The skeleton of a woolly mammoth, discovered 10 years ago in Siberia, has been sold at the Aguttes auction house for $640,000 or €548,000 in Lyon city of France. This is reportedly the largest skeleton of its kind ever to be possessed privately.
The buyer is the CEO of a waterproofing company named Soprema, which has the logo of a woolly mammoth, reported Agence France Presse. "We are going to display it in the lobby of our firm," says Pierre-Etienne Bindschedler, its present owner.
This specimen is unique as it has 80% original bone, structured with resin to complete the anatomy. It belonged to a male mammoth and has decayed teeth, which might have contributed to its death as it could not graze properly, say the scientists.
However, this is not the first time that a mammoth specimen has been discovered in Siberia. In fact, the frequency of such discoveries has increased in recent times and scientists blame it on global warming.
"The permafrost in Siberia particularly is melting at a very rapid rate because of climate change," curator of Earth Science collections at Manchester Museum David Gelsthorpe told BBC. Apart from almost intact skeletons, scientists are discovering fur, skin, muscles, organs and even vestiges of the creature's last meal.
The woolly mammoth was the last mammoth species to have lived on earth and even they started becoming extinct more than 10,000 years ago. A small group was able to survive in the Arctic island up to 4,000 years ago. Early man used to hunt the creatures and also depict them in cave paintings.
DNA analysis of these gigantic mammals has revealed that their genes became full of errors towards the end of the Ice Age, contributing greatly to their "genomic meltdown". Now, another meltdown of the world is approaching due to high levels of global warming and these creatures are being discovered again.
The glaciers of Siberia and Greenland are melting at a high rate, much faster than previously estimated by experts. Ironically, these ancient creatures are being brought to the surface due to this and the modern human race is at risk of drowning below sea level.