A frozen mummy of a now extinct species of bison had been discovered in Siberia. Thanks to the cold weather of the region, the 9,300 year old remains of a Steppe bison (Bison priscus) was frozen in time allowing scientists to analyze the anatomical makeup of the animal.

Steppe bison, which belonged to a group of large mammals that went into extinction shortly after the end of the Ice Age, are commonly depicted as being hunted by humans in Stone Age cave art.

The mummified animal was named the "Yukagir bison mummy," after the Yukagir tribe in Yana-Indigirka Lowland in Eastern Siberia, whose members found the well-preserved remains of the animal along the melting shores of a lake in 2011.

Although this isn't the first time that a steppe bison mummy had been found, none of the previously discovered mummies are as well preserved as the Yukagir bison mummy. It was so well preserved it is hailed as among the most complete frozen mummies to be discovered.

"Normally, what you find with the mummies of megafauna in North America or Siberia is partial carcasses," said Olga Potapova, from the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs in South Dakota. "They're partly eaten or destroyed because they're lying in the permafrost for tens of thousands of years."

The newly-found ancient beast still had its fur and its brain, digestive system, heart and blood vessels are still complete albeit the other organs have already shrunk.

"The exclusively good preservation of the Yukagir bison mummy allows direct anatomical comparisons with modern species of bison and cattle, as well as with extinct species of bison that were gone at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary," said Evgeny Maschenko, from the Paleontological Institute in Moscow, Russia.

In order to determine how the still-furred animal lived and died thousands of years ago, Maschenko and colleagues conducted a necropsy, or autopsy, on the animal, which revealed that the bison has a relatively normal anatomy.

The researchers, however, did not find an obvious cause of death although the procedure revealed that the animal lacks fat around its abdomen which could indicate the possibility that it may have died because of starvation. The researchers also believe that the frozen bison died at a young age of about 4 years old.

Compared with the present-day bison in America, the bison from the Ice Age had larger horns. It also had a second back hump.

The researchers presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Berlin, Germany on Nov. 6.

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