Siberia is littered with mammoth tusks and new ones are revealed with each spring’s frost. But in 2007, Yuri Khudi discovered something extraordinary. 42,000 year-old Lyuba, a baby mammoth, was found intact (minus toenails and most hair)! The scientific analysis from her intact remains has provided a wealth of information regarding mammoths. In Baby Mammoth Mummy Frozen in Time! Christopher Sloan with Bernard Buigues detail her discovery and the research in a way that teaches a great deal about the work scientists do as well as speculation about the possibilities of mammoth cloning.
Baby Mammoth Mummy informs readers about the global science community in a way I can’t remember from another children’s book. Scientists in the Netherlands discovered when she lived using radiocarbon dating, in Tokyo they examined her insides, she was autopsied in Russia and her age at death determined in the United States. This cooperative quest for knowledge is exciting. The culture of the Nenets and the geography of the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia are also highlighted. The narrative is punctuated with sidebars and spreads clearly illustrating helpful additional information such as mammoth relatives, a Nenets myth and carbon dating.
Good as this book is, you may be able to not just read about Lyuba, but also see her! She is on tour in the United States through 2014 as part of the Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age exhibit.
For additional information about mammoths, check out The Paleontology Portal.
Some other books about mammoths and their era:
Ice Age Tracker’s Guide by Adrian Lister & Martin Ursell
Outside and Inside Woolly Mammoths by Sandra Markle (published just before discovery of Lyuba)
Mammoths on the Move by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus. This one’s a fun rhyming picture book with irrestible refrain: “Massive, hairy, legendary, wonderful woolly mammoths!”
This week’s Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Wrapped in Foil. Hop on over to check out other interesting nonfiction.