Biology Bulletin

, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 626–641 | Cite as

Specific characters of the mammoth calf (Mammuthus primigenius) from the Khroma River (Yakutia)

  • E. N. Mashchenko
  • A. V. Protopopov
  • V. V. Plotnikov
  • I. S. Pavlov


The exterior, skeletal morphology, and teeth of a 4- to 5-month-old woolly mammoth calf, Mammuthus primigenius Proboscidea, Elephantidae from the Khroma River (Yakutia, Russia) are described. This is the third and best preserved frozen carcass of the mammoth calves from Yakutia. The calf is male (penis available). The individual age as determined by the degree of wearing of DP2 and the beginning of wear of DP3 corresponds to the stage of transition to combined feeding (milk and vegetal forage). At the same time, formation of the cranial sutures (sutura sagittalis, fronto-temporalis, squamo-temporalis, and the suture between os occipitale superior and os occipitale inferior) testifies to an older juvenile stage. The proximal and distal epiphyses of the humerus and the distal epiphysis of the femur are represented by paired centers of ossification. A comparison of the dimensions of the head, body, and legs with the corresponding parameters of other M. primigenius calves of the same age shows the individual variability (10–15%) of these features. Although of medium size characteristic of M. primigenius calves, the described individual lacks subcutaneous fat deposits in the withers and subdermal areas of the body flanks. Death was caused by a rupture of the body and vertebral column at the level of the pectoral vertebrae 11–12. The deformation of the legs and longitudinal stretching of the soft tissues of the body caused no bone fractures (except for three ribs in the zone of the rupture). The long bones are not dislocated either in the shoulder and pelvic girdles or relative to each other. Possible causes and the timing of the death of the mammoth calves preserved in the permafrost are discussed.


Late Pleistocene morphology ontogenesis Proboscidea Mammuthus primigenius 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. N. Mashchenko
    • 1
  • A. V. Protopopov
    • 2
  • V. V. Plotnikov
    • 3
  • I. S. Pavlov
    • 4
  1. 1.Borisyak Paleontological InstituteRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)YakutskRussia
  3. 3.Museum of the MammothInstitute of Applied Ecology of the NorthYakutskRussia
  4. 4.Yroslavskii Yakutian United Museum of History and Culture of Peoples of the NorthYakutskRussia

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