Woolly mammoths are the distant relative of today’s elephants. They’re now extinct, but they roamed freely across several continents during the last ice age. The average male mammoth weighed about 6 tons and stood between 9-11 feet tall. Researchers found a very well-preserved female mammoth in the ice in Russia – her brains and blood vessels were still intact.
Yuka, as the mammoth was named, was said to be somewhere between 6 and 9 years old when she passed. By studying the brain, scientists were able to determine that the personality and actions of the woolly mammoths were probably very similar to those of modern elephants. Even though other mammoths have been discovered frozen in the ice, Yuka was the only one whose brain was still preserved enough to examine.
The mummified remains of wooly mammoths and other Ice Age creatures have been found in various places popular for subglacial excavations, like Antarctica. But this next discovery wasn’t exactly made on purpose – or at least; it wasn’t what they set out to look for.
A group of gold miners searching for treasure in Russia stumbled upon the frozen corpse of a Przewalski Horse, an adorable wild type of pony that lived in the area nearly 40,000 years ago. The unfortunate animal had reportedly gotten stuck in a bog and died fairly quickly, possibly from freezing to death in the harsh winters of Yakutia.
A Ton of Grasshoppers
Okay, when we say a ton, we actually mean tens of millions of grasshoppers. Apparently, these guys aren’t very smart because there are millions of swarms trapped inside glaciers in Montana alone. In fact, there are three glaciers in the area that are literally full of them, so much so that two were named Grasshopper Glacier and the other, Hopper Glacier.
Researchers report that some of the insects are several million years old, while some swarms are a bit younger, possibly only a few thousand years old. Montana isn’t the only state where this add phenomenon occurs, as Wyoming has some glaciers full of grasshoppers of its own.
Getting trapped on a ship at sea would be bad enough but being trapped on a ship at sea on Lake Michigan in the freezing cold would be even worse. That’s exactly what happened to the unfortunate crew of this ship that was stranded on the icy waters.
A drone flying by the area just happened to snap footage of it, alerting the public to its existence. But what happened to that ship isn’t all that uncommon. In fact, every year, more than two dozen large ships go missing – either sunken or otherwise never heard from again, and that doesn’t include the near hundreds of smaller ships that contribute to the missing vehicles.
A Subglacial Forest
Imagine walking through an icy tundra one day and realizing that you were standing on top of an entire forest full of trees. That is exactly what happened in the Mendenhall Glacier region of Alaska, where researchers discovered thousands of trees thought to be somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 years old. Now that is seriously old!
As more of the glacier melts, scientists are able to learn more about the trees that lived on Earth so long ago. Right now, they are simply looking at the tip of the iceberg…so to speak, which is the top of some of the long-frozen flora.