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Mystery of the Mammoth and the Buttercups

In the early part of this century the famous Beresovka mammoth carcass was discovered in Siberia. Nearly intact, the animal was found buried in silty gravel sitting in the upright position. The mammoth had a broken foreleg, evidently caused by a fall from a nearby cliff 10,000 years ago. The remains of its stomach were intact and there were grasses and buttercups lodged between its teeth. The flesh was still edible, but reportedly not tasty.

No one has ever satisfactorily explained how the Beresovka mammoth and other animals found frozen in the subarctic could have been frozen before being consumed by predators of the time. Some have proposed a sudden change in climate, but this hardly seems a likely explanation. The scientist who uncovered the Beresovka mammoth conjectured that the animal fell into a snow-filled ravine that protected the body until it was perhaps covered by gravel during a summer flood.