happened upon the skeleton of a mammoth. It was the children alone who worked on excavating their fossil during several months until Bernard Buigues, who had just heard of the discovery, came to visit. The mammoth was baptized after the youngest of the children: Markel.

 

Missing tusks

The mammoth’s tusks had disappeared, probably spotted and taken away by some hunter some time before. It turns out that tusks are a precious source of information for a palaeontologist, and finding a tusk-deprived skeleton is a great frustration.

 

But even with missing tusks, Markel’s fossil was so complete and so well preserved that its importance and scientific value as a fossil specimen was immediately acknowledged. Markel is still protected and preserved at a temperature of -13°C in Khatanga’s cave, awaiting further analyses.

 

Discoveries