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For only the second time in history, a baby woolly mammoth has been discovered. This discovery, made by gold prospectors in the Canadian Yukon region, is the first in North America. The mummified baby female mammoth was found on land owned by the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation. This is an exciting discovery for the two palaeontologists. The baby mammoth was first discovered when a miner was digging through the mud using a front loader. When he hits something, he immediately stops and calls his boss. When his boss, Brian McCaughan of Treadstone Mining, saw what he was up against, he stopped the work and called in the right experts. For Yukon government palaeontologist Dr Grant Zazula, it was a day he will never forget.

“As an Ice Age palaeontologist, I have always dreamed of meeting the woolly mammoth in person. “That dream came true today,” he said. Although other woolly mammoths have been discovered in North America, none have been as well preserved as the one found in the Yukon. Named Nun cho ga, which means "big baby animal" in the Hän language by Tr'ondek Hwech'in, it is approximately the same size as the baby mammoth named Lyuba discovered in Siberia in 2007. 

Geologists from the Geological Survey of Yukon and the University of Calgary, which recovered the frozen mammoth from the site, estimate the mammoth to be at least 30,000 years old. The weed found in Nunchoga's closet could be a clue to how he died. Dr Zazula, who believes Nunchoga is only 30 to 35 days old, thinks the young cub may have run away from its mother while feeding on grass and got stuck in the mud. “And the transition from being stuck in the mud to being buried is very quick,” he said.

But even though he died, Nunchoga celebrated his rediscovery. After being rescued from the mine, he was taken to a place for a special blessing by a group of Tr'ondek Hwech'in elders. The body, wrapped in a cloth, was slowly displayed to the group, made up of scientists, miners and local workers. “It was incredible. When they took the rug out, he couldn’t breathe,” said Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in elder Peggy Komendi. “We all have to respect that. When it happens, it will be strong and we will heal. “As humans, we have to do this.”

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