She is 42,000 years old and has come a long way for her Australian debut. First, she was recovered from the frozen mud in Siberia that was her tomb for so long. Then she was packed into a crate at a tiny museum in Russia and flown to a humidity-controlled cube at the Australian Museum.
Mammoths – Giants Of The Ice Age
The ice age world of woolly mammoths will be brought to life in Mammoths – Giants of the Ice Age, exclusive to the Australian Museum from 17 November 2017.
Baby Lyuba, the world’s most complete and best-preserved woolly mammoth, has arrived in Sydney. She is in remarkable condition, with her skin and internal organs intact. Scientists even found her mother’s milk in her belly.
We will finally be able to see her when she is unveiled as the centrepiece of the museum’s Mammoths – Giants of the Ice Age exhibition.
Lyuba, who died at 35 days, is one of Russia’s national treasures, and the government is reluctant to let her out of its sight too often. This is only the fifth time Shemanovsky Museum has let her out, and it’s her first trip to the southern hemisphere.
The mammoth was first spotted in 2007 by Yuri Khudi, a Siberian reindeer herder, who found her as the frost thawed on a muddy bank of the Yuribey River. When he brought a team of scientists back to recover her, she was gone; someone else had got there first.
The team tracked her to a village deep within Siberia’s frozen wasteland. She was propped up on the door of a shop. The shop keeper had reportedly bought her for two snowmobiles and a year’s worth of food from Mr Khudi’s cousin.
“And while she was propped up, a dog came up and chewed off her tail and her ear. If only for that she’d be completely intact,” says Trevor Ahearn, the Australian Museum’s creative producer.
Lyuba (Lay-oo-bah) means love in Russian. The museum has chosen to surround her with models of huge, ferocious adult mammoths, much as the herd would have surrounded and protected her in life.