A woolly mammoth and a rhinoceros that are thought to have been frozen in permafrost 39,000 years ago were unboxed in Taipei on Wednesday ahead of an exhibition set to open Nov. 16 to showcase the creatures.
The creatures will be among more than 200 prehistoric animal specimens and objects used by ancient humans that will go on display at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall until March 2.
The mammoth, nicknamed “Yuka,” was discovered in the Republic of Sakha in Siberia in 2010 and is considered one of the most well-preserved mammoth specimens to date. It was named “Yuka” because it was discovered in a place called Yukagir.
The female mammoth, about 3m long and 1.65m tall, is estimated to have died at the age of 10 and its skin, trunk, tail and four legs remain in good condition.
Scientists were also able to obtain liquid blood and muscle tissue from the mammoth and remove a well-preserved brain from its skull for further study.
The woolly rhinoceros, nicknamed “Kolyma,” was discovered in the lower Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia in 2007. The female rhino, 2.9m long and 1.2m tall, is estimated to have died at about the age of 20.
Before arriving in Taiwan, the extinct creatures were exhibited in Japan, where they attracted hundreds of thousands of people.
Yoshihiro Ota, chief executive officer of the Tokyo-based Nature’s Network Co, one of the organizers, said he hopes the exhibition will attract many children in Taiwan, as it did in Japan.
Former Taipei Zoo director Jason Yeh (葉傑生) also urged the public to attend the exhibition to learn more about the creatures that once roamed the Earth.
“Many precious animals are facing the threat of extinction today,” Yeh said, adding that he hopes the exhibition will also encourage people to cherish the Earth and do more to protect the environment.
Among other items that will be displayed are the skeletons of antelopes, bison and saber-tooth cats said to be from the Pleistocene epoch, which lasted from about 2.58 million years ago to 11,700 years ago.