Lyuba (Mammoth Calf)
Animal Mummy
Biographical Information
Clas Unknown
Species Woolly Mammoth
Age 30-35 days old
Sex F
Length 51 in. (130 centimeters)
Culture Unknown
Date(s) c. 41,800 BC
Site Yamal Peninsula in Siberia
Current Location
Catalog #

The 1-month-old mummified woolly mammoth calf was discovered in 2007 by a reindeer herder on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia, washed out of the permafrost along the Yuribey River. It was 30-35 days old at the time of death (c. 41,800 BC), weighed 110 lb (50kg), was 33.5 in. (85 centimeters) high and measured 51 in. (130 centimeters) from trunk to tail.


The reindeer herder notified the closest museum director about the find, who arranged the authorities to fly to the location of the find. On arrival, they found the remains had disappeared. There they discovered the carcass exhibited outside a local store, moved by profiteers. Lyuba's body suffered minor damage in the process, dogs chewed off her right ear and a part of her tail. With the help of the police, the body was then transported by helicopter to the Shemanovsky Museum in Salekhard.


The body was preserved when it sank into mud which later froze. It has been buried for 40,000 years in a vacuum, with no oxygen present to decomposed the organic matter.


The calf was a female, her eyes and trunk were intact, and some fur remained on her body. Nicknamed Lyuba, her organs and skin are in almost perfect condition.

The trunk, mouth, esophagus and trachea are all clogged with sediment, suggesting she choked to death or was asphyxiated after inhaling viscous mud while bogged down in the bed of a river which her herd was crossing. CT scans show her upper respiratory tract is packed with mud.

Scientists were able to identify milk from her mother in her stomach, and fecal matter in her intestine. Algae from lake water and traces of pollen from trees and plants were also found in her stomach


She was the subject of a 2009 documentary Waking the Baby Mammoth by the National Geographic Channel and of a 2011 children's book by Christopher Sloan, Baby Mammoth Mummy: Frozen in Time: A Prehistoric Animal's Journey into the 21st Century.


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